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BlackGirl Geography

A (Re)Mapping Guide towards Harriet Tubman and Beyond

Loren S. Cahill

Blackgirls have a long subaltern legacy of being geographers. We have complicated the settler-colonial project of cartography uniquely through our radical placemaking efforts towards achieving safety, inclusion, and liberation. In this autoethnographic article, I trace my own socio-spatial-sensory reflections that I experienced during my visit to Harriet Tubman’s Homeplace, Senior Home, and Grave Site in Auburn, New York. I attempt to unsettle the undertheorized renderings of Tubman by interrogating her personal freedom dreams, liberation geography, and womanist cartography. I then map the intergenerational solidarity that Blackgirls have forged with Tubman more contemporarily through their own space making. I conclude by unpacking what ontological lessons both knowledge producers and organizers can glean from Tubman’s geographic sacredness and savvy.

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Searching for a New Way of Thinking about Society

A Noospheric Social Quality Orientation for Development toward Sustainability

Vyacheslav Nikolayevitch Bobkov and Nikolay Vyacheslavovich Bobkov

The currently accepted global wisdom holds that the most important and decisive challenge for humankind is to reach sustainable circumstances; societal, geophysical, and biophysical. However, there is little readiness to go beyond the inherited fundamental assumptions of a “modern industrial capitalist market society.” This is oriented on the commodification and marketization of natural and cultural resources for making profit. Seen from a Russian perspective, this article argues that this approach causes a destruction of sustainable living conditions. The social quality approach, the Russian interpretation of quality of life approach, and the noosphere paradigm of global societal development offer space for considerations that questions the dominant socioeconomic and financial societal practices not only on the phenomenological level. Instead, the authors name gnoseological, ontological, and axiological prerequisites of sustainable global societal development. This will contribute to the wider and diverse debates on what can be called people’s humanistic socialism.

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Remaking Oceans Governance

Critical Perspectives on Marine Spatial Planning

Luke Fairbanks, Noëlle Boucquey, Lisa M. Campbell and Sarah Wise

Marine spatial planning (MSP) seeks to integrate traditionally disconnected oceans activities, management arrangements, and practices through a rational and comprehensive governance system. This article explores the emerging critical literature on MSP, focusing on key elements of MSP engaged by scholars: (1) planning discourse and narrative; (2) ocean economies and equity; (3) online ocean data and new digital ontologies; and (4) new and broad networks of ocean actors. The implications of these elements are then illustrated through a discussion of MSP in the United States. Critical scholars are beginning to go beyond applied or operational critiques of MSP projects to engage the underlying assumptions, practices, and relationships involved in planning. Interrogating MSP with interdisciplinary ideas drawn from critical social science disciplines, such as emerging applications of relational theory at sea, can provide insights into how MSP and other megaprojects both close and open new opportunities for social and environmental well-being.

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The Return of the Animal

Posthumanism, Indigeneity, and Anthropology

Danielle DiNovelli-Lang

The vectors by which the question of the animal has confronted the discipline of anthropology are both diverse—from paleoarchaeological fascination with the transition from ape to man to sociocultural accounts of human-animal conflict—and fraught insofar as they tend to loop back into one another. For instance, while posthumanism is intellectually novel, to take its line of critique seriously is to recognize that the science of man has depended on the philosophical animal from the start. A still tighter loop could be drawn around Lévi-Strauss's foundational interest in animal symbolism and the Amazonian ontologies undergirding Latour's amodern philosophy. Three related interdependencies pull hard on these loops: 1) philosophy and anthropology; 2) the human and the animal; 3) modernity and indigeneity. This last interdependency is notably undertheorized in the present efflorescence of human-animal scholarship. This article attends to some of the consequences of modernity/indigeneity's clandestine operations in the literature.

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Hannah Gibson and Sita Venkateswar

The Anthropocene refers to the planetary scale of anthropogenic influences on the composition and function of Earth ecosystems and life forms. Socio-political and geographic responses frame the uneven topographies of climate change, while efforts to adapt and mitigate its impact extend across social and natural sciences. This review of anthropology's evolving engagement with the Anthropocene contemplates multifarious approaches to research. The emergence of multispecies ethnographic research highlights entanglements of humans with other life forms. New ontological considerations are reflected in Kohn's “Anthropology of Life,” ethnographic research that moves beyond an isolated focus on the human to consider other life processes and entities as research participants. Examples of critical engagement discussed include anthropology beyond disciplinary borders, queries writing in the Anthropocene, and anthropology of climate change. We demonstrate the diverse positions of anthropologists within this juncture in relation to our central trope of entanglements threaded through our discussion in this review.

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Jelena Tošić and Annika Lems

Th is contribution introduces the collection of texts in this special section of Migration and Society exploring contemporary patterns of im/mobility between Africa and Europe. It proposes an ontological-epistemological framework for investigating present-day movements via three core dimensions: (1) a focus on im/mobility explores the intertwinement of mobility and stasis in the context of biographical and migratory pathways and thus goes beyond a binary approach to migration; (2) an existential and dialogical-ethnographic approach zooms in on individual experiences of im/mobility and shows that the personal-experiential is not apolitical, but represents a realm of everyday struggles and quests for a good life; and (3) a genealogical-historical dimension explores present-day migratory quests through their embeddedness within legacies of (post)colonial power relations and interconnections and thus counteracts the hegemonic image of immigration from Africa as having no history and legitimacy.

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Reassembling The Social Organization

Collaboration and Digital Media in (Re)making Boas’s 1897 Book

Aaron Glass, Judith Berman and Rainer Hatoum

Franz Boas’s 1897 monograph The Social Organization and the Secret Societies of the Kwakiutl Indians was a landmark in anthropology for its integrative approach to ethnography, the use of multiple media, and the collaborative role of Boas’s Indigenous partner, George Hunt. Not only did the volume draw on existing museum collections from around the world, but the two men also left behind a vast and now widely distributed archive of unpublished materials relevant to the creation and afterlife of this seminal text. This article discusses an international and intercultural project to create a new, annotated critical edition of the book that reassembles the dispersed materials and reembeds them within Kwakwaka’wakw ontologies of both persons and things. The project mobilizes digital media to link together disparate collections, scholars, and Indigenous communities in order to recuperate long-dormant ethnographic records for use in current and future cultural revitalization.

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Mario Slugan

This article argues against the standard readings of Bazin’s seminal essay “The Ontology of the Photographic Image,” which are based on Charles S. Peirce’s account of indexicality but for reasons distinct from recent influential criticism of this approach in film studies. The article also moves beyond the accounts of Bazin in the analytic tradition, by building on a rare analysis that takes Bazin’s notion of identity between the photographic image and the model seriously. Whereas Jonathan Friday proposes identity to be construed as psychological, the article argues that, under the dual theory of light available to Bazin at the time, identity between the photographic images and object photographed literally holds for some photographs—namely, negatives of objects which emit light. The article concludes with an explanation of why Bazin thought the identity holds for all photographs.

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Loving and Grieving with Heart of a Dog and Merleau-Ponty's Depth

Saige Walton

Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s existential phenomenology has been crucial to contemporary film-phenomenology, yet his later thought has not received the same attention. Drawing on “Eye and Mind” and other writings, I apply the philosopher’s ontological concept of depth to the cinema. Using Laurie Anderson’s Heart of a Dog (2015), an intimate, experimental portrait of animal life, death, grief, and loss, I approach Anderson’s film as “depthful” cinema, bringing Heart of a Dog into a dialogue with Merleau-Ponty, the film essay, and the lyrical film. Through its diffractions of the subjective “eye/I,” its poetic approach to grief, and its openness to nonhuman ways of being, I argue that Anderson’s film is in accord with Merleau-Ponty’s later thinking on depth in art and in the world.

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The South Side of Heaven

A Journey along the Iranian Collective Memory in Iran-Iraq War Memorial Sites

Younes Saramifar

I portray mnemonic practices of Iranians who engaged with the past and keep the memories of martyrs of the Iran-Iraq War (1980–1988) alive within frames and words. Through pictures taken during the annual commemoration of martyrs in southern Iran, I show how religiosity, politics and generational guilt are entangled in post-war Iran. I move against the grains of memory studies and visual anthropology by maintaining the silences and what is left unsaid instead of rendering war memories, acts of remembering and ways of seeing epistemologically coherent. I argue remembering is a practice locally shaped according to the politics of everyday life and not by imagined presupposition of memory scholars. Therefore, I draw an ontological approach towards memories in Iran by ways of seeing and religious worldview of those implicated in the Iranian memory machine.