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Ecology & Affect

Our working group examines the affective layers of ecology. Our first approach towards the topic was to read various existing texts that deal with the notions of affect and ecology from a range of disciplinary perspectives (environmental humanities, anthropology, etc.). The aim of this reading program was to refine our understanding of the term ecology, its relation to affect and emotion, its potential ab/uses, as well as the contents, stories and events that are told within these texts - including the Anthropocene and its critique (Plantationocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene etc.).

In particular, our working group is interested in the affective dimensions of ecology as a lens to re-examine intersectional perspectives on colonial racism, gender/sexuality, class, by considering such themes as loss/grief (especially loss as pertains to dispossession), fear (for example with regard to futurities of catastrophe and the experience of waiting for disaster), impacts of ecological destruction on affective infrastructures, ecologies of ruination and their affective life. We also read texts from the fields of ecofeminism, ecocriticism, disability studies that combine affective and environmental considerations in new ways. And we consider the nexus of affect-ontology-materiality as it pertains to these questions from a decolonial perspective. Specifically, how those populations most directly impacted by colonial dispossession, such as Europe’s ex-colonies and First Nations and Native Americans in North America, are reframing the debates around the ontological and affective status of ecological destruction. We also have an interest in the concurrence of queer theory and ecology to ask how (queer) desire is conceptualized in these theories.