CFP – Who will queer political ecology? or Cute goners, (in)human thinkers, and queer wastoids
International Conference of the European Network of Political Ecology (ENTITLE)
Stockholm, 20-23 of March 2016

Session conveners: Cleo Woelfle-Erskine (Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA) and July Cole (Poet and independent scholar, Water Underground, Oakland, CA).

To think the inhuman is the necessary queer labor of the incommensurate. —Muñoz 2015

Ecological science, invited as queer tactic, can transfigure political ecology’s relations to and interchanges within the Anthropocene. Political ecology shares with queer theory an interest in the boundaries around ‘nature’; both sets of discourses challenge the naturalness of such categories as heterosexuality, hierarchy, and wilderness. Ecological scientists also interrogate boundaries, which influence the scale of their models and determine objects of study and constrain interpretations of models.

Recently queer and trans theorists have attended to the non-human (as, for instance, in the current issues of GLQ and TSQ), eco-critics have brought queer theory to bear on environmental lit / writing / nonfiction texts and films, and a few authors have linked queer theory to environmental politics (Weston 2008) and urban ecology (Gandy 2012). We think it’s high time for ‘queer ecology’ (Mortimer-Sandilands ) to talk to ecologists, and for political ecologists to engage more directly with the ecological as well.

As the Black Lives Matter movement irrupts across whitewashed narratives of polis after polis, shining riotous light on the deadly economies and ecologies of white supremacist politics; as xenophobic contestations around scarcity electrify international borders and spotlight refugee and emigrant bodies; as indigenous and de-centered anthropocenes diverge from colonial tracks to insist on recognition of commons—in this time, ecological networks entwine urgently and inseparably with political expressions.

What happens when political ecology, queer theory, and ecological science come into conversation? When queer thinkers re-situate political ecology in the material world, or ground queer ecology in empirical ecological science (Subramaniam 2014), or give ecologists a way to theorize about their findings, feelings, and entanglements (as Barad has offered for physicists (2007)?

This session looks to confront political ecology’s protocols with incommensurates including “queer” and “inhuman”. How, and in whose hands, can these incommensurates unlock discursive trajectories, so as to escape the “predictable coordinates of a relationality that announces itself as universal” (Muñoz 2015 [in Muñoz et al. 2015])?

We are acutely concerned with these questions:

* How do shifting concepts of agency and animacy—highlighted by queer and feminist scholars of science and technology—signal an unfolding imaginary in which other species and natural processes are active dimensions of social life?

* When, instead, does the “animal turn” represent a flattening of the human “a mode of speculation whose very grounds include an erasure of dehumanization” (Chen 2015),
or “reintroduce the Eurocentric transcendentalism this movement purports to disrupt, particularly with regard to the historical and ongoing distributive ordering of race”
(Jackson 2015 [in Muñoz et al. 2015])?

* How do hegemonic concepts of waste and production reproduce racist passions and genocidal histories? How do indigenous critiques of colonial management practices resist these violences against humans and animals (Tallbear 2015 [in Muñoz 2015], Nadasdy 2004)?

* What might Susan Stryker’s individual determination to “forgo the human” and embrace a monstrous identity (1994, 2015 [in Muñoz et al. 2015]) mean for a human collective or polis? for a multi-species collective?

* What’s the fallout (political, queer, or otherwise) of ecology’s construction around the notion of oikos, household—with a household’s inside and outside, with “a place for everything” and (fatal) consequences for anything “out of its place”?

We propose several terms with specific (if contested) meanings in ecology that could be fruitfully engaged by queer theorists and political ecologists: productivity, diversity, waste, resource, contamination, disturbance.

We invite empirical, theoretical, performative, and multimedia contributions, from academics, scientists, artists, and other cultural workers. Projects we imagine welcoming might include:

* an empirical study of whether or how sexuality and gender identity influence individual researchers’ methods and focus

* a rhetoric of disturbance regimes—fire, flood, climate, deforestation, etc.

* a taxonomy of waste types, flows, and discourses in particular times and places

* an affective analysis of extinction fantasies, re-wilding schemes, or the trauma of “double-death” (Bird Rose, 2006 )
Please send a short email including an abstract or description of the work you would like to present (300 words max) by October 2, 2015. We will respond to panelists by October 5, 2015. Please send abstracts to cleo.we@berkeley.edu and july.oskar@gmail.com.


References

Barad, Karen. 2007. Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Duke University Press Books.

Chen, Mel Y. “Tranimacies An Interview with Mel Y. Chen.” 2015. TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly 2 (2): 317–23. doi:10.1215/23289252-2867666.

Gandy, Matthew. 2012. “Queer Ecology: Nature, Sexuality, and Heterotopic Alliances.” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 30 (4): 727–47. doi:10.1068/d10511.

Mortimer-Sandilands, Catriona, and Bruce Erickson. 2010. Queer Ecologies Sex, Nature, Politics, Desire. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press. http://site.ebrary.com/id/10421869.

Muñoz, José Esteban, Jinthana Haritaworn, Myra Hird, Zakiyyah Iman Jackson, Jasbir K. Puar, Eileen Joy, Uri McMillan, et al. 2015. “Theorizing Queer Inhumanisms.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 21 (2-3): 209–48. doi:10.1215/10642684-2843323.Nadasdy, P. 2004. Hunters and Bureaucrats: Power, Knowledge, and Aboriginal-State Relations in the Southwest Yukon. Univ of British Columbia Pr.

Rose, Deborah. 2013. “What If the Angel of History Were a Dog?” Cultural Studies Review 12 (1): 67. doi:10.5130/csr.v12i1.3414.

Stryker, Susan. 1994. “My Words to Victor Frankenstein above the Village of Chamounix: Performing Transgender Rage.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 1 (3): 237–54. doi:10.1215/10642684-1-3-237.

Subramaniam, Banu. 2014. Ghost Stories for Darwin: The Science of Variation and the Politics of Diversity. University of Illinois Press.