Accepted Paper:

Earth Activist Training as feminist, multicultural, antiracist technoscience project  

Author:

Joan Haran (Cardiff University)

Paper short abstract:

Since 2001, Starhawk, an ecofeminist activist has been teaching Earth Activist Training courses combining permaculture design with a focus on activism and spirituality. How might we understand Earth Activist Training as a “feminist, multicultural, antiracist, technoscience project” (Haraway 1994: 61).

Paper long abstract:

Since 2001, Starhawk, a feminist environmental and social justice activist has been co-teaching Earth Activist Training (EAT) courses which combine teaching on permaculture, a systems design approach to regenerative agriculture, with a focus on activism and spirituality. According to the EAT website: "Permaculture has many tools to address the problems of climate change and environmental degradation, and our courses focus on solutions and positive approaches to the grave problems which confront us today". In this paper, I explore the ways we might therefore understand Earth Activist Training as a "feminist, multicultural, antiracist, technoscience project" (Haraway 1994: 61).

Earth Activist Training courses bring together mainstream technoscience, indigenous, lay and local knowledges. Feminist and anti-racist critiques are incorporated in accounts of the social and environmental injustices the training is designed to empower its students to help redress. The course emphasis is on active, participatory and experiential learning, but conventional lecture modes are also employed. Drawing on my own experience of participating in an EAT course, as well as online accounts of EAT's mission, I think through the tensions and contradictions inherent in bringing together knowledge systems with such radically different genealogies and affordances.

EAT's ambitious mission statement includes the goal of "cross-pollinating the political, environmental, and spiritual movements that seek peace, justice and resilience", but might this cross-pollination be undermined by epistemological (or cosmological) dissonance? Alternatively, might this dissonance be productive if it is allied with a commitment to collective exploration of where technoscience and indigenous knowledge (for example) converge and diverge?

Panel T100
Feminist Technoscience Studies in Unexpected Places: (Intra)Activism and Social Justice