Home“The personal is geological”: feminisms and ecofeminisms in the Anthropocene

Home“The personal is geological”: feminisms and ecofeminisms in the Anthropocene

“The personal is geological”: feminisms and ecofeminisms in the Anthropocene

« Le personnel est géologique » : féminismes et écoféminismes à l’ère de l’Anthropocène

Sextant - Journal of Interdisciplinary Research on Gender and Sexuality

Sextant - Revue de recherche interdisciplinaire sur le genre et la sexualité

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Published on Wednesday, October 19, 2022 by Lucie Choupaut

Summary

Sextant. Journal of interdisciplinary research on gender and sexuality, will dedicate a special issue n°41 (2024) to understand how the feminist political subject is led to be redefined in the Anthropocene. Ecofeminisms allow us to rethink the category of body as an instantiation of the environment and the rest of the living world, in order to inscribe it as a possible encorporation of earthly forces, i.e. of sexuality and reproduction as well as of more-than-human entanglements. The special issue will cross the stakes of an ecofeminist embodiment with the classic stakes of the body in feminism, namely the questions of sexual citizenship, reproduction and sexuality, but also of engaging queer, decolonial and intersectional feminisms to reread their bodily instantiations in order to open to other modalities of embodiment and subjectivation.

Announcement

Editor

Nathalie Grandjean (FNRS / Université Saint-Louis, Bruxelles)

Argument

The Anthropocene is primarily a stratigraphic concept (Crutzen 2006) that signals the disruptive impact of human activities on biological, physical and chemical processes on the surface and in the atmosphere of the Earth. Settlement, industrialization, resource extraction and urbanization have inscribed themselves on the Earth in a way that physically marks the present moment and is no longer part of the Holocene epoch that began nearly 12,000 years ago. As a new geological epoch, a widely used metaphor for climate change, and a new framework for analysis, the concept of the Anthropocene has been the subject of much criticism and debates in the humanities and social sciences. As a new 'Grand Narrative' (Larrère 2018), which is told as the 'symptom and symbol of the failure of our humanity' (Descola 2018, 19), some describe the Anthropocene as a 'wake-up call' that 'labels the awareness of the human origins of warming' (Quenet 2017). Others conceive the Anthropocene more as the consequence of contingent historical developments and particular policy choices (Malm & Hornborg 2014), thus contrasting geological time with historical time.

In addition to temporalities, it questions the type of subject that is engaged in the concept of the Anthropocene. Indeed, by treating humanity as a universal and singular subject, or as a 'unitary species actor' (Nixon 2017, 24), the Anthropocene narrative conceals relations of domination and environmental inequalities, thus reproducing the homogenizing violence of colonialism (Sayre 2012). Consequently, some authors have proposed to call this era the 'Capitalocene' (Bonneuil 2017, Campagne 2017, Moore 2016), insisting on the deleterious effects of thermo-industrial capitalism, whose course seems impossible to stop. Other criticisms formulated in '-cene' emerge, illustrating 'its relevance in providing a global reference for our actions, which is likely to give them meaning' (Larrère 2018). The Anthropocene would thus also be a Eurocene (Grove 2019), marking the devastating importance of capitalist and colonial Europe; a Plantationocene (Tsing 2015, Haraway 2016), suggesting a longer history of land exploitation, going back to slave farming; or, more directly, a Corporatcene or Plasticene (Schneiderman 2015, 182). In a similar way, ecofeminists have challenged the anthropo-centric nature of the Anthropocene: to call humans a geological force is to obscure the fact that not all humans share equal responsibility for the current process of destruction. The Anthropocene is also an Androcene, while feminists rewriting, in a fresh way, their critique of the universal posture of '(Hu)Man' as a rational, coherent, fixed and disembodied subject (Collin 2010, e.g.). 

Beyond the apparent contradictions, the abundance of all these criticisms should alert us to a possible aporia. Indeed, while criticizing the arrogance and even the obscenity of the Anthropocene concept, these critics continue to emphasize the agency of the 'human race' and therefore to attribute to it not only responsibility for ecological devastation but also for the solutions to be found. It is as if humans were to continue to be the only ones in charge and that nothing should or could be expected from the rest of the living world, which is also a source of agency, i.e. of multiple and unpredictable intentions and interconnections. The Anthropocene, like all its critics, seems to reiterate the naturalist metaphysics organized in the Nature-Culture binarity, by proposing the idea that Humanity is once again facing Nature and would remain indispensable to the safeguarding of the latter, without any hybrid outcome being envisaged.

The rationale of this special issue of Sextant is based on the idea that a way out of this loop could be achieved from a feminist and ecofeminist perspective. Indeed, feminists, experiencing the artefactual character of the category "woman", have for a long time engaged in a critical reflection on "Man" as universal masculine and a theorization of subjectivities based on bodies. Their epistemological positioning therefore gives them a certain privilege to think about the conditions of possibility of breaking out of the loop.

Faced with this "event" that is the Anthropocene, questions remain unanswered. How can a feminist experience of the Anthropocene be politicized at the very heart of a devastated world? This special issue of Sextant, which we intend to be resolutely interdisciplinary, therefore intends to cross-reference the feminist issues of the Anthropocene with the classic issues of the body in feminisms, namely questions of sexual citizenship, reproduction and sexuality. It still matters to think how the bodily issues are redeployed at the intersection of these two feminist positions.

- How can we rethink modes of subjectivation other than by starting from material and singular bodies, individualized and politicized by the feminist collectives? Would it be possible to state/declare that the "personal is geological", like the feminist slogan of the 1970s, "the personal is political"?

- Moreover, while many ecofeminists recognize heteronormativity as an issue, systematic work crossing ecofeminist and queer theories is far from being completed in the French-speaking academic space. How can we think the normativity and performativity of gender in this context? How to get out of the conjunction "sexuality equals identity"? Even if we follow Braidotti, who argues that sexuality must be understood as a life force beyond gender (2017, 36-39), we still have to think about how these normative entanglements traverse the lived experience of these new subjects of the Anthropocene, and vice versa.

- In our context of climate disruption, questions of reproduction and motherhood also need to be discussed and renegotiated. Valérie Lefebvre-Faucher envisages mothering as “the best we have to do”, in a way that values the invisible and the unquantifiable, so that 'with a reversal of priorities comes a reversal of powers' (2017, 155). Moreover, the conjunction “reproduction equals kinship” also requires its discussion, following Haraway's (2016) lead with her slogan 'Making kin, not babies', which urges us to privilege and cherish chosen kinships.

- In general, this issue encourages queer, decolonial and intersectional feminisms to integrate the Anthropocene’s stake in their theoretical and activist works, by exploring different perspectives (spatiality, temporality, care, bodies, disability, e.g) and through different disciplinary lenses.

Submission guidelines

Proposals for papers (maximum 300 words) and a short biography, in French or English, should be sent to sextant@ulb.ac.be and nathalie.grandjean@usaintlouis.be

by 1st December 2022 at the latest.

Full papers should be between 30,000 and 40,000 characters (including spaces) and should be submitted by 1st July 2023.

Guidelines for contributions

Timeline

  • 1st December 2022: deadline for paper proposal
  • 15 December 2022: feedback on proposals
  • 1st July 2023: Submission of papers
  • July-December 2023: Double-blind review process and revisions
  • Spring 2024 : publication

About Sextant

Sextant is an annual, multidisciplinary and international peer-reviewed journal specializing in women's and gender studies. Created in 1993 on the initiative of Belgian historian Éliane Gubin, Sextant was the first university journal devoted to these issues in Belgium. It has long emanated directly from the GIEF (Interdisciplinary Group of Studies on Women) of the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB). Today, it deals with issues of gender and sexuality and is supported by an interdisciplinary group of ULB professors. The commitment of the journal to interdisciplinarity (social sciences, literature, law, psychology, etc.) has allowed Sextant to find a place in the landscape of gender research, especially in the French-speaking scientific environment. Thirty thematic issues have already emerged, covering a variety of subjects, all viewed from a gender perspective: work, citizenship, domesticity, colonialism, masculinities or Catholic mobilizations against 'gender ideology'. Since 2008, Sextant has been published by Éditions de l'Université de Bruxelles and has been subsidized since 2014 by the Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique (FNRS-FRS). It hosts unpublished and innovative articles both in French and English. Today, it is dedicated to gender and sexuality studies and is carried out by the Structure for Interdisciplinary Research on Gender, Equality and Sexuality (STRIGES) of the ULB with an international scientific committee. It is available in open access on https://journals.openedition.org/sextant/

Direction of Sextant

Amandine Lauro (FNRS/Université libre de Bruxelles) and Cécile Vanderpelen- Diagre (Université libre de Bruxelles)

Editorial Committee

Muriel Andrin (Université libre de Bruxelles), Jean-Didier Bergilez (Université libre de Bruxelles), Mylène Botbol-Baum (Université catholique de Louvain), Annalisa Casini (Université catholique de Louvain), Natacha Chetcuti-Osorovitz (Centrale Supélec-Université Paris-Saclay), Asuncion Fresnoza-Flot (FNRS/Université libre de Bruxelles) Nicole Gallus (Université libre de Bruxelles), Claire Gavray (Université de Liège), Nathalie Grandjean (Université Saint-Louis, Bruxelles), Stéphanie Loriaux (Université libre de Bruxelles), Bérengère Marques-Pereira (Université libre de Bruxelles), Danièle Meulders (Université libre de Bruxelles), Nouria Ouali (Université libre de Bruxelles), David Paternotte (Université libre de Bruxelles), Charlotte Pezeril (Université Saint-Louis), Valérie Piette (Université libre de Bruxelles)

Indicative bibliography

Alaimo, Stacy (2017), 'Your Shell on Acid: Material Immersion, Dissolving the Anthropocene', Grusin, Richard (ed.) (2017), Anthropocene feminism, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press.

Alaimo, Stacy (2018), 'Trans-corporeality', Braidotti, Rosi and Hlavajova, Maria (eds) (2018), The Posthuman Glossary, London, Bloomsbury book ed.

Åsberg, Cecilia (2017), 'Feminist Posthumanities in the Anthropocene: Forays Into The Postnatural' Journal of Posthuman Studies, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 185-204.

Beau, Rémi and Larrère, Catherine (eds.) (2018), Penser l'Anthropocène, Paris, Presses de Science Po.

Braidotti, Rosi (2017), 'Four theses on posthuman feminism', Grusin (2017), pp. 21-48.

Butler, Judith (1990), Gender trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, New York, Routledge.

Colebrook, Claire & Weinstein, Jami (2014), Anthropocene Feminisms, special issue of philoSOPHIA: A Journal of Continental Feminism (online).

Gaard, Greta (2015), 'Ecofeminism and Climate Change', Women's Studies International Forum, 49, pp. 20-33.

Grusin, Richard (ed.)(2017), Anthropocene feminism, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press.

Haraway, Donna (2016), Staying with the trouble, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press.


Date(s)

  • Thursday, December 01, 2022

Keywords

  • étude de genre, féminisme, écoféminisme, humanité environnementale, philosophie, anthropologie, sociologie

Contact(s)

  • Nathalie Grandjean
    courriel : nathalie [dot] grandjean [at] usaintlouis [dot] be

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Nathalie Grandjean
    courriel : nathalie [dot] grandjean [at] usaintlouis [dot] be

To cite this announcement

« “The personal is geological”: feminisms and ecofeminisms in the Anthropocene », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, October 19, 2022, https://calenda.org/1023830

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