Joshua Trey Barnett, Assistant Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences, Pennsylvania State University, USA
Date and Time: October 5, 2023, 4-5:30 pm CEST
Ecological crises are often the result of carelessness. Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, calls to care about and for more-than-human beings and ways of being, ecological communities, and the earth itself are multiplying as awareness of such crises intensifies. Ecological care, as María Puig de la Bellacasa notes, is both vital and fraught—necessary yet troubled. Far from innocent, ecological care routinely renders its practitioners complicit in modes of violence (van Dooren). And because it manifests under compromised conditions, ecological care today regularly assumes the form of compromise (Barnett). This seminar will be devoted to an exploration of these themes.
Required Readings: (readings will be distributed in time before the webinar).
van Dooren, Thom. 2014. “Breeding Cranes: The Violent-Care of Captive Life.” In Flight Ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction, pp. 87-124. New York: Columbia University Press.
Puig de la Bellacasa, María. 2017. “The Disruptive Thought of Care.” In Matters of Care: Speculative Ethics in More Than Human Worlds, pp. 1-26. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Please prepare this small task for the session:
Pick and choose a few posts from the Multispecies Care in the Sixth Mass Extinction forum on the Cultural Anthropology website.
Barnett, Joshua Trey. 2023. “Ecological Care’s Compromised Conditions: Reflections from Cook Forest.” Essays in Philosophy vol. 24, nos. 1/2: 102-120.
Some Discussion Questions
- How have the required readings affected/transformed your understanding of ecological care?
- How do the material-symbolic milieus that one inhabits influence who and what one cares about and for?
- Does acknowledging the troubling, compromised, or violent dimensions of ecological care enable us to care better?
- What happens if we conceptualize our scholarship in the environmental humanities as a kind of ecological care?