Exiled from Paradise: The Environmental Costs of Work

Deadline: August 29, 2018
Contact: Ryan Hediger
Email: rhediger@kent.edu

I’m looking for one or more panelists to join my proposal for ASLE 2019 in Davis. Please email me, Ryan Hediger, at rhediger@kent.edu if you’re interested. Here is a draft of the proposal:

Exiled from Paradise: The Environmental Costs of Work

When the proto-humans Adam and Eve are exiled from the Garden of Eden for their curiosity, for their eating of the fruit of knowledge, they are specifically punished with work (among other things), cursed to “eat bread” from the “sweat of thy face” (Genesis 3:19). While other origin stories in the Torah have come under scrutiny in environmental circles, this justification for our regimes of labor continues to operate as a kind of naturalized myth. Who doesn’t believe in hard work? Work has long been and remains today an extraordinarily powerful way of organizing human and nonhuman actions. More specifically, this logic of work has been crucial to the ongoing transformations of planet earth and its inhabitants, not least ourselves, as Bonneuil and Fressoz demonstrate in The Shock of the Anthropocene. As such, rethinking the theories and practices of work has the potential to significantly pivot the way humans and nonhumans live on the planet.

This panel interrogates the norms around work and its binary opposite, leisure. Papers might:

· revisit historical and environmental questions centered on labor and leisure;

· investigate the logic and practice of labor and leisure in specific texts, sets of texts, national traditions, and so on;

· investigate specific forms of harm done to ecologies and human lives by regimes of labor, including not only the most obvious ones like extraction or carbon, but other regimes as well;

· compare cultural differences in thinking about labor and leisure at any temporality or scale—national, continental, global;

· investigate the environmental consequences of alternative practices of labor, including such ideas as universal income;

· investigate the environmental consequences of leisure practices, which can sometimes be as ecologically expensive—or more ecologically expensive—than labor practices;

· investigate modes of creating a culture of leisure that helps to heal the environment.

As noted in ASLE’s call for papers, this panel could take shape in a variety of ways: as traditional talks (up to four); as a roundtable (as many as six presentations more focused on producing dialog); or a jam session (including as many as eight participants in one of many possible formats). Please let me know if you have a preference about format. Email Ryan Hediger at rhediger@kent.edu.

Posted on August 26, 2018