Research with the Moving, the Vivacious Many

A Practical Poetry of Paces in More-Than-Human Worlds

Keywords: More-than-human, multispecies methodologies, walking, animals, dog, donkey

Abstract

This paper addresses the methodological question of how researchers can meaningfully and ethically include non-human beings not only as research subjects or informants, but as active participants in the research process. Following a review of relevant existing more-than-human and multispecies methodologies, we recognise that non-human beings are already part of academia, yet their capacity to actively shape research remains largely unaccounted for. We engage Springgay and Truman’s (2018) practice of ‘walking-with’ as a methodological approach for bringing non-human beings into the research process, developing what we call ‘a practical poetry of paces’ as a contribution to this work. We illustrate its application in two different ‘fieldwalks’ – with a donkey in North Kenya and a dog on Canvey Island in the UK – focusing on the absences that can thus be made present, as well as the types of relational engagement this mode of conducting research engenders. We conclude with ethical considerations about the impossibility of dismantling power relations between human and non-human beings and its implications for the ethicality of conducting research with non-human collaborators.

Author Biographies

Johannes Theodor Aalders, Gothenburg University

Johannes Theodor (or just "Theo") Aalders is a PhD Candidate in Environmental Social Science at the School of Global Studies, Gothenburg University. He holds degrees in Human Geography (BA, Bayreuth, Germany) and Environmental Studies (MSc, Lund, Sweden). His main research interests include the politics of scale, relational space, Derrida’s hauntology, comic books walking as an ethnographic method, environmental justice, climate change, critical animal studies and Kenya’s oil infrastructure.

Kate Monson, University of Brighton

Kate Monson is a PhD Candidate in Environmental Humanities and Social Science at the Social, Environmental and Cultural Politics Centre, University of Brighton. She holds degrees in English Literature and Creative Writing (BA, Exeter University, UK) and Human Ecology (MSc, Lund, Sweden). Her main research interests include understandings, experienes and communuications of climate change, the anthropocene, and the environment; more-than-human and feminist geographies; mobile and muddled methodologies; and creative writing as a mode of inquiry.

References

Adorno, Theodor W. 1992. “Parataxis.” In Notes to Literature, translated by Shierry Weber Nicholsen. Vol. 2. New York: Columbia University Press.

———. 2000. Metaphysics: Concept and Problems. Edited by Rolf Tiedemann. Translated by Edmund Jephcott. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Alaimo, Stacy. 2016. Exposed - Environmental Politics and Pleasures in Posthuman Times. Minneapolis & London: University of Minnesota Press.

Alonso, I, K Weston, R Gregg, and M Morecroft. 2012. “Carbon Storage by Habitat: Review of the Evidence of the Impacts of Management Decisions and Condition of Carbon Stores and Sources.”.

Barad, Karen. 2007. Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Durham, North Carolina; London, UK: Duke University Press.

Bastian, Michelle, Owain Jones, Niamh Moore, and Emma Roe. 2017. Participatory Research in More-than-Human Worlds. London, New York: Routledge.

BBC News. 2020. “Kenya Bans Commercial Slaughter of Donkeys.” BBC News Africa, February 25, 2020. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-51629660.

Bell, Sarah J., Lesley Instone, and Kathleen J. Mee. 2018. “Engaged Witnessing: Researching with the More-than-Human.” Area 50 (1): 136–44. https://doi.org/10.1111/area.12346.

Boisseron, Bénédicte. 2018. Afro-Dog: Blackness and the Animal Question. New York: Columbia University Press.

Bolender, Karin. 2020. The Unnaming of Aliass. Goleta, California: Punctum Books.

Bull, Jacob. 2011. “Introducing Movement and Animals.” In Animal Movements – Moving Animals. Essays on Direction, Velocity and Agency in Humanimal Encounters, edited by Jacob Bull. Uppsala: University Printers Uppsala.

Buller, Henry. 2015. “Animal Geographies II: Methods.” Progress in Human Geography 39 (3): 374–84.

Chao, Sophie. 2017. "There are no straight lines in nature": Making Living Maps in West Papua." Anthropology Now 9 (1): 16-33. https://anthronow.com/feature-preview/there- are-no-straight-lines-in-nature

Churchill, Winston Spencer. 1909. My African Journey. Toronto: William Briggs.

Celermajer, Danielle, Sria Chatterjee, Alasdair Cochrane, Stefanie Fishel, Astrida Neimanis, Anne O’Brien, Susan Reid, Krithika Srinivasan, David Schlosberg, and Anik Waldow. 2020. “Justice Through a Multispecies Lens.” Contemporary Political Theory 19 (3): 475-512.

Bawaka Country, Sandie Suchet-Pearson, Sarah Wright, Kate Lloyd, and Laklak Burarrwanga. 2013. “Caring as Country: Towards an Ontology of Co-Becoming in Natural Resource Management.” Asia Pacific Viewpoint 54 (2): 185–97.

Bawaka Country, Sarah Wright, Sandie Suchet-Pearson, Kate Lloyd,Laklak Burarrwanga, Ritjilili Ganambarr, Merrkiyawuy Ganambarr-Stubbs, Banbapuy Ganambarr, and Djawundil Maymuru. 2015. “Working with and Learning from Country: Decentring Human Author-Ity.” Cultural Geographies 22 (2): 269–83.

Bawaka Country, Sarah Wright, Sandie Suchet-Pearson, Kate Lloyd, Laklak Burarrwanga, Ritjilili Ganambarr, Merrkiyawuy Ganambarr-Stubbs, Banbapuy Ganambarr, Djawundil Maymuru, and Jill Sweeney. 2016. “Co-Becoming Bawaka: Towards a Relational Understanding of Place/Space.” Progress in Human Geography 40 (4): 455-75.

Emel, Jody, Chris Wilbert, and Jennifer Wolch. 2002. “Animal Geographies.” Society & Animals 10 (4): 407–12.

Emel, Jody, Connie L. Johnson, and Elisabeth (Lisa) Stoddard. 2015. “Livelier Livelihoods – Animal and Human Collaboration on the Farm.” In Critical Animal Geographies. Politics, Intersection, and Hierarchies in a Multispecies World, edited by Kathryn Gillespie and Rosemary-Claire Collard, 203–12. London & New York: Routledge.

Fielder, Brigitte. 2019. “Why Animal Studies Must Be Antiracist: A Conversation with Bénédicte Boisseron.” Edge Effects, March 2019.

Giblett, R. J. 1996. Postmodern Wetlands: Culture, History, Ecology. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Gillespie, Kathryn, and Rosemary-Claire Collard. 2015. Critical Animal Geographies: Politics, Intersection, and Hierarchies in a Multispecies World. London & New York: Routledge.

Gooch, Pernille. 2008. “Feet Following Hooves.” In Ways of Walking – Ethnography and Practice on Foot, edited by Tim Ingold and Jo Lee Vergunst, 67–80. Aldershot, Burlington: Ashgate.

Guha-Majumdar, Jishnu. 2019. “Blackness and Animality beyond Recognition.” Qui Parle 28 (2): 373–89.

Haraway, Donna. 2008. When Species Meet. Minneapolis, London: University of Minnesota Press.

Hart, B. L. 1987. “Behavior of Sick Animals.” The Veterinary Clinics of North America. Food Animal Practice 3 (2): 383–91. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0749-0720(15)31159-2.

Hinchliffe, Steve, Matthew B. Kearnes, Monica Degen, and Sarah Whatmore. 2005. “Urban Wild Things: A Cosmopolitical Experiment.” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 23 (5): 643–58.

Hitchings, Russell, and Verity Jones. 2004. “Living with Plants and the Exploration of Botanical Encounter within Human Geographic Research Practice.” Ethics, Place and Environment 7 (1–2): 3–18.

Hodgetts, Timothy, and Jamie Lorimer. 2015. “Methodologies for Animals’ Geographies: Cultures, Communication and Genomics.” Cultural Geographies 22 (2): 285–95.

Hurd, Barbara. 2001. Stirring the Mud: On Swamps, Bogs and Human Imagination. Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Ingold, Tim. 2007. Lines: A Brief History. London & New York: Routledge.

———. 2013. “Anthropology Beyond Humanity.” Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society 38 (3): 5–23.

Ingold, Tim, and Jo Lee Vergunst. 2008. Ways of Walking: Ethnography and Practice on Foot. Edited by Tim Ingold and Jo Lee Vergunst. Hampshire, UK: Ashgate Publishing Limited.

Johnson, Lindgren. 2018. Race Matters, Animal Matters: Fugitive Humanism in African America. New York: Routeledge.

Jones, Owain. 2010. “‘The Breath of the Moon’: The Rhythmic and Affective Time-Spaces of UK Tides.” In Geographies of Rhythm: Nature, Place, Mobilities and Bodies, edited by Tim Edensor, 189–203. Abingdon, UK; New York: Routledge.

Kirksey, S. Eben, and S. Helmreich. 2010. “The Emergence of Multispecies Ethnography.” Cultural Anthropology 25 (4): 545–76.

Ko, Aph, and Syl Ko. 2020. Aphro-Ism: Essays on Pop Culture, Feminism, and Black Veganism from Two Sisters. 2 [2017]. Brooklyn, NY: Lantern Publishing.

Kohn, Eduardo. 2013. “How Forests Think: Toward an Anthropology Beyond the Human.” University of California Press, 282.

Kontturi, Katve-Kaisa. 2018. Ways of Following: Art, Materiality, Collaboration. London: Open Humanities Press.

Kuokkanen, Rauna Johanna. 2007. Reshaping the University: Responsibility, Indigenous Epistemes, and the Logic of the Gift. Vancouver, Britich Columbia: UBC Press.

Lane, Karen. 2015. “Canine Connections: Fieldwork with a Dog as Research Assistant.” Anthropology in Action 22 (3): 27–38.

LCDA. 2015. “Investment Prospectus.” Nairobi. http://www.lapsset.go.ke/reports/.

Lorimer, Jamie. 2010. “Elephants as Companion Species: The Lively Biogeographies of Asian Elephant Conservation in Sri Lanka.” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 35 (4): 491–506.

Lorimer, Jamie, and Krithika Srinivasan. 2013. “Animal Geographies.” In The Wiley- Blackwell Companion to Cultural Geography, edited by Nuala C. Johnson, Richard H. Schein, and Jamie Winders, 332–42. Wiley-Blackwell.

Maichomo, M. W., T. Karanja-Lumumba, M. O. Olum, J. Magero, T. Okech, and S.N. Nyoike. 2019. “The Status of Donkey Slaughter in Kenya and Its Implication on Community Livelihoods.” Kikuyu. http://www.kalro.org/sites/default/files/donkey-kalro-report-final-trade-crisis.pdf.

Malm, Andreas. 2018. The Progress of This Storm. Nature and Society in a Warming World. Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling. Vol. 53. London: Verso.

Matsutake Worlds. 2009. “A New Form of Collaboration in Cultural Anthropology: Matsutake Worlds.” American Ethnologist 36 (2): 380–403.

Messent, P. R. 1983. “A Review of Recent Developments in Human-Companion Animal Studies.” California Veterinarian.

Neimanis, Astrida, and Perdita Phillips. 2019. “Postcards from the Underground.” Journal of Public Pedagogies 4 (127–139).

Newbigin, M. I. 1913. Animal Geography: The Faunas of the Natural Regions of the Globe. Oxford: Clarendon.

Oliver, Mary. 2012. A Thousand Mornings. New York: Penguin Press.

Pearsall, Judy, ed. 2002. Concise Oxford English Dictionary. 10th, revi ed. New York: Oxford University Press Inc.

Pitt, Hannah. 2015. “On Showing and Being Shown Plants: A Guide to Methods for More- than-Human Geography.” Area 47 (1): 48–55. https://doi.org/10.1111/area.12145.

Potouroglou, Maria. 2016. “Assessing the Role of Intertidal Seagrasses as Coastal Carbon Sinks in Scotland.” Edinburgh Napier University.

Ritvo, Harriet. 2007. "On the Animal Turn." Deadalus 136: 118-22

Smart, Alan. 2014. “Critical Perspectives on Multispecies Ethnography.” Critique of Anthropology 34 (1): 3–7.

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. 1988. “Can the Subaltern Speak?” In Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, edited by C. Nelson and L. Grossberg, 271–313. Basingstoke: Macmillan Education.

———. 2000. “Thinking Cultural Questions in ‘Pure’ Literary Terms.” In Without Guarantees: In Honour of Stuart Hall, 335–58. London & New York: Verso.

Springgay, Stephanie, and Sarah E. Truman. 2018. Walking Methodologies in a More-than- Human World: WalkingLab. Walking Methodologies in a More-than-Human World WalkingLab.

Stengers, Isabelle. 2005. "The Cosmopolitical Proposal". In Making Things Public, 994-1003. Cambridge, Massechussetts: MIT Press.

———. 2018. Another Science is Possible: A Manifesto for Slow Science. Heboken, New Jersey: Wiley.

Sundberg, Juanita. 2015. "Ethics, Entanglement and Political Ecology." In The Routledge Handbook of Political Ecology, edited by Tom Perreault, Gavin Bridge, and James McCarthy, 117-26. London and New York: Routledge.

TallBear, Kim. 2011. “Why Interspecies Thinking Needs Indigenous Standpoints.”

Fieldsights, no. November 18. https://culanth.org/fieldsights/why-interspecies- thinking-needs-indigenous-standpoints.

———. 2016. “Standing with and Speaking as Faith: A Feminist-Indigenous Approach to Inquiry.” Sources and Methods in Indigenous Studies 10 (2): 78–85.

Todd, Zoe. 2016. “An Indigenous Feminist’s Take On The Ontological Turn: ‘Ontology’Is Just Another Word For Colonialism.” Journal of Historical Sociology 29 (1): 4–22.

Tsing, Anna Lowenhaupt. 2005. Friction - An Ethnography of Global Connections. Princeton, Woodstock: Princeton University Press.

———. 2016. The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Tuana, Nancy. 2008. “Viscous Porosity: Witnessing Katrina.” In Material Feminisms, editedby Stacy Alaimo and Susan Hekman, 188–213. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. https://doi.org/10.2979/reseafrilite.47.2.09.

Weil, Kari. 2010. “A Report on the Animal Turn.” Differences 21 (2): 1–23.

Whatmore, Sarah, and Lorraine Thorne. 2000. “Elephants on the Move: Spatial Formations of Wildlife Exchange.” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 18 (2): 185–203.

White, Hayden. 1971. “The Culture of Criticism.” In Liberations: New Essays on the Humanities in Revolution, edited by Ihab Hassan. Middleton: WEsleyan University Press.

Wood, Lisa J., Billie Giles-Corti, Max K. Bulsara, and Darcy A. Bosch. 2007. “More than a Furry Companion: The Ripple Effect of Companion Animals on Neighborhood Interactions and Sense of Community.” Society and Animals 15 (1): 43–56.

Wylie, J. 2005. “A Single Day’s Walking: Narrating Self and Landscape on the South West Coast Path.” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, New Series 30 (2): 234–47.
Published
2022-03-03
How to Cite
Aalders, J., & Monson, K. (2022). Research with the Moving, the Vivacious Many. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 21(2), 205-225. Retrieved from https://www.acme-journal.org/index.php/acme/article/view/2022