Multiple imaginaries and practices gather under the term ECOLOGY. What counts as ecology, and for whom? This year the Technoscience Salon gathers up scholars, students, artists, and scientists to collectivity explore the many contours and incarnations of ecology.
Ecology names the study of the patterns of interactions between organisms and their environments. Ecological thinking can be attractive for the ways it articulates the dynamic interrelationships between living things and their milieus. Ecological approaches are particularly generative for rethinking becomings, and the dynamic processes that shape the beings and doings of lives enmeshed. But, ecological thinking also carries a moral valence; both scientists and environmental activists, for example, value some kinds of ecologies and relationships over others. And for many contemporary scholars, ecological “entanglements” have acquired an aesthetic value.
Ecology as a term is always implicated. Like “history” and “biology” the term “ecology” names both a mode of inquiry and its object of study. The term “ecology” was coined by Ernst Haeckel in 1866 in close association with and contradistinction from economy, referring to the study of “the economy of nature”, both of which derive from the Greek term ‘oikos’ – meaning household or dwelling. In this sense, ecology was understood as the study of ‘natural’ relationships as opposed to the human-governed economic exchanges. In the 20th century, ecology became closely associated with the study of ecosystems, profoundly shaped by functionalism, systems thinking, and cybernetics, binding the “economy of nature” ever closer to specific (human) economic rationales and calculations. This we might call the discipline’s conventional eco-logics.
In feminist science and technology studies, to engage ecology as natureculture is to emphasize the ways that practices of knowing and intervening involve more-than-human others. This year’s Technoscience Salon aspires to query ecology’s inheritances as a functionalist systems science and to provoke alternative articulations. The Salon will take up the political, epistemological, ontological and aesthetic work we want the concept of ecology to do.
Read our Opening Provocation
2012-13 SALON SCHEDULE
Friday January 25, 5-7 pm :: QUEER(Y)ING ECOLOGIES
Cate Sandilands (York University)
Noël Sturgeon (York University)
Jinthana Haritaworn (York University)
Discussants :: Peter Hobbs and Darren Patrick (York University)
Friday April 5, 4-6 pm :: AFFECTIVE ECOLOGIES
Martina Schlünder (U of T, Max Planck Institute)
Natasha Myers (York University)
Astrid Schrader (York University)
Discussant :: Shiho Satsuka (University of Toronto)