Keynote 2

Dear Forest: Writing Across Breaking-Points with More-Than-Human Worlds

Thursday, May 20: 11:15 AM PDT / 7:15 PM BST / 11:45 PM IST

Hillary Cunningham Scharper, University of Toronto, Canada

Bio: Dr. Hilary Cunningham Scharper is both a cultural anthropologist and a Canadian novelist. Her academic interests encompass multi-species ethnography, critical animal studies, sentient landscapes and land ethics. Her ethnographic practice engages with visual, sensory and arts-based methodologies. Writing as Hilary Scharper, she also publishes literary fiction. Her recent novel Perdita is the first of a series of “eco-gothic” stories set in the Great Lakes.

Abstract: Critically addressing issues of authorial power and the asymmetries of representation has a long tenure in anthropology. But what if that experimentation is extended to more-than-human worlds? What kinds of conversations might evolve, especially those informed by the unpredictability, urgency and escalation of anthropogenic climate chaos? With human/morethan- human relationships stretched to breaking-points, what forms of collaboration might ensue?

Dear Forest is a walk-in-a-dark-woods—both ethnographic and fictional—and explores “author-ity,” and “relational-research” in a world where the possibility of unlimited human/nonhuman “co-constitutions” can no longer be taken-for-granted.