Report on the 23rd EASLCE Webinar -“Ecological Care” 


(Dr. Joshua Trey Barnett, Pennsylvania State University, USA)

5 October 2023, 4-5:30 pm (CEST)

Participants:

  • Yildiz Asar (University of Bamberg, Germany)
  • Chiara Beneduce (EHESS, Paris, France)
  • Troy Fielder (University of Cambridge, UK)
  • Katie Goss (independent scholar, UK)
  • Katie Kung (RCC & LMU Munich, Germany)
  • Bharanee Moothoosamy (University of Kent, UK)
  • Alisa Preusser (University of Potsdam, Germany)
  • William Sipe (University of Nevada, Las Vegas, USA)
  • Manuel Sousa Oliveira (University of Porto, Portugal)
  • Alice Sundman (University of Stockholm, Sweden)
  • Lena Pfeifer (University of Würzburg, Germany)
  • Linda Heß (University of Augsburg, Germany)

In the 23rd EASCLE Webinar on Ecological Care, participants discussed various facets of ecological care as process and practice, using theoretical reflections by Maria Puig de la Bellacasa and Thom Van Dooren to zero in on the seeming paradox of seeing violence, ambivalence, and compromise as closely linked with ecological care. It also brought the group to reflect on what we might see as the “preconditions” of care, and how we might negotiate the fact that care can never be a “neutral good,” since decisions of what counts as “harm” and what counts as “care” cannot be answered normatively but are entangled with positionality and hierarchies of power. One can only begin to answer these questions in relation to a particular situation. One of the specific focus points that participants discussed in this regard were questions of environmental conservation, and questions of caring for an individual vs. caring for a species. 

In the second part of the webinar, the question whether “acknowledging the troubling, compromised, or violent dimensions of ecological care enables us to care better?” generated productive and complex thoughts on practices of ecological care – and how those practices must be revisable. The discussion also extended to practices of academic research, writing, and teaching, and the ways in which practices of self-reflexivity that draw attention to the complexities of care while striving for transparency about the processes of “casting one’s lot” (Haraway) might also serve as practices of care. 

The webinar ended with a round of reflections on further research questions about ecological care that opened up a spectrum of concerns ranging from how to make care more democratic, to how practices of care are affected by more-than-human agencies, to how choosing not to care might be a political response of defiance in the face of constant demands of care, to very specific questions of everyday practice such as: should one let one’s cats outside?  

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23rd EASLCE webinar

Report on the 23rd EASLCE Webinar -“Ecological Care” 


FURTHER READING

Ecozon@

Ecozon@ is a journal devoted to the relatively new field of literary and cultural criticism called ecocriticism. Ecocriticism can be broadly defined as the study of the representations of nature in cultural texts, and of the relationship between humans with other earth beings and their environment as seen in cultural manifestations. 

ARCADIANA

Arcadiana is a blog about the environment in literature and culture. It is hosted by postgraduate members of the European Association for Literature, Culture and the Environment (EASLCE).