"SF: String Figures, Multispecies Muddles, Staying with the Trouble"
University of Alberta, March 24, 2014

"Sympoesis, not autopoesis, and SF provide the guiding threads for the string figure game of my multispecies muddles. SF is a multi-stranded pattern, including speculative fabulation, speculative feminism, science fiction, science fact, string figures, so far. This talk argues that the sciences of the 'modern evolutionary synthesis,' forged roughly between the 1920s and 1950s, with branches in the sociobiology and neo-Darwinsm of the 1970s and following, shape and distort attention to human-induced mass extinctions and rewordings named the Anthropocene. These sciences are rooted in a search for units and relations, especially competitive relations, and have a hard time with three pivotal domains of biology: embryology and development, symbiosis and collaborative entanglements, and the vast worlds of microbes. Isabelle Stengers’s cosmopolitics suggest something very different, namely, attention to 'multi-species becoming with.' This kind of alert attending might be more able to sustain us in staying with the trouble of human-induced mass extinctions as well as to foreground the still possible kinds of recuperation and flourishing that terran critters craft together. Tentacular beings can assist bipedal entities in recrafting material practices and imaginations needed for staying with the trouble. The talk explores emerging trans-disciplinary biologies, which might be called EcoEvoDevoHistoTechno, for the string figures tying together human and nonhuman ecologies, evolution, development, history, technology, arts, and affect. Infection and indigestion, not production and reproduction, are the name of this game, as critters render each other capable both of inheriting the terrible trouble of our mortal, corporeal, sensuous Terra and of shaping ongoingness. Marine and crocheted corals are key players in the wordings of this talk."

Please notify the webmaster of any problems with this Web page.