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Eco-sense

This multidisciplinary research group represents an assemblage of junior scholars working with the socio-ecological and philosophical challenges posed by the Anthropocene. Combining different fields such as anthropology, philosophy, art criticism, critical theory, and ecocriticism, the group’s interests centre around themes such as ecological thinking, human-nonhuman relationships, anthropogenic climate change, environmental ethics, arts and science, and politics of globalization.

The ambiguous title, Eco-sense, serves to underline three definitions of ‘sense’, which together map out the scope of the group’s research areas:

  1. The word ‘sense’ first and foremost relates to the idea of ‘senses’, and as such this represents our exploration of questions related to the body in relation to knowledge production, taking seriously concepts such as experience, perception, sensitivity, and intelligence in the context of generating and gathering information about the more-than-human-world.
  2. ‘Sense’ can also refer to the idea of ‘meaning’, as we engage with the discussion of how humans make sense of the world. How are concepts such as ecology, nature, and environment negotiated, and, more importantly, how are these reconfigured in the age of Anthropocene? 
  3. Finally, ‘sense’ may also refer to the normative idea of judgment, as related to the condition of ‘having sense’ or ‘being sensible’. This theme underlines  our theoretical preoccupation with discussions of environmental justice, ecological ethics, and socio-ecological politics and practice.

The research group’s key objective is to study and propose new understandings of how the social and the ecological intersect, creating productive and destructive tensions, whether these be in practices of industrial agriculture, scientific communities, the contemporary art institution, digital media or moving images. As of today, our members’ topics of inquiry stretch across:

  • Sense-making and knowledge-production in the Anthropocene
  • Capitalism and environmental degradation
  • Critical plant studies 
  • Art and science
  • Technology, cognition, and organic and inorganic forms of intelligence
  • Agriculture and climate change in the context of ecological globalization
  • Everyday practices of multi-species entanglements/co-habitation
  • The production and reduction of climate change
  • The ecology and economy of waste production and circulation
  • (Re)presentations of waste and slow violence in moving images
  • Eco-cinema and the affects of spectatorship
  • The relationship between affect, ecology, and environmentalism, as exemplified by compassion fatigue, solastalgia, eco-anxiety, eco-nostalgia, atavistic imagining
  • The tension between micro and macro politics as reflected in questions of ethics and affect
  • The epistemological, aesthetic, and political potential of theorizing and methodologically engaging with the more-than-human, as exemplified by vital materialism, post-humanism, actor-network theory, assemblage theory, and eco-feminism amongst others.

Like any other assemblage, the research group is open to building new relationships with scholars interested in similar or related fields. The research group is a subgroup nested under and supported by the Center for Environmental Humanities (CEH) at Aarhus University.


ResearchersAliya SayTrine My Thygaard-NielsenNicolai Skiveren

 

Eco-sense Reading Group - SPRING 2020

We invite scholars from across the environmental humanities to participate in our eco-critical reading group sessions throughout spring 2020. The aim of the reading sessions is to enter into discussion with classic as well as contemporary texts and ideas that probe and challenge frameworks for thinking and engaging with the more-than-human world. This spring we will read and discuss a wide variety literature, ranging from the weird fiction of H.P Lovecraft to the environmental philosophy of Bruno Latour, Anna Tsing, Eben Kirksey and others.

The meetings will take place at Aarhus University, but it is possible to join our sessions on Skype (or other platforms of your choosing). Participants are welcome to join any or all of the meetings below.

 

Spring 2020 Schedule

January 10 (16.00-18.00): H.P Lovecraft

Lovecraft, H.P. (1927). The Colour Out of Space (Short story)

Lovecraft, H.P. (1928). The Call of Cthulhu (Short story)

February 12 (16.00-18.00): Bruno Latour

Latour, B. (2018). Down to earth: politics in the new climatic regime. Polity Press (Chapters 1-12).

March 18 (16.00-18.00): Anna Tsing

Tsing, A. (2015). The mushroom at the end of the world: on the possibility of life in capitalist ruins. Princeton University Press. (Chapters 3-4, 9-11, 13-15)

April: Eben Kirksey (date TBA)

Kirksey, E. (2014). The multispecies salon. Duke University Press (Selected chapters)

May: Jacob von Uexküll (date TBA)

Uexküll, J. (2010). A foray into the worlds of animals and humans: with a theory of meaning. University of Minnesota Press. (Selected chapters)

June: Jane Bennett (date TBA)

Bennett, J. (2017). Vegetal Life and Onto-Sympathy. In C. Keller (Ed.), Entangled Worlds: Religion, Science, and New Materialisms (89-110). Fordham University Press.

 

If you are interested in joining or want to stay posted about future events/dates, contact Nicolai Skiveren at nicolaskiveren@cc.au.dk.