File(s) under permanent embargo

Hope in blasted landscapes

journal contribution
posted on 2013-06-01, 00:00 authored by Eben KirkseyEben Kirksey, N Shapiro, M Brodine
Insights about biocultural hope emerged at the Multispecies Salon, an art exhibit in New Orleans. In a landscape blasted by Hurricane Katrina and flooded by oil following BP's Deepwater Horizon explosion, the exhibit grounded hopes in actual organisms - like goats, fish and hermit crabs - living in the aftermath of multiple disasters. At the Salon, art catalyzed discussions about catastrophes amongst plankton biologists, chemical oceanographers, microbiologists, activists and anthropologists. Departing from these discussions, we adapted the tactics of multi-sited ethnography of 'following the thing', to 'follow the species' from the art gallery into the environs of New Orleans and beyond. Against the backdrop of bleak landscapes, people engaged in intimate acts of interspecies care. Uneasy alchemy transformed toxic specters into figures of hope. Signs of advancing disaster, depictions of animals in peril and blighted parcels of land began to fuel mass mobilizations and tactical interventions. Collective hopes moved like oil in water, coalescing around specific figures only to dance away - to alight on new events, objects and lively agents. © The Author(s) 2013.

History

Journal

Social Science Information

Volume

52

Issue

2

Pagination

228 - 256

ISSN

0539-0184

eISSN

1461-7412

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal