This week’s featured wilderness thinker is Jeff Baldwin, Associate Professor of Geography at Sonoma State University. Jeff’s paper reminds us that non-human actors have shaped wilderness for millennia and that we should consider them as important partners in the ecosystem we share. Jeff proposes a thought experiment; to reflect and reconsider our position and move away from an anthropocentric perspective reminding us of the potential of the constant “processes of organization, self-organization, and decay in hybrid human-nature combinations” (Radkau, 1978: 308-325)
The article is in part a response to recent calls in the environmental history literature both to engage more fully with social theory and to re-invigorate an examination of human-environment dialectics. Through a re-visitation of Marx’s work on material historicity in light of recent research on animal behavior, the article provides a theoretical framework through which non-human beings can be understood as historic actors, in and of themselves. That argument provides a theoretical framework to support practical projects which seek to ‘partner’ with non-human actors in efforts to modify and/or restore landscapes and ecosystem services. Read More….
Digital image still from featured video work, Down, Up, Down: Pine Mountain Breathing (2014)
This week’s featured wilderness thinker is Zoé Strecker, artist, writer and art professor. Zoé’s ‘multi-modal thinking’ is consolidated through her durational exploration of Pine Mountain, a ridge in the Appalachian Mountains that runs through Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee. Pine Mountainrepresents the last great contiguous stretch of unfragmented forest in Kentucky, breached only by six roads in 110 miles and is also a significant unprotected wilderness area.
Zoé’s engagement develops a mindful ecology around Pine Mountain extending her wilderness thinking into other communities through the students and volunteers with whom she works and collaborates, which includes SITE, an arts-led interdisciplinary educational collaboration with philosopher, Prof. Peter S. Fosl at Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky. This exploration of Pine Mountain generates creative and scholarly responses along with Zoé’s personal arts practice, which celebrates the exceptional biodiversity of Pine Mountain in southeastern Kentucky. Read More….