Multispecies Worldbuilding Lab

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ASHLEY DAWSON talks about extreme cities, or urban densities like New York City, where social inequalities and uneven effects of colonial violence and capitalist development are increasingly exacerbated by extreme weather and environmental degradation. He calls on the power of storytelling and the need to collectively imagine different futures. Dawson works across the fields of postcolonial studies, environmental humanities, and climate justice. He is professor of English at CUNY Graduate Center and College of Staten Island, and leads a Climate Action Lab.
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HEATHER DAVIS talks about plastic in the United States, discussing its materiality, geography, and toxic histories. Combining feminist and queer theory with chemistry, geology, history, and art, Davis unpacks the constitution of throwaway culture, petrochemical industries, pvc, feminized male bodies, human endocrine systems, multidisciplinary collaboration, mealworms, and mermaids’ tears (also known as nurdles) in order to think through questions of justice, inheritance, and multispecies kinship.
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JAMES HIGHAM talks about the evolution and ecology of nonhuman primates, as well as the ethics and politics involved in long-term fieldwork with: rhesus and macaques at Cayo Santiago, Puerto Rico, which was wiped out by Hurricane Maria in 2017; and the movements of people and cattle at Gashaka Gumti in Nigeria. He is interested in variation and sexual selection, and the urgent questions around conservation. Higham works across fields of primatology and anthropology. He is professor of Anthropology at New York University where he also leads the Primate Reproductive Ecology and Evolution Group.
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JULIE GUTHMAN talks about strawberries, soil fumigants, pathogenic fungi, farmers, and scientists — a dynamic more-than-human assemblage that has remade California agriculture. Her rigorous and expansive study warns against the technoscientific fix, as well as the challenges of acknowledging that there is no easy way out. Guthman is a geographer and social scientist who has written extensively about California farms. She is professor of Social Sciences at University of California Santa Cruz and a Guggenheim fellow.

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