HOTB2020 Panel 1.4: Auguries of the Anthropocene



Panel 1.4: Auguries of the Anthropocene

“Chaucer’s Corrupt Air: Atmosphere, Mood, Ecological Crisis”

Ryan Lawrence (Cornell University)

“Was a Climate Change Catastrophe Really Responsible for Frankenstein?”

Alan Marshall (Mahidol University)

“Pastoral Access, Activism, and the Plague Archive”

Sara Torres (University of Virginia)

“Farming Stories: Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Three Sisters and Honorable Cultivation”

Kathryn Dolan (Missouri University of Science and Technology)



Q & A

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6 replies
  1. Marshall Alan says:

    I found each of these presentations intriguing. I should comment in a way that would help you through your ongoing intellectual explorations but instead, excuse my selfish quest, I wanna take advantage of our virtual meeting to seek help from you regarding my current studies in the way domesticated animals are (maybe / definitely) co-agents in the construction of landscapes (or images of landscapes) especially in times of disaster (climate catastrophe, famine, plague or war/invasion etc). Sheep, for instance, in medieval England / Florence were pretty important socio-economic agents then times. Any body know of a good resource, literary or academic, that I might consult?

  2. Lydia Nixon, Angelo State University says:

    Kathryn – thank you for your presentation. I have been wanting to read Kimmerer’s book, and I enjoyed hearing your thoughts on her work.

    I am wondering–and perhaps Kimmerer addresses this–about the consequences of implementing the agricultural practices of indigenous peoples on a wider scale in North America. Do you see a possibility for cultural appropriation in doing this? Or perhaps a better question would be – how could we implement these practices in a way that honors their cultural roots?

    • Kathryn Dolan says:

      That’s a great question. I think we could at least try… I honestly don’t imagine we could successfully go all the way back to the indigenous methods today– not giving population numbers and such. But we could definitely modify the forms of monoculture of today by applying much of what indigenous farmers already knew.

  3. Bart Welling, University of North Florida says:

    I don’t have my copy of Braiding Sweetgrass here at home, but Kimmerer makes it clear that a lot of Native people desperately want non-Natives to embrace philosophies such as the Honorable Harvest. When you accept these teachings as a gift and try to live them out with integrity and humility, getting to know plants as fellow beings rather than commodities, I think the risk of shallow cultural appropriation diminishes. Also, I really like what Kimmerer says about how mundane rituals–such as her father’s dumping out of his coffee grounds every morning when they would camp together as a family–can turn into important ways of honoring the Earth. Everyone can develop their own forms of the Honorable Harvest without having to steal Native names and stories. One thing I’m interested in is how the humanities could help recover pre-colonial European versions of the Honorable Harvest, and show how traces of these ideas have survived despite urbanization, capitalism, the rise of science, and so on.

    • Kathryn Dolan says:

      Yes, Bart, I agree. Definitely we want to avoid elements of cultural appropriation, but there are lots of ways that engagement in a variety of practices could be helpful.

    • Lydia Nixon, Angelo State University says:

      That makes sense – since these methods are rooted in such a drastically different mindset, then perhaps implementing these methods is in fact a way of honoring the people who developed them. Also, I appreciate your point about the humanities playing a role in recovering those stories and connecting the past to the present. It’s a helpful perspective for considering how a white scholar can/should position themselves in this conversation.

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