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Re-wilding the Environmental Humanities: A Deep Time Comment
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Archaeological Research Laboratory.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6431-754X
2018 (English)In: Current Swedish Archaeology, ISSN 1102-7355, Vol. 26, p. 50-60Article in journal (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

The reasoning around the Anthropocene starts with a sobering clarification – human agency has not only created high culture, such as buildings, tools or art, by its actions. What are left are also heritages of  species and gender inequalities, scarred landscapes, waste, toxicities, species extinctions, mono-cultures, layers at the beds of oceans, climate and environmental change. This is a mixed heritage (often unlabelled) that is the result of material interferences that change the textures of times, that territorialize futures to come, that shape the spaces and cartographies within which future (multispecies) generations can manoeuvre.

I ask again, with Haraway (2016:100), what measures need to be taken to make the Anthropocene as thin as possible? What are the means with which the humanities, however loosely formed, can contribute with towards that end? Here I share the visions of Riede, but find the paper somewhat limiting. Does the present predicament not demand of us a more undisciplined academic encounter – and a rewilding of the humanities – to form these transversal modes of querying past, present, futures? Does it not need a lot of creativity to find a range of engagements, knowledges and inspirations to work elsewise? What interests me is how to expand on scientifically informed multi-species storytelling, with a base in archaeological materials that deals with how to tie human-animal knots and temporal relations in other ways. There are other ways to relate to and be related to by the environment (see Fredengren, this volume). For such it is very premature to set boundaries for what archaeology may bring to the Environmental Humanities table, as both subjects are on the move. 

Likewise, I ask how heritage is captured as time elements, in presentisms, in merges of materialities and meaning, in troubled bodies, in how to deal with anthropocentrism in heritage making, how to capture heritages as process ontologies as human-animal relations (Fredengren 2015, 2018). I also ask what modes and models of stewardship (who cares for whom, according to what ethic and on what mandate) come with the heritage business? I am curious about people’s relationships with the more-than-human, with things, place and spaces, and with care and curatorship in a wider sense. However, I do not envisage the meeting between environmental humanities and archaeology to be limited to these matters, but to be developed through various creative and affirmative encounters. 

And then I ask … for what causes do we do this? Is it to establish subject boundaries and to carve up academic terrain, or for forming new types of unexpected collaborations? And perhaps, at the end of the day … as many of us would say, don’t we do it … for the love of the world?

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 26, p. 50-60
Keywords [en]
heritage, deep time, environmental humanities, anthropocene, archaeology, queer temporalities, deep time interventions
National Category
History and Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-176022OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-176022DiVA, id: diva2:1370660
Available from: 2019-11-16 Created: 2019-11-16 Last updated: 2019-11-19Bibliographically approved

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