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Symbiotic methods: more-than-human companions for knowing 
Paul Keil (Institute of Ethnology, Czech Academy of Sciences)
Laura Kuen (Institute of Ethnology, Czech Academy of Sciences)
Marianna Szczygielska (Institute of Ethnology, Czech Academy of Sciences)
Kieran O'Mahony (Institute of Ethnology, Czech Academy of Sciences)
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Juno Salazar Parrenas (Cornell University)
Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

This panel explores how other-than-human partners inspire researchers toward other-worldly research methods. We invite contributions that examine the complicated intellectual and ethical obligations to lively organisms and processes in our epistemic practices.

Long Abstract:

Despite aspiring otherwise, too often more-than-human research superficially engages with other organisms and treats them as subordinate to social theorising. We are influenced by scholars who remain curious and in touch with the lives of their nonhuman companions, and the socio-ecological worlds they dwell in. Other beings are more than merely good to think with - their biological, relational, fleshy and creative capacities can carry and augment our thoughts. A scholarly indebtedness and ethical obligation that requires we seriously acknowledge how their lives and deaths compose our conceptual activities.

In this panel, we explore how our other-than-human intellectual partners inspire us towards other-worldly methods. Their unique modes of breathing, eating, sensing and connecting offer instruction for knowing, and open challenging conversations about how we conduct research. By following and corresponding with the bodies and behaviours of other beings we can generate new questions, processes, and techniques. For example, what can moles teach us about digging and accommodating to fuzziness (Parreñas 2023), or fungi and bacteria about collaboration (Tsing 2015; Benezra 2023)? How do eels help us understand transformations (Kaishian 2022), or how are plants entangled in knowledge-making (Kimmerer 2003, 2013)? And what do porcine tastes tell us about the omnivorous intellectual consumption of scholars?

We invite presentations that partner with more-than-human individuals, kinds, body parts or ecological relations to propose novel ways of doing research beyond routine academic paradigms. The panel is open to standard papers, as well as alternative media or experimental forms of presentation. We hope for thought-provoking insights into living organisms, ones that think through the ethical, political and epistemological possibilities of research. How can a symbiotic, methodological conversation generate new reflections on our more-than-human companions and what they do to our ways of knowing?

Accepted papers:

Session 1
Session 2