P05
Sense-making in a more-than-human world

Convenors:
Natasha Fijn (Australian National University)
Muhammad Kavesh (Australian National University)
Format:
Panels
Location:
Jan Anderson (E101A), R.N Robertson Building
Sessions:
Tuesday 3 December, 14:00-15:45, 16:15-18:00

Short abstract:

In this panel we invite presentations broadly engaging with the senses, while focusing on the agency and subjectivity of more-than humans; integrating written sensory ethnography with visual and auditory material to enhance our understanding of self and others.

Long abstract:

Donna Haraway has encouraged us to value Significant Others as companion species where the more-than-human is not just good to think with but good to live with. In order to include a sensorial understanding of interspecies sociality, thinking beyond the human necessitates different modes of communication beyond classic forms of anthropological text. Both Donna Haraway and Anna Tsing utilize critical description with narrative, striving to avoid human exceptionalism, while embracing multispecies landscapes. Through the work of Paul Stoller, Steven Feld and filmmaker Castaing-Taylor's Sensory Ethnography Lab there has been a push towards sensory ethnography, fusing the intelligible with the sensible, examining vision, sound, smell, touch and taste to examine a more-than-human world. In this panel we invite presentations broadly engaging with the senses, while focusing on the agency and subjectivity of more-than humans. We welcome papers that incorporate multiple beings, including plants, fungi, horses, dogs, pigeons, whales, insects or spirits. Anna Tsing, for example, has written evocatively about the smell and taste of the matsutake mushroom; while Steven Feld recorded and subsequently analysed how a woman tilling a taro field spontaneously composed a song to accompany the strident sound of a cicada. Preference will be given to submissions that integrate written sensory ethnography with visual and auditory material to enhance our understanding of self and others.