Ecological Times

Søby Brunkulslejer, Danmark. Photo by Colin Hoag for the Brown Coal Research Team (AURA: Aarhus University Research on the Anthropocene).

Ecological processes unfold in unstable coordination. The phenology of a species might come into alignment with the seasonal availability of a food source, say, but disturbance, shifting environmental conditions, and system feedbacks mean that these alignments are always tentative—even in the most tightly coupled, bounded ecosystems. Somewhere between machinic and haphazard, ecosystems are at once rule-bound and surprising. Certain attempts by states, capitalists, and others to increase regularity and predictability in environments have destroyed ecosystem function by imposing a temporally configured vision of nature-as-factory in service of Universal Man. Moreover, they have suppressed diverse human forms of relating to the environment that might challenge such ecological Taylorism. What can environmental anthropology—with its sensibility for the historically shifting conditions of both the materiality of environments and their meaning—teach us about the temporality of more-than-human worlds? This thematic thread calls for temporal thinking on more-than-human coordination, dissolution, and collapse.

This series remains open.

Series Posts:

The Time Travelers: Ambiguous Returns
by Elaine Gan