Art and Craft Lectures: Astrida Neimanis: Superabundance
Astrida Neimanis is a writer, teacher and researcher working at the intersection of feminism and environmental change.
As feminist and queer ecologies scholar Catriona Sandilands noted two decades ago, we need “to take seriously the argument that the ecological crisis is, even in a small part, a problem of desire”—that is, desire’s management, containment, and erasure. Too often, the message of environmentalism is to consume less, shrink our footprint, cut back on emissions, and live small. While these are all laudable and in many ways necessary objectives, they also associate environmentalism with an ethics of restraint, and an affect of sober abstinence. And how inspiring is that? Drawing on a number of contemporary feminist art projects, I propose that environmental feminisms can cultivate desire, instead of curtailing it. Such desires are manifoldly queer, excessive, and superabundant. This leads me to suggest the concept of gender abundance, or the biodiversity of gender, as an affirmative response to the conjoined contemporary crises of climate change and rising anti-2SLGBTQ climates. Through humour, joy, and play, gender becomes overwhelming, offering a riotous superabundance of possibilities in pursuit of ongoing life. Its too-muchness is perfectly adequate to the too-muchness of colonialism, cis-heteropatriarchy and the climate catastrophes of our time.
Astrida Neimanis is a writer, teacher and researcher working at the intersection of feminism and environmental change. Mixing cultural theory and practice-based methods, and often in collaboration with artists, scientists, educators, and other practitioners, her work seeks to tell different kinds of stories about water, weather, bodies, and feeling. She is author of many publications, including Bodies of Water: Posthuman Feminist Phenomenology (2017). Astrida is currently Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Feminist Environmental Humanities at UBC Okanagan on unceded syilx territory, where she also is Director of the FEELed Lab. Together with Jennifer Mae Hamilton, she is co-founder of the COMPOSTING feminisms reading and research group, and one of the founders of The Weathering Collective.
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