CfP, Ecocide/Speciesism: Legislating Hierarchy, Interdependence, Death
(independent online symposium)
This project brings together researchers, activists and artists to discuss how we conceptualize hierarchies between different forms of life, their interdependence, as well as death, dying, and killing. The symposium was initiated in spring 2021; we had four panels in fall 2021 and we are continuing with new panels through fall and winter 2022.
The once oak trunk now your coffee table; the once bouncy calf now your steak; the once mink mother now your fur coat; the anchovy tribe now your omega-3 supplement. Our lives consist of corpses. Speciesism, a form of discrimination, manifests as violence against “inferior” nonhumans. Our speciesist beliefs, habits, industries and institutions are currently driving ecocides around the world. Just like racism, sexism, or colonialism, speciesism renders certain lives inferior, thus suited for discrimination and subjugation.
Jurisprudence is crucial to the environmental crisis: the law is shaped by what we consider normal and it determines what we normalize. The norm now remains the massive killing, torture, exploitation of nonhumans for the benefit of humans. The myth of independence and autonomy pervasive in Western liberal democracies has supplanted the awareness of inevitable (inter)dependence. Our ideal unity as co-guardians of our common home collides with the hierarchization of needs, rights and bodies, driven by speciesist logics. The life of some rests on the death of many and laws condone it.
• What are the conscious, unconscious, subconscious factors skewing the way we ascribe worth to different forms of life?
• How are speciesist beliefs driving the rights–duties dialectic embedded in our laws and institutions?
• How can we conceptualize the aggregate, intergenerational damage, to humans and to nature, of the violence normalized against some forms of life to the benefit of others?
• How are death, dying, and killing experienced by nonhumans?
• Why has the neoliberal ethos rendered interdependence (in both life/prosperity and death/downfall) marginal to individual beliefs and to state responsibilities?
• What are the synergies between ecocide and genocide?
• What would critical earth jurisprudence look like?
• Research (environmental law, animal law, criminal law, critical legal theory, green criminology, environmental ethics, ecopsychology, conservation psychology, animal thanatology, extinction studies).
• Artwork (poetry, flash fiction, sound & video art, electronic/acoustic composition, dance, documentary film, photography, collage, painting, drawing).
• Activism (projects exposing & countering environmental harms).
We will have Zoom panels of 100 to 120 min each: 3/4 x 20 min presentations + 40 min discussion.
If you wish to present your work, please send a 200/250-word proposal and 100/150-word bio to symposium convener Rimona Afana: firstname.lastname@example.org
For fall panels, ideally submit your proposal by 15 August. For winter panels, submit by 15 October. Participation and attendance are free.
More details on: www.facebook.com/ecocide.speciesism
Dr. Rimona Afana
Visiting Scholar, Emory University School of Law
Assistant Professor of Peace Studies, Kennesaw State University