Materialities of human-animal movement in northern landscapes
Alexander Oehler (University of Northern British Columbia)
Sarah Carmen Moritz (McGill University )
Colin Scott
Living landscapes: Affective Ecologies/Paysages vivants: Écologies affectives
DMS 1150
Start time:
2 May, 2017 at 13:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

This panel invites papers concerned with the ways in which movement entangles humans, animals and materials in northern landscapes. It focuses on land features and material implements as nexuses between humans and animals in motion.

Long abstract:

This panel invites papers exploring human-animal relations through contexts of movement that transcend conventional wild-tame dichotomies. Based on the key premise that inter-species relations do not have to be collaborative or affectionate to be social, our emphasis lies on ethnographic accounts in which land features and/or material implements form communicative nexuses between beings in motion. Instead of approaching human-made implements and environmental modifications (e.g. cairns, dams, tethers, nets, trails, traps, ponds, canals, etc.) as manifestations of human exploitation or control, we seek more nuanced interpretations that take into account animal autonomy and intentional use of the material world. We inquire how animals are known to engage modified environments, and how people interpret, accommodate, or encourage animal utilization of the human-made. In this context, we ask how objects of joint movement (e.g. sleds, saddles, reins) become implements of inter-species communication rather than of control only, and how dynamic aspects of the environment (e.g. water currents, tides, winds) are enlisted in inter-species movement. Given the emplacement of joint and opposed movements in shared landscapes, we seek to gain a better understanding of how diverse beings draw benefit from material or perceptive advantages they identify in others. We ask, how does relational movement encourage the embodiment and accommodation of an other's perspective (i.e. hunter vs. prey), and in situations of intentional congruence (e.g. falconer and falcon), what are examples of multi-sensorial sharing? Finally, where joint or opposed movement do not apply, what can we learn from other contexts, such as affection, competition, or aloofness?