STS Methods Lab: Poaching in Multispecies Worlds
We are glad to welcome Associate Professor of Anthropology (Research) in the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalization at Deakin University, Eben Kirksey, Ph.D. for the next STS Methods Lab.
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Trespassing into the domain of biology, multispecies ethnographers have been stealing organisms—such as bacteria, acorns, and vultures—and claiming them for their own. These transgressions were inspired by Michel de Certeau, who describes “reading as poaching,” a form of intellectual trespassing in The Practice of Everyday Life. Reading as poaching allows one to “convert the text through reading,” to trespass on the “private
hunting reserves” cultivated by elite literati, who alone claim rights to ascribe meanings to texts or landscapes. The tactic of poaching fits within de Certeau’s larger argument that consumption is not a passive act determined by systems of production. He suggests that reading is a primary activity of modern consumers and, therefore, of everyday life.
In this session of the STS Methods Lab, Associate Professor Kirksey will offer an account of early practices of poaching in multispecies ethnography, as anthropologists began to purloin tools - like microscopes and DNA testing technologies - to study contact zones where nature and culture meet. Scientific artifacts were also reframed as artworks, to catalyze conversations with scientific interlocutors. His presentation will also point towards future poaching opportunities as ethnographers start to venture into the virosphere.
The session includes 30-45 minutes introduction, followed by joint thinking and discussion.
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