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Gellner's seminar

Faculty of Humanities, Charles University in Prague; Czech Association for Social Anthropology; Masaryk Czech Sociological Association and Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences invite you to 158th Gellner's seminar. The seminar will be held on Tuesday August 23, 2016 in AKC, Czech Academy of Sciences (Husova 4a, Prague 1).

Assoc. Prof. Natasha Myers (York University, Toronto, Canada) will give lecture “Becoming Sensor in an Oak Savannah Photosynethetic Mattering, Kinesthetic Attunements, and Protocols for an Ungrid-able Ecology”.

Gellner's seminar was founded by Jiri Musil and Petr Skalník in 1998 and supported by European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST), Action IS 1307 New Materialism in the framework COST Training School “From Cosmos to Genes: New Materialist Methodologies across the Humanities, Natural and Technosciences”.

Natasha Myers is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at York University, Toronto, the convenor of the Politics of Evidence Working Group, director of the Plant Studies Collaboratory, and on the editorial board of the journal Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience. She works alongside Michelle Murphy as co-organizer of Toronto’s Technoscience Salon, and she is co-founder of the Write2Know Project with Max Liboiron. Her ethnographic research examines forms of life in the contemporary arts and sciences.

Abstract of the lecture

Ecology is not just an object of study. It is also a mode of attention to worldly relations. Where the sciences of ecology have traditionally been grounded in teleological, militarized and economizing logics, bound to heteronormative reproductive imperatives, and developed and deployed for colonial conquest, this talk insists that ecology could be otherwise. It describes my efforts to cultivate a queer, feminist, decolonized ecology within an ancient oak savannah in Toronto’s High Park, a happening 10,000 years in-the-making. For millennia these lands were shaped by Aboriginal peoples who used fire to keep the woodlands open for hunting and farming. Today, it is a site of massive ecological restoration efforts in the midst of a bustling city. The aim is to bring back the oak savannah through the use of controlled burns, and the planting of native grasses and wildflowers. But today the oldest oaks are falling and the next generation is just 15 years old. What modes of attention can help us learn how to pay attention to this remarkable naturalcultural happening which is both in-the-making and coming undone? Working at the cusp of anthropology, art, and ecology, this project interrogates the self-evidence of approaches to conservation ecology and environmental monitoring by throwing open the very question of what it means to pay attention. It proposes an “ungrid-able ecology” to disrupt conventional ecology’s normative, moralizing, and economizing discourses. This ecological practice reconfigures the naturalist’s notebook by innovating techniques for tuning in to “affective ecologies” and the “involutionary momentum” that propels plants, insects, animals, and people to get involved in one another’s lives (see Hustak and Myers 2012). It also tunes into the creativity and world-making capacity of plants through an attention to processes of photosynthetic mattering. Through an ongoing collaboration with filmmaker and dancer Ayelen Liberona, this research-creation project experiments with sensory practices that can document the growth, decay, combustion and decomposition that are essential to the life of this remarkable land. In the process, we explore new forms of collaboration to cultivate plant/people relations that are fit for earthly survival.

Event start 23 August 2016 at 4:30 PM
Event end 23 August 2016 at 6:00 PM
Type of event Course, workshop, seminar
Organiser Faculty of Humanities, Charles University in Prague; Czech Association for Social Anthropology; Masaryk Czech Sociological Association and Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences
Event website http://www.casaonline.cz/?page_id=35
Programme http://tarantula.ruk.cuni.cz/UDALOSTI-13554-version1-gellnerovsky_seminar_pozvanka.pdf
Venue Husova 4a, Prague 1
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