Technoscience Salon

Ecologies Opening Provocation

We invite this joint effort with the following questions that serve as an opening provocation for this year’s Salon:

  • What are contemporary trends in ecological thinking?
  • What appeals and disturbs about 20th century thinking in the discipline of ecology?
  • What are the current ontological struggles over what counts as ecology?
  • Where do ecologies end and begin?
  • What about ecologies have been fetishized?
  • What are ecologies’ others?
  • What entities, relations, and imaginaries have been abjected from accounts of ecology?
  • What subalterities do ecologies make or challenge? What is buried, ignored, unloved?
  • What exceeds ecology?
  • In what sense is ecological thinking predicated on the assumption of a balance and holism in nature?
  • What senses of disruption, unevenness, friction, and inequality might reorient moral, political and aesthetic investments in ecology?
  • How might ecologies provoke orientations that exceed the human, or even the organism?  As a name for the dynamic interactions between living and non-living forms, what are the stakes for theorizing the more-than-human and the more-than-organism? Might we imagine something like the more-than-ecological?
  • “Political Ecology” which has grown as a subfield of geography, takes up the study of the politics, economics, socialities, inequalities and natures. It insists that human interactions with non-human entities and processes are always political and having been profoundly altered by economic relations. Yet, the field of political ecology also is filled with temptations towards functionalist systems thinking that have historically molded political economic thought as much as scientific ecological approaches. What is the epistemological choreography that continues to bind ecology and economy in advanced capitalism, and how might it be disrupted?
  • What temporalities and topological imaginaries are at work in different versions of ecology? What time-hopping and scale-jumping does the figure of ecology encourage, and what is occluded?
  • How might we build on Rob Nixon’s sense of the hard to perceive pace of “slow violence”? What interrelations are made visible and invisible by planetary and geological scales of space and time?
  • How is ecology imbued with Darwinian narratives of competition and life struggle? What work does re-visioning ecology as filled with entangled communities, supports, and symbiosis do?
  • What are the dominant narratives of crisis, change, equilibrium, and utopia that shape our imaginary of ecologies? What alternative ecological imaginaries exist or can be evoked? By and for whom?