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Accepted Paper:

Muskox time: taming temporalities for more-than-human commons  
Astrid Oberborbeck Andersen (Aalborg University)

Paper short abstract:

Muskoxen live through geological epochs and are creatures of deep time. Following muskoxen in Greenland, this paper explores the deep temporalities embodied in muskoxen, and in the ecologies that sustain them. Can muskoxen help mobilize times that defy human-centered categorization and pave the way for alternative more-than-human commons?

Paper long abstract:

Muskoxen (umimmak or ovibos moschatus) defy categorization and confinement in time and place. They have ruminated their way through continents and geological epochs, and are seen, by some, as living relics of past geological times, or creatures of deep time. Geneticists wonder how current populations can be thriving, taking into consideration their extremely low genetic variation.

This presentation follows a population of muskoxen in present-day Kangerlussuaq, West Greenland that has been thriving and growing since the 1960s, when 27 individuals were translocated to the area, after being caught in East Greenland. The population, now estimated to be of some 20.000 individuals, has become the object of various forms of resource-imagining and making: subsistence and commercial hunting for meat, wool production, trophy hunting, and tourism - resulting in different forms of regulation and new modes of territorial ownership.

Experimenting with genres of writing and audiovisual materials this paper tries to capture and unfold the deep and complex temporalities embodied in muskox bodies and pathways, and in the (disturbed) tundra ecologies that sustain them. If muskox deep time holds the potential to trouble and overthrow time as we know it, then what are the materialities and registers through which such muskox temporalities become available to us? How can more-than-human temporalities be grasped and accessed by humans/anthropologists, and how can muskoxen and their landscapes help us mobilize deep and other time-space forms that defy human-centered categorization, resource-imagining, and confinement, and pave the way for alternative more-than-human commons?

Panel P094b
Hope from the Abyss? Deep Time, Contemporary Crises, and the Reimagining of the Commons II
  Session 1 Thursday 28 July, 2022, -