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Greetings from my summer hiatus in Italy (hence the shortage of posts…)

Below is the CFP for the journal Undercurrents, a student-run and collectively edited, produced, and managed journal from the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University. Please feel free to forward and post this CFP elsewhere, as appropriate, or to submit your own work! The full text of the CFP follows for easy copy-and-paste.

UndercurrentsQueerEco-CFP-poster

In May 1994, UnderCurrents released what was very likely the first ever publication wholly devoted to the intersection of queerness and nature. In the editorial essay framing that issue, Shauna M. O’Donnell and the Editorial Collective of UnderCurrents wrote, “Difficult though it may be, trying to map out a space for Queer/Nature within a politics of the environment demands the charting of courses through a discursive terrain of perils and possibilities” (2). That landmark issue explored topics as diverse as the intersection of geography and queer theory (Gordon Brent Ingram), sexual morphology and medicalization of the queer body (Morgan Holmes), ecologies of life and death (J. Michael Clark), and the nascent queer ecology (Catriona Sandilands). It also included myriad creative work that touched themes of queer memory (Ailsa Craig), alternative kinship and communities constituted in passion (Caffyn Kelly), and small town life (Deanna Bickford). The exploratory openness, breadth, and diversity of the issue signaled both the significance of ‘queer’ as a conceptual and political transformation of sexual politics and the sense that environmental politics could “no longer be an articulation of white, male, heterosexual prescriptive or descriptive privilege” (2).

Two recent edited volumes represent the breadth of queer ecological scholarship. The first, Queering the Non/Human (Giffney and Hird) explores of the theoretical, ethical, and political possibilities of an encounter between queer theory and posthumanism. The volume’s editors offer a breathless introduction to the complex diversity of work presented in the book. Most broadly, the contributors to Queering the Non/Human challenge both the meaning and uses of queer theories and the porous and contested boundary between the human and the non human. The second, Queer Ecologies: Sex, Nature, Politics, Desire (Mortimer-Sandilands and Erickson) traces intersecting lines of queerness and nature, mapping a field with implications not only for environmental politics, but also for the theorization of the boundary between human and animal, considerations of nation, nature, and colonialism, and imaginations of the ecologization of desire, to name just a few. In addition to these two substantial volumes, recent articles by geographer Matthew Gandy and ecocritic Timothy Morton gesture toward the continued expansion and diversification of queer ecological thinking and research.

This issue of UnderCurrents celebrates the 20th anniversary of ‘Queer/Nature’ by inviting creative and scholarly contributions to the heterogenous field of Queer Ecologies. We envision this issue as both a retrospective moment and timely opportunity to highlight the continued ethical and political creativity that springs from thinking the queer and the ecological together.

To that end, we invite both creative and scholarly submissions that contribute to Queer Ecologies. Possible perspectives, themes, and intersections include, but are by no means limited to:

  • Evolving queer theories and activisms, especially perspectives from:
  • Trans Studies
  • Disability Studies
  • Queer of Color scholarship
  • Transnational Sexuality Studies
  • Feminism and Ecofeminism
  • Environmental Justice
  • Equity Studies
  • Ecological and environmental politics
  • Queer Geography, spatial politics, and urbanization
  • Ecological theory and science
  • Feminist science studies
  • Visual and performative imaginations
  • Poetic and literary imaginations
  • Queer ecological fictions
  • Queer time, temporality, history, and memory
  • Climate change and climate justice
  • Ecosexuality
  • Ecocriticism and environmental literature
  • Studies and theories of embodiment and corporeality
  • Ecologies of decolonization and postcoloniality

Submission Guidelines

UnderCurrents welcomes both creative and scholarly work for the printed issue as well as the online version. These include essays, poetry, photographs, visual submissions, video, audio, mixed formats, and more.

The due date for submissions is October 1, 2013.

The subject line of your email should read: Submission // Queer Ecologies.

Submissions are made through the UnderCurrents website

http://pi.library.yorku.ca/ojs/index.php/currents/index

Images should be at least 1600X1200pixels, 300dpi.

All text should be in .doc or .docx format, and not exceed 6,000 words. Detailed guidelines and requirements can be found on the website. Submissions that do not meet the requirements will not be considered.

For any questions please write to currents@yorku.ca.

The Editorial Collective will work closely with authors whose work has been selected.

UnderCurrents encourages authors to engage in anti-discriminatory discourse.

Visit our website for more details: http://pi.library.yorku.ca/ojs/index.php/currents/index

References

Gandy, Matthew. “Queer Ecology: Nature, Sexuality, and Heterotopic Alliances.” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 30.4 (2012): 727–747. Web.

Giffney, Noreen, and Myra J Hird, eds. Queering the Non/Human. Ashgate Publishing Company, 2008. Print.

Mortimer-Sandilands, Catriona, and Bruce Erickson, eds. Queer Ecologies: Sex, Nature, Politics, Desire. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2010. Print.

Morton, Timothy. “Guest Column: Queer Ecology.” PMLA 125.2 (2010): 273–282. Print.

O’Donnell, Shauna M, Undercurrents Editorial Collective. “Carrying on and Going Beyond: Some Conditions of Queer/Nature.” Undercurrents (1994): 2–3. Print.

MAI-Shit

Location: Trinity Bellwoods Park, Toronto, Ontario

Cost: Free (Though citizen-artists are encouraged to consider a donation to the Marina Abramović Institute [MAI] according to their economic class. Citizen-artists are reminded that MAI relies on your suffering for its success.)

Instructions for the performance piece and artistic context:

Severely world-renowned performance artist, Marina Abramović, invites you to participate in this experimental, roving, extra-mental durational performance piece. The piece begins nightly at 9pm, when the publicly accessible restrooms in Toronto’s Trinity Bellwoods Park are closed and locked for the evening. This Participant Oriented Original Performance Program enrolls Situationally Hyperaware Institute Techniques to provide Theoretically Underwhelming Research DerivativeS that are invaluable to the future universalization of the Marina Abramović Method™.

Citizen-artists are encouraged to arrive in a state of urgency and are doubly encouraged not to take on an aspect of unrest or discomfort at any time during the performance; the stoic visage is crucial to the success of this piece. Citizen-artists should first make a calm and measured attempt to locate an open bathroom in the park. They are to undertake this activity whether or not they can infer that all the bathrooms are locked and unavailable for public use. As the citizen-artist circumambulates the grounds, they should note the impact of walking on their sense of urgency, again taking care to avoid appearances of unrest or discomfort. The purity of the performative state relies on the citizen-artist’s ability to suppress any appearance of need or humanity, emphasizing the extent to which self-conscious experience achieved through unnecessary withholding of bodily needs yields to an oblivion unmatched by even the most transcendent consumer experiences.

At this time, citizen-artists might employ the following mantras:
This is my opportunity to experience the threshold of production.
My body is the gallery, the art is inside me.
My body is glowing. Excresence forever.

After attempting to locate an available commode, the citizen-artist should approach the performer installed adjacent to the medical tent area, where there is a state of the art Portable Performance Anxiety Relief Pod designed specifically for the relief of performatively generated urgency. (The performer will be dressed as a security guard, their intimidating appearance is crucial to the coherence of the piece.) The citizen-artist is encouraged to calmly explain their urgency. The performer will respond according to a specific protocol designed by Ms. Abramović herself: “Go talk to the other security guard.”

At this time, the citizen-artist should walk in calm, measured steps toward the second installed performer. The citizen-artist should be careful to maintain eye contact with the second installed performer and should communicate their urgency and need only through intense eyegazing. The second installed performer will calmly explain that, “The Portable Performance Anxiety Relief Pod designed by MAI is intended only for the use of employees of Luminato and the MAI.” The citizen-artist is encouraged to draw on contextual information such as the public nature of the space, the locked public restrooms, the underutilized appearance of the Portable Performance Anxiety Relief Pod, and the universality of the urgency and need they experience in order to relay the immanence of their embodied experience of urgency to the second installed performer. The second installed performer will empathize but will emphatically deny the immanence of the citizen-artists urgency. The denial will come in the form of a humble apology, “I’m sorry.” The installed performers are not equipped to provide any further explanation, though the citizen-artist is encouraged to seek any and all clarifying details they require. The dissatisfying nature of clarifying information heightens the reality of the citizen-artists awareness of urgency.

Once the citizen-artist is satisfactorily rebuffed, they should take care to remain in the performance zone for as long as possible. The true benefits of the Marina Abramović Method begin to take hold only after the citizen-artist has been denied what they believe to be their fundamental human right of access to the Portable Performance Anxiety Relief Pod.

Rather than creating the performance herself, Abramović indoctrinates the citizen-artist, enabling them to craft their own experience by directing their attention inwardly and connecting with their true capacities for withholding.  As the Creator conveys: “If you don’t have the education or willpower, than it doesn’t make any sense at all. You just give up. Your mind is a very tricky thing. Instead of doing what you’re doing in the performance, it just leaves. Do not evacuate your mind. Achieve this by withholding evacuation from your body.”

The performance ends with the citizen-artist seeks relief in any of the businesses or backyards surrounding the performance venue. Citizen-artists are then invited to share the fruits of their participation via social media using any the following ‘hashtags’ #POOPP (Participant Oriented Original Performance Program), #SHIT (Situationally Hyperaware Institute Techniques), #TURDS (Theoretically Underwhelming Research DerivativeS).

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Visual approximation; Installation view (Contact the Artist or or the Institute for more information.)

“At this point I think it is important to make one thing very clear: I have advocated and I still advocate revolutionary changes in the structure and in the principles that govern the United States. I advocate self-determination for my people and for all oppressed people inside the United States. I advocate an end to capitalist exploitation, the abolition of racist policies, the eradication of sexism and the elimination of political oppression. If that is a crime, then I am totally guilty.”

In her own words, Assata Shakur.

The letter in full [PDF]: An Open Letter form Assata Shakur

Bouncing from the AAG to a local and amazing conference this weekend: Urban Forestries and Political Ecologies. I’ll be commenting on the keynote by Dr. Sandy Smith of University of Toronto. The session is called “Adaptation and Vulnerability in the Urban Forest” and I’m calling my contribution, which is a response in the context of my own work, “Thinking the urban with Ailanthus Altissima: Queer notes on the ecological ethics and politics of arboreal engagement.”

Other highlights include: keynotes by Nik Heynen (moderated by Jin Haritaworn of FES), Owain Jones (moderated by Cate Sandilands of FES); panels on the Rouge Valley and a field trips to York and to Humber Arboretum; closing comments by Roger Keil of FES and York’s CITY Institute.

Conference organizers include FES Prof. Anders Sandberg and PhD Candidate Adrina Bardekjian.

Conference season people!

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Shaking the Habitual, the perfectly titled new album from the incredible Swedish duo The Knife is streaming here. (Thanks to MM for sharing.)

Also, if you want more context for their return to producing music as The Knife after several years, there’s a great piece in the Guardian. Judith Butler is a named influence on the conceptualization of this album.

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