Monthly Archives: May 2014

“artificial selection”

Domestication is a good reminder that the life forms Darwin relied upon, first to glimpse and then to articulate, the theory of evolution were ones subject to “artificial selection.” Pigeons, dogs, cabbages, and horses—all identified as “races” by Darwin—were the … Continue reading

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Domestication

It is hard to get “beyond the human” when we reside in the Anthropocene—that geological age characterized by the massive transformative (and perhaps imperiling) effect humans have had on the planet. An urge impelling much multispecies work is to somehow … Continue reading

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Species in the news

When and why do species make the news? Reporters cover all kinds of stories about humans, in political, economic, religious, social, or criminal frames and narratives; these are the subjects that have defined news since the genre’s inception. But it … Continue reading

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“Diversity” of humans and nonhumans

The critique of diversity as a discourse of race today is articulated further by Sara Ahmed, who observes “diversity’ is used as an adjective, as a way of describing the organization, a quality, or an attribute of an organization.” She … Continue reading

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What does “diversity” mean?

On a recent frosty morning I found an email in my inbox announcing the formation of a University-wide, “Campus Climate Response Team.” I assumed this was some new “green” initiative or that it had to do with building temperatures (which … Continue reading

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The Social (re)Turn

The history of theorizing the social features a variety of moments when its exclusive assignment to humans was neither assured nor assumed. The intuition or perception of the social was initially glimpsed across the species lines.  One of the founding … Continue reading

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Innovating and imitating nonhumans

In the decades since the idea of nonhuman cultures was broached, the notion has taken hold through recognitions that they also learn and transmit social knowledge. As Andrew Whiten and Kevin Laland et al explain, the presence of “social learning” … Continue reading

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Nonhuman Cultures

Did you know, they have it too, culture? Not everyone does—that is, not all species are social, and the notion of nonhuman culture is not widely shared. But the evidence of cultures “beyond the human” is copious and growing, though … Continue reading

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Are Natives Plants or People?

How is it that “native” identifies both humans and nonhumans? “Indigenous” does this, too. Two key words for thinking about racial identity today both have long careers in referring principally to plants. This capacity and history makes some people nervous, … Continue reading

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