This paper challenges us to rethink the commonly held belief that the anecdote is in opposition to the academic. It is written in a style that is appropriate to its interrogation of dominant forms of academic writing. It proposes that the knowledge that may be gleaned from the metonymic of happenstance, rhyme, experience and anecdote, may add to our archive of meaning in interesting ways. And as anecdotes change how we write this meaning, they also affect knowledge-making and the nature of theory itself. ‘Affect’. A pun. Anecdote is as playful as theory is serious. Their combustion could shatter glass.
The paper is centred around three anecdotes about different occasions on which the author encountered a fox. The first two encounters entwined with reading, in one case a short story by Jackie Kay and in the other the species-meeting book by Donna Haraway. The third lent uncanny interpretations to a Zulu opera performance and was the catalyst for the paper. That opera stage, these books, those encounters, their different times and places, are connected by the happenstance of the author’s idiosyncratic experiences. They segue through her and ignite odd connections between life, play, fiction, politics and theory. They enable the weirdness of lapdogs and laptops to meet as a species in the world of Haraway, whose love of technology and of her dog, Cayenne, enable her to re-order the world and to challenge us to re-think our categories.