A Million Metaphors for Love: Mending Posthuman Heartache in the Anthropocene
AuthorRamsey, Anna Brooks
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIn this research, I investigate multiple entry points for understanding and developing art and visual culture curriculum to respond to the Anthropocene. Informed by posthuman, feminist, and ecological theories, I ask what practices and theory art educators might take up to cultivate emergent artistic practices with students toward responding to the geological, social, and present moment. Organized around integrating visual art into school and community garden sites, this writing includes curriculum theory, a unit design and reflections on implementation and the writing process. Using autoethnographic and visual art methodologies, I attempt to engage the subjective relational space between myself, my psyche, and the phenomenon of teaching, writing, and embodying this curriculum. Through this research, I wanted to know whether co-facilitating with human and non-human members of school gardens would stabilize affective and relational containers of care and stewardship as part of the learning environment. To this end, I found that co-facilitating with place, including the garden, is a stabilizing environment for myself as a teacher, but can also be conducive to perpetuating Western and white narratives of place. Another central theme and finding from this data was the lived experiences of grief. Employing autoethnography (Ellis & Bochner, 2000), I reflected on my teaching through my psyche, body, and emotions. I found and analyzed this data through present moment awareness of my embodied response to the experience of writing and facilitating a four-week art curriculum with middle school girls in their school garden. As an emergent response to this grief, I have therefore organized my writing around the notion of mending posthuman heartache in the Anthropocene. This is a call I believe educators should take seriously. The Anthropocene moment is in so many ways the result of deep disconnection and separation, years of violence against the planet, and against humanity in the forms of colonization, patriarchy, white-supremacy, and capitalism. I hope for this research to contribute to animating art and visual culture education toward affective and critical ecological solutions to the moment we are living in. The implications of this research are not empirical in nature, but rather take up poetic, artistic, and enigmatic qualities of the present to tease out ways of being with, working against, and creatively responding to these times in which we live. To conclude, I believe any practices that cultivate care and affective relationship to place, self, and the other members of our human/non-human communities, such as visual art and gardening practices, can serve as containers and resources for living in the Anthropocene.
Degree ProgramGraduate College