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Accepted Paper:

On the narrative and nomenclature of seagulls  
Izabelle Grimm

Short abstract:

On the gap between Seagull and Gull. How does language create or prevent empathy and narrative? How can "good science" value speculation and subjectivity? Where does this come in while doing conservation work?

Long abstract:

The rules of working in a Seagull Colony start and end with the fact that there are no such things as Seagulls. The “correct” term, according to our research team, would be gull or Larus, and if a researcher slipped up in the field they were quickly belittled by the rest of the crew. I argue that in the term Gull allows for a scientist’s objectification of the bird, whereas the colloquial term Seagull gives room to narrative as a tool for ecological empathy. Here, I draw on the theory of Speculative Fabulation (Harroway, 2016). As what I would call an Uncharismatic Native, finding the narrative in Seagulls is especially important when their population is in decline. At the Edward Mc.C Blaine Research Station and the Alice Eno Field Research Station, found on separate islands off the coast of Maine, I spent a collective six months participating in a behavioral study of Herring Gulls and shooting a 20 minute wildlife documentary. There, I was taught to avoid anthropomorphism, subjectivity, and intervention. However, I argue that these three things are essential to the relationship between human and non-human. In this multimedia-rich talk, I tell a story of gulls, with reference to Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach, the controversial work of Hunt and Hunt’s 1977 study, Female-Female Pairing in Western Gulls (Larus occidentalis) in Southern California, and Staying with the Trouble by Donna Haraway.

Traditional Open Panel P071
  Session 1 Wednesday 17 July, 2024, -