I’m pleased to announce the following Australian seminars & workshops.
SEMINAR | MULTISPECIES ETHNOGRAPHY & MORE-THAN-HUMAN DESIGN
Our impact on the earth has been so significant that scientists have proposed that our current geological era be renamed the Anthropocene, or Age of Humans. Regardless of whether or not the change is officially made, researchers across the social sciences and humanities are finding the concept a fruitful lens for “staying with the trouble of living and dying together” (Haraway 2010) in a wounded world. Despite, or perhaps because of, its problem-solving imperative, design has played a significant role in creating and maintaining many of the material and cultural problems associated with this new era. Even when product and object-centred design is replaced with people-centred and service design, human needs and desires are privileged above all else. But what if we refuse to uncouple nature and culture? What if we deny that human beings are exceptional? What if we stop speaking and listening only to ourselves? This presentation focuses on multispecies ethnography as a means to understand relations between humans and nonhumans, and question the potential of animism and vitalism to help us forge new relations. More-than-human design is then introduced as complementary ways of thinking, doing, and making that emphasise the practice of care and imagination—and challenge us to work with, not against, vulnerability, humility and interdependence.
SEMINAR | A GOOD DEATH: ON-FARM KILLING & PRACTICES OF CARE
Over 50 billion farmed animals are killed every year, but in affluent, Western contexts it is a very small number of people who actually perform these killings, or witness these deaths. And despite a wealth of scientific and industry research into the act of killing farm animals, little social science or humanities research has attended to their actual deaths. The relative invisibility of farm animal death points to culture in conflict; Vialles (1994) has argued that consumers demand meat production “must be non-violent (ideally: painless); and it must be invisible (ideally: non-existent).” Rather than providing ethical justification for—or condemnation of—killing farm animals, this ethnographic project seeks to “stay with the trouble [of] living and dying together” (Haraway 2010), and understand what people actually do in order to provide an animal with what they consider to be a ‘good death’. Complementing a growing body of social and cultural studies of slaughterhouses, this seminar examines on-farm killing as a means by which farmers, veterinarians, and homekill service providers practice care—or what Mol, Moser and Pols (2010) describe as “local solutions to specific problems [that] may involve ‘justice’ but other norms (fairness, kindness, compassion, generosity) may be equally or more important.” Through a series of vignettes that explore entanglements of people, animals and places, I aim to open discussion on the challenges and opportunities for conducting this kind of research today.
Tuesday 9 August, 2016, 1pm | University of Sydney
A GOOD DEATH? STORYTELLING WORKSHOP
This workshop is part of a larger ethnographic research project into the deaths of farm animals. It has two primary aims: 1) To gain a broader understanding of what people consider a ‘good death’ for farm animals; and 2) To develop and assess a set of creative storytelling methods. Participants will be introduced to concerns about farm animal death, and presented with a range of visual and material narrative techniques. A set of storytelling constraints and a set of related farm animal figurines will be provided, and participants will use their own phones/cameras to create a brief image-based narrative that communicates their perspective on what constitutes a ‘good death’. The final narratives will be shared with the group for discussion, and after the workshop, anonymised narratives will be posted on the More-Than-Human Lab website, each with an anonymous questionnaire.
*Registration is required*