On matters of being in and out-of-place: A posthumanist reading of solastalgia


Büyüksaraç G.

ATGENDER Conference: Feminist Pedagogy of/beyond Borders, İstanbul, Turkey, 4 - 06 September 2023, pp.66

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: İstanbul
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.66
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes

Abstract

It is not an easy task to unlearn the deeply ingrained anthropocentric Cartesian epistemology, as my teaching experience has taught me over the past few years while incorporating discussions on posthumanism and new materialism into my course syllabi designed for anthropology students. The same applies to the endeavor of 'repopulating social research with nonhuman beings' without succumbing to the temptation of anthropomorphizing them. However, this endeavor is equally rewarding, as it allows us to examine seemingly human-specific phenomena such as semiosis, agency, and affect within posthuman contexts. In this paper, I aim to recontextualize these three phenomena to investigate nonhuman modes of representing and communicating ecological grief and unhomeliness in the Capitaloscene. To achieve this, I engage with the concept of solastalgia, originally coined to describe human suffering arising from the inability to find solace in one's home environment (Albrecht 2006). In doing so, I shift the focus from the human’s pscyhoterratic states, place pathology in particular, to planetary wellbeing and sickness (cf. Boyd, Parr, Philo 2023). Taking up various ecological crises, ranging from slow violence of environmental degradation to seismic events, I explore how (or to what extent) earthly matters, or nonhuman beings, as agents in their own right, participate in the condition of solastalgia. Lastly, I discuss the ethical and political possibilities of accentuating the non/posthuman aspects of ecological grief, while also reflecting on the implications of this discussion for an anthropology in search of “terragraphic” methods (a term to be introduced in the paper) instead of a human-centric ethnography and pedagogy.