One day off from the summer school with RESPECT students at UofT, I join to this rather provocatively-sounding roundtable on more-than-human academic worlds. I’ll probably talk about kyōsei and the difficulties and pleasures of bringing in pharmaceuticals and plants to a human sciences curriculum.
More-than-human moves: of everyday entanglements and the Academy
Participants: Kelly Abrams (University of Western Ontario), Andrea De Antoni (Ritsumeikan University), Hiroaki Kawamura (University of Findlay), Gergely Mohácsi (Osaka University), Melanie Rock (University of Calgary), Scott Simon (University of Ottawa), Alan Smart (University of Calgary)
Abstract: Within the humanities and social sciences a nonhuman or more-than-human approach to writing and research has become a prominent genre. This is an epistemological move that underscores humans are ever-entangled with nonhuman animals, technologies, the environment and spiritual entities. Anthropologists, perhaps due to the centrality of anthropos in the discipline, were slow to respond to broader moves to decentre the human subject. However, the publication of the special issue The Emergence of Multispecies Ethnography in the journal Cultural Anthropology in 2010 prompted a growing number of anthropologists to focus on more-than-human conceptualizations as valuable in understanding and describing everyday interactions. Nevertheless, movement towards such an approach in anthropology is often resisted by the power structures of universities where more quantitative and rigid regimes of classification—nature/culture or human/animal for example—remain. This round table discussion focuses on how the nonhuman turn informs the work of participants and how they maneuver within the academy. Put concretely, why and how is the nonhuman turn prominent in your work and what are the implications of more-than-human research for methods and practices?