Environmental Humanities, Theory, Cultural Studies

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"Engaging Trans-Corporeal Publics," for KTH, Stockholm.

November 14, 2017

 

THANK YOU to Marco Armiero and the Environmental Humanities Laboratory for the invitation to speak at this school for the Public Environmental Humanities. It has never been more important to produce “socially relevant research that promotes transformative, accessible, and emancipatory knowledge.”   As a scholar in cultural studies, much of my scholarship focuses on the intersections between academics and popular culture, theory and activism.  The talk will give a few examples of the problem with how environmental concerns are represented, starting with a long critique of the media coverage of Hurricane Harvey in Texas, and then will show examples of more productive ways to represent environmental issues to various publics, concluding with something like manifestos. 

 

[TEXT OF TALK OMITTED]

 

CONCLUSIONS

 

Engaging Trans-Corporeal Publics

  • Requires narratives, visualizations, figurations, and practices that provoke a sense of immersion in the material world—rather than transcendent, capitalist, individualism that externalizes the environment.

  • Fosters skeptical epistemologies and provisional practices of “citizen scientists” that question what we can know and why.

 

Trans-Corporeal Publics Would

  • Recognize that exposures are terribly unequal and unevenly distributed across race, class, geographic region, yet would inhabit a sense of exposure as the basis for ethical and political actions.  Practice “commoning” (Armiero and DeAngelis)

  • Counter human exceptionalism with a posthumanist, multispecies sense of relationality with other creatures.  We all live, in the anthropocene, at intersections between bodies and toxic, emergent environments.

 

Manifesto for immersed environmental publics

  • Think as the stuff of the world!

  • Reckon with the ethical and political significance of uneven exposure, trace the connections, name corporate culprits, take action!

  • Speculate about what we don’t know and why we don’t know it!

  • Embrace all living species within your ethics and politics! Imagine the perspectives of a multitude of species!

  • Turn away from consumerism and enjoy queer, green, ecologically-friendly pleasures!

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