David Gould is currently studying a PhD at the University of Leeds in the School of Media and Communication. His project examines the history of the slaughterhouse in the UK and America, as well as the history of the representation of animal death in cinema. The two phenomena share a certain trajectory in their history.
The emergence of the slaughterhouse was a product of many concurrent social, economic, and moral problems ranging from the profit motive to public health to the question of how best to kill non-human animals. The result was that death became a mere moment that was both temporally and geographically isolated and hidden from sight. The history of the representation of animal death in cinema shares this same trajectory, i.e. a move from visibility to invisibility, and a passage from process to moment. Through a rigorous examination of socio-economic and moral forces surrounding the history of the institution of animal slaughter, Gould argues that many of the assumptions that we make about the relationship between morality and social structures are wrong.
Prior to studying for the PhD, Gould received his BA (Hons) from the University of Brighton in 2016 studying Philosophy, Politics, and Ethics. He completed his MA in Cultural and Critical Theory at the University of Leeds in 2017. His MA dissertation, titled Out Come the Wolves: On the Need to Destroy Nature, examined the historical emergence of nature. The Yorkshire Dales, for example, are known as an area of natural beauty, but for the most part they are the play grounds of the rich maintained through countless hours of human labour and manipulation. The image of nature so proudly defended by the British public is distinctly man-made, bourgeois, and an environmental disaster. With this in mind, Gould draws from the essay The Destructive Character by Walter Benjamin to argue that the only viable solution to environmental disaster is the destruction of nature.