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Eben Kirksey on "Parasites of Capitalism"

Special Lecture

26.05.2015 at 10:00 

Location: Rachel Carson Center, Leopoldstr. 11a, 4th Floor Conference Room

Parasites of Capitalism

Departing from a failed attempt to speak for another species (the fringe-toed foam frog), this talk considers the diverging values and obligations shaping relationships in multi-species worlds. As people articulated competing visions of nature on the borderlands of Palo Verde, Costa Rica, multiple social and ecological worlds went to war.

The haunting specter of capital joined the fray—animating the movements of cattle, grasses with animal rhizomes, rice seeds, and flighty ducks. Amidst this warfare, the fringe-toed foam frog was just one tenacious parasite, a noisy agent eating at the table of another, which began to flourish in worlds designed with the well-being of others in mind. Cattails, charismatic birds, and a multitude of insects began interrupting human dreams and schemes. Solutions to the problem of living with parasites failed in Palo Verde. Humans and parasites, who became para-selves of one another, maintained an abiding presence in the landscape.

Currently Eben Kirksey is splitting his time between the Environmental Humanities program at UNSW Australia and the Committee for Interdisciplinary Science Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York. Crossing conventional disciplinary divides, Eben has contributed to theoretical conversations in the social sciences, biology, the humanities, and the arts. Eben has already published one book, about human rights and indigenous politics in West Papua, as well as two edited collections charting new horizons in the field of multispecies ethnography. Emergent Ecologies, a book which draws on 21 months of ethnographic field research in Panama and Costa Rica, will be published in November 2015 by Duke University Press.

The lecture will be in English and is free and open to the public.