Oral Presentation Session - Cosponsored Status Awarded
Sponsored by: Society for Humanistic Anthropology
Cosponsored by: Anthropology and Environment Society
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students
Primary Theme: Anthropocene
Secondary Theme: Environment and Environmental Inequality
Scholarship in the emergent field of environmental humanities has sought to problematize binaries that structure the natural sciences and environmental studies, especially the separation between nature and culture or human and non-human nature. Despite advances in many fields (environmental studies, religion, anthropology or history) in rethinking “ecology,” “nature,” and so on, the cultural logics of differentiation tend to reproduce equally problematic, binary conceptualizations of the world. These conceptualizations persistently re-structure and re-orient our most humanistic understanding of “holistic” ecologies and deep ecological relations; synthetic, enmeshed, rhizomatic conceptualizations that never-the-less give rise to partitions, boundaries and hierarchies. In many ways -- and despite our best intentions to “rage against the Anthropocene” – we continue to suffer the all-too-human burden of distinctions etched deeply into the grooves of language, such distinctions as nature/culture, domestic/wild, human/non-human, country/city, natural/supernatural. How, then, should we articulate a critique of this: anthropocentrism’s deep discontent? This panel explores the prospective of this question. We critically examine the way ecologies are imaginatively constructed as lived environments in the contemporary world, their entanglements with the colonial/postcolonial or capitalism, the long (or short) histories and networks embedding these lived spaces, and the way environments and environmental ethics are problematically embodied in practice. We examine the praxis of deep humanism – critical, conflicted, flawed, and fragmented -- as a mode of engaged species-being in the material world. We believe that a focus on several global contexts and sites have critical conceptual and ethnographic contributions to make to these large debates.