Political Ecology and Nonhuman Actors

November 5, 2016


The nonhuman turn in the humanities, arts, and sciences directs attention to the emergence of nonhuman actors (plants, animals, technologies, environments, geophysical phenomena, etc.) as forces in our shared world. As the effects of the anthropocene become increasingly felt around the world, it is important to examine the various nonhuman actors and modes of nonhuman being that present alternative perspectives to anthropocentric renderings of social and ecological processes. Beyond tracking the assemblages and interactions of nonhumans that give rise to environmental events, a foray into the worlds of nonhuman actors also involves noting the ways humanity itself is produced through interactions with nonhumans. Using Anna Tsing’s phrasing, we are “contaminated” by encounters with nonhuman others, which impacts our bodies, relationships, and behaviors as environmental actors. 


This session aims to explore the ways nonhuman actors intervene in environmental politics and events. The panel will encourage abstract submissions that draw on diverse analytical tools and perspectives from an array of disciplines. 


Potential themes and analytical perspectives might include (but not limited to):

  • precarious bodies and/or ecological systems

  • animal actors and agencies

  • nonhumans and environmental justice

  • othered bodies and actors

  • dehumanization and marginal populations

  • multispecies relations

  • nonhuman ethics

  • affects of social and/or ecological formations

  • nonhuman labor

  • political economy and the nonhuman

  • technological actors and relations

  • nonhuman relations and scale


If you are interested in presenting on this topic, please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words to Phillip Drake (pdrake@ku.edu) by November 21. All participants must also register for the conference and submit their abstract by December 1 at the conference website, www.politicalecology.org.


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