Inhabiting

The theme this week is Inhabiting, or what it is to participate in the world, rather than consider it from an improbable distance. Two articles and one video stand before you. Put on the kettle.

We begin with the anthropologist Tim Ingold.

*Ingold, T. (2006). Rethinking the animate, re-animating thoughtEthnos71(1), 9-20.

We pair this with a delightful stroll in the park with Jamie Mcphie:

*Mcphie, J., & Clarke, D. A. G. (2015). A walk in the park: considering practice for outdoor environmental education through an immanent take on the material turn. The Journal of Environmental Education46(4), 230-250.

I am delighted that Jamie will join us for class, so prepare your questions and observations! He has also provided this brief and entertaining tale of Mr Messy and the Ghost in the Machine.

Finally, I would like to add a remarkable TedX talk by Michael Robinson, that illustrates some of the obvious side-effects of a European gaze that is out of its conventional habitat:

*Robinson, Michael (2015) A Theory You’ve Never Heard Of, TedX talk, U. Hartford.

If you are new to Tim Ingold’s work, I cannot recommend it highly enough. His observations on the socio-material embedding and networks of relations we live among are often astounding, and his prose is a pleasure to read. If you are curious for more, the following article is very well aligned with the themes of this module. It is not required reading for this week though:

Ingold, T. (1990). An Anthropologist Looks at Biology. Man (London), 25(2):208–229.

I will add a quote from Michel Serres, in his book Geometry, which excavates the origins of the mathematical and physical traditions:

We have interpreted religions and mythologies in terms of the natural sciences for so long, a misinterpretation imposed by our modernity, that we still believe that our ancestors were first and foremost afraid of thunder, of atmospheric phenomena or the night, of the sterility of fallow lands. No, they were afraid of their enemies. All mythologies and polytheistic religions are social sciences in an exquisite way, infinitely more precise, effective and sensible than what we call by that name today. Conversely, it is fruitful to think that the social sciences today impose polytheisms. To reach the world and then physics, it was first of all necessary to cross this screen woven by the collectives themselves.” (Geometry, p. 187)