Academic (Re)Considerations: “Non-Humans” and/as Research Objects, Subjects, and Co-laborers

Date/Time
Wednesday
7 Feb 2018
4:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Location
Humanities 2, Room 359, UCSC Campus

Event Type
Non-CSTMS Event


Academic researchers across disciplines have long utilized animals, plants, rocks, and a range of non-human others, yet historically this research has been grounded in a foundational distinction between nature and culture, non-human and human. In this round table discussion with Laurie Palmer (UCSC Art) and Felicity Schaeffer (UCSC Feminist Studies), we will collaboratively discuss methodological approaches to research on and with animals, plants, rocks, and a range of non-human others with the hope of developing more concrete, nuanced vocabularies, engagements and practices. Participants are invited to submit brief works in progress in advance, which will serve as the foundation for the discussion. Palmer and Schaeffer will briefly discuss their theoretical interests as well as their methodological approaches to both the category of the non-human itself, as they define it, and non-human beings themselves. Subsequently, all participants will engage in a collaborative discussion around their experiences of, questions around, or hopes for engagement with nonhuman as subjects and collaborators. Rather than asking participants to present polished work, our intention is for the discussion to be a space in which to surface the questions and tensions that each of us grapples with in our scholarship.

To this round table, we invite decolonial and anticolonial thinkers and scholars who strive to work in deeply caring and collaborative ways across multiple boundaries, including but not limited to the boundaries of discipline, hierarchy, and anthropocentrically driven engagements. At the same time, we frame this discussion as one that acknowledges and engages with lived realities and histories of environmental violence and injustice of many peoples. Drawing on the theory of ethnographic refusal, as articulated by Audra Simpson, we seek to engage with folks who refuse to reproduce settler colonial violence on and with non-human others in their work. As Eve Tuck and Marcia McKenzie elaborate, a refusal is not only a no, but a redirection to ideas otherwise unacknowledged or unquestioned: “A generative stance situated in a critical understanding of settler colonialism and its regimes of representation.”*

We invite thinkers and scholars who insist on working in ways that actively build relationships, fostered through personal responsibility and collective accountability, to and with more than (but including) human beings. In so doing, we hope to hold decolonial, justice-oriented forms of engagements with more than human beings in every stage of our work.

Participants will submit a piece of work or work in progress by January 22, 2018, which will be circulated to their fellow participants for reading ahead of the workshop. We are looking for messy and promising provocations, not polished manuscripts. In addition, folks who work in the arts or who feel their methodological engagements may be best communicated in non-text forms are encouraged to participate. Finally, the discussion is not limited to research phases of our work. Rather, we also hope to (re)consider the products of our work (i.e., text-based literature, film, image, etc.). Vegan and vegetarian food will be provided.

To participate: please submit a 250-350-word abstract, and/or up to 2 pages of thought from a work in progress, about specific ways in which you (imagine and/or practice) methodological engagements with non-human kin and/or collaborators during in and all phases of your work, to nonhuman.workshop@gmail.com by January 22, 2018.

Convened by Science and Justice Training Program Fellows: Krisha Hernández (Anthropology, PhD candidate) and Vivian Underhill (Feminist Studies, PhD student). In collaboration with Taylor Wondergem (Feminist Studies, PhD student)

*Tuck, Eve and Marcia McKenzie. Place in Research: Theory, Methodology and Methods. P 148

This event is sponsored by: Science & Justice Research Center

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