Animal Studies Journal


The situations of emus may illuminate the maladies of human societies. From the colonialism that led Europeans to tamper with Australian ecosystems through the militarism that mandated the Great Emu War of 1932 to the consumer capitalism that sparked a global market for ‘exotic’ emus and their products, habits of belief and behaviour that hurt humans have wreaked havoc on emus. Literally de-ranged, emus abroad today endure all of the estrangements of émigrés in addition to the frustrations and sorrows of captivity. In Australia, free emus struggle to survive as climate change parches already diminished and polluted habitats. We have shot them with machine guns and ploughed them down with motor cars. We have parched and poisoned their landscapes. But still they stride. Queer in every sense of the word, emus can remind us of the resilience of Eros and instruct us on the praxis of resistance in catastrophic situations.