Mother nature, earth as mother and queer cyborggoddesses: refiguring (eco)feminist genealogies through Clayoquot Sound
(University of Edinburgh)
Paper short abstract:
This paper revisits the figures of mother nature and earth as mother through stories of ecofeminist activists and asks, given more widespread engagement now with naturecultures, new materialisms, and anthropogenic climate change, what can be upcycled from the trashing of ecofeminism.
Paper long abstract:
Ecofeminist engagements with the figures of mother nature and earth as mother have long been the object of feminist critique. But these critiques - in effect, of essentialism - are critiques from an anthropocentric feminism, and they are critiques of the figure of a straw (eco)feminist. This paper revisits these figures through stories of ecofeminist activists who set up a peace camp in Clayoquot Sound, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, in 1993, to protest against clear-cut logging of temperate rainforest. Over 800 people were arrested for non-violent civil disobedience, blockading roads into logging areas. Clayoquot is a significant site for many reasons - not only for its temperate rainforests, but also because the peace camp was often described as based on ecofeminist principles (see Moore 2015). Starhawk has long led witchcamps, and now Earth Activist Training, in BC, and many activists had a long involvement with these trainings. Starhawk also came to the peace camp, led a spiral dance, and was arrested. Later Donna Haraway participated in a workshop of academics and activists in Clayoquot, which led to the book, A Political Space: Reading the Global through Clayoquot Sound (Magnusson and Shaw, 2003). This paper revisits these controversial ecofeminist figures in the context of a now more widespread engagement with, variously, naturecultures, new materialisms, vibrant matter and anthropogenic climate change, to see what can be retrieved, recycled, upcycled from the practice of trashing ecofeminism.
Feminist figures: crafting intersections in theory and practice