In this video-abstract, Joanna Latimer and Mara Miele introduce their TCS Special Section ‘Naturecultures? Science, Affect and the Non-human‘ (Theory, Culture & Society, December 2013; vol. 30, 7-8)
Rather than focus on effects, the isolatable and measureable outcomes of events and interventions, the papers assembled here offer different perspectives on the affective dimension of the meaning and politics of human/non-human relations. The authors begin by drawing attention to the constructed discontinuity between humans and non-humans, and to the kinds of knowledge and socialities that this discontinuity sustains, including those underpinned by nature-culture, subject-object, body-mind, individual-society polarities. The articles presented track human/non-human relations through different domains, including: humans/non-humans in history and animal welfare science (Fudge and Buller); the relationship between the way we live, the effects on our natural environment and contested knowledges about ‘nature’ (Whatmore); choreographies of everyday life and everyday science practices with non-human animals such as horses, meerkats, mice, and wolves (Latimer, Candea, Davies, Despret). Each paper also goes on to offer different perspectives on the human/non-human not just as division, or even as an asymmetrical relation, but as relations that are mutually affective, however invisible and inexpressible in the domain of science. Thus the collection contributes to new epistemologies/ontologies that undercut the usual ordering of relations and their dichotomies, particularly in that dominant domain of contemporary culture that we call science. Indeed, in their impetus to capture ‘affect’, the collection goes beyond the usual turn towards a more inclusive ontology, and contributes to the radical shift in the epistemology and philosophy of science’s terms of engagement.
To read all the articles in the section, go here:
You may also be interested in the Humananimalia special section on House of Beasts: inquiries into the human and the animal, a symposium organised with Meadowarts and others on the Meadowarts contemporary art exhibition at Attingham Park.
To watch Joanna Latimer’s talk at the symposium, go here: http://vimeo.com/channels/beasts2012/38017305
To watch all the talks at the symposium, go here: http://vimeo.com/channels/beasts2012/page:1
And to read the paper version in the special issue of Humananimalia, go here:
‘Meadowarts’ House of Beasts: Reimagining Human & Non-human Animal Relations at Attingham’