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Stone Walks : inhuman animacies and queer archives of feeling

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Stone Walks : inhuman animacies and queer archives of feeling

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Excavating what Jeffrey Cohen [2015. Stone: An ecology of the inhuman. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press] calls ‘lithic ecomateriality’, in this paper we illustrate how rocks have traditionally been conceptualized through three tropes: rocks as insensate; rocks as personified; and rocks as transformative. We take up the concept of inhuman to challenge human-centric taxonomies of rocks and animacy. If rocks are not lifeless, or only considered as ‘resources’ or ‘threats’, to humans, then thinking with rocks as vital extends our ethical and political response. In the final section of the paper, we consider archives, not as a logical form of organizing knowledge, but as material, vital, and affective. We argue that when stones and archives are examined as something more than stable things – as interfactual, transcorporeal, and transmaterial co-compositions – different ethical relatings to the inhuman world become possible.
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Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education
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Stone Walks: inhuman animacies and queer
archives of feeling
Stephanie Springgay & Sarah E. Truman
To cite this article: Stephanie Springgay & Sarah E. Truman (2017) Stone Walks: inhuman
animacies and queer archives of feeling, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education,
38:6, 851-863, DOI: 10.1080/01596306.2016.1226777
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01596306.2016.1226777
Published online: 08 Sep 2016.
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Stone Walks: inhuman animacies and queer archives of feeling
Stephanie Springgay and Sarah E. Truman
Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
ABSTRACT
Excavating what Jeffrey Cohen [2015. Stone: An ecology of the
inhuman. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press] calls lithic
ecomateriality, in this paper we illustrate how rocks have
traditionally been conceptualized through three tropes: rocks as
insensate; rocks as personified; and rocks as transformative. We
take up the concept of inhuman to challenge human-centric
taxonomies of rocks and animacy. If rocks are not lifeless, or only
considered as resourcesor threats, to humans, then thinking
with rocks as vital extends our ethical and political response. In
the final section of the paper, we consider archives, not as a
logical form of organizing knowledge, but as material, vital, and
affective. We argue that when stones and archives are examined
as something more than stable things as interfactual,
transcorporeal, and transmaterial co-compositions different
ethical relatings to the inhuman world become possible.
KEYWORDS
Walking methodologies;
inhuman; animacy;
transmateriality; archives;
ethics
Stone Walks
Excavating what Cohen (2015) calls lithic ecomateriality,Stone Walks navigate rocky topo-
graphies in Canada, Wales, and Australia such as the Precambrian Canadian Shield on the
shores of Georgian Bay, Ontario (see walkinglab.org). Stone Walks do not have a predeter-
mined trajectory. We walk, and while we walk we might activate one or more of these
propositions: read theory aloud, takes notes and/or write, talk, sit, take photographs,
and use wool to felt small rocks found near the shore. Sometimes we walk three feet
and sometimes kilometres. Distance, pace, endurance, and route are not predetermined
or known in advance. Stone Walks are a propositional practice (Truman & Springgay,
2016). This practice embodies what Stengers (2005) calls a politics of slowness. For Sten-
gers, slow is not a measure or a speed, but creates a space for hesitation and resistance,
which produce new modes of relating. Slowness is speculative. Slowness asks questions
about what might happen if we could learn with the world, rather than about it. Stone
Walks are experimental. They refuse a framing of pedagogy as an exclusively human
activity, and insist on entangled relations between humans and non-humans. Stone
Walks become an assemblage of bodies, rocks, walking, talking, reading, and theory, all
of which are animate material forces that act on each other frictionally.
Friction is a force that acts in the opposite direction to movement. It slows movement,
resist[s] the consensual way in which the situation is presented(Stengers, 2005, p. 994).
© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
CONTACT Stephanie Springgay stephanie.springgay@utoronto.ca
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Friction exists every time bodies come into contact with each other, like different strata
grinding against one another. Writing about the intersection between assemblage
theory and intersectionality, Puar (2012) argues that the convergence of the two theoreti-
cal frameworks is neither reconcilable, nor oppositional, but frictional. Puar (2007) argues
that theoretical concepts need not be united or synthesized, but that they can be pro-
ductive to hold concepts together in tension. Similarly, Tuana (2008) contends that fluidity
and flows overlook sites of resistance and oppositionwhile viscosity retains an emphasis
on resistance to changing form(p. 194). The viscosity of a liquid is a measure of its resist-
ance to tension. For liquids we often think of viscosity in terms of thickness. Tuana intro-
duces the idea of viscous porosityemphasizing that thickness is not impenetrable or
immutable, but something that undergoes change in and through friction (p. 188).
Stone Walks as frictional counter the pastoral and convivial nature that typify humanist
approaches to walking. Existing scholarship on walking methodologies understand the
human walker as the animate agent on a walk (Springgay & Truman, in press). In this
paper, we focus on the frictional animacy of rocks, which have been conceptualized in
Western philosophy as inanimate, in order to rupture taxonomic structures that privilege
some forms of knowledge and life more than others.
The first section of the paper introduces the location of the Canadian Shield where we
often walk. In the next section we illustrate how rocks have traditionally been conceptu-
alized through three tropes: rocks as insensate; rocks as personified; and rocks as transfor-
mative. We take up the concept of the inhuman to challenge human-centric taxonomies of
rocks and animacy. Shifting from an anthropocentric framework, where rocks are always
considered for their use value whether in making tools, art, or in terms of larger geopo-
litical exploitation like fracking and mining examining the vitality of rocks requires that
we attend to rocksability to move, quiver, and reproduce. If rocks are not lifeless, or only
considered as resourcesor threatsto humans, then thinking with rocks as vital extends
our ethical and political response. In the final section of the paper, we consider archives,
not as a logical form of organizing knowledge, but as material, vital, and affective.
Systems of classification proliferate in the Anthropocene as taxonomies of knowledge,
bodies, animacy, and the senses. In each instance, value is ascribed to that which is most
human. If rocks, as we speculate, are fully animate, affective, quivering, and reproductive,
then what we know or what we assume about such taxonomies must unravel. If matter is
not immutable or passive, but agential and vital then we need, as Alaimo (2010) contends,
more potent, more complex understandings of materiality(p. 2). We argue that when
stones and archives are examined as something more than stable things as interfactual,
transcorporeal, and transmaterial co-compositions different ethical relatings to the
inhuman world become possible.
The Canadian Shield: thinking-in-movement
To walk with stone is intensely to inhabit that preposition with, to move from solitary indi-
viduations to ecosystems, environments, shared agencies, and companionate properties
(Cohen, 2015, p. 11, emphasis in original).
Walking on rocks in the Canadian Shield, along stony creek beds and, climbing up
craggy rock faces is frictional. To walk on rocks is difficult. They are uneven, we have to
scale steep rock walls, their surfaces can be slippery. Stone Walks engage with the intimacy
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of crevices, of moss-covered mounds, and jagged faces. The rocks we walk are familiar to
us. Sarah had her first bath in a rocky crater when she was two weeks old. Stephanie
paddled and portaged across their barren and wind-blown surfaces every summer as a
child. These rocks hold meaning. But slowness requires we let go of such longings and
walk differently.
As opposed to thinking about rocks, slowness requires a thinking-in-movement. Think-
ing about rocks investigates how we as humans encounter rocks what they look like, how
they make us feel, the kinds of experiences they materialize. This mode of knowing puts
the human at the centre of experience. Using thick description, researchers capture and
represent the different ways that humans know rocks. Conversely, Stone Walks engender
a thinking-in-movement (Springgay & Truman, in press). This thinking-in-movement
becomes a field of variations in which to experiment with the questions of how felt differ-
ence might register in thinking(McCormack, 2013, p. 11). Thinking-in-movement infers
that we become open to stimuli we cannot represent. This shifts how we write about
Stone Walks. For instance, we could easily describe the rocks rippling across the island,
ribbons of grey black granite folded beneath puddles of water. We could describe how
our bare feet fall on the uneven surface that is warm from the midsummer heat. But to
do so would simply be to describe the rocks from our human perspective, to conform
to human modes of subjectivity. The reverse risks anthropomorphizing rocks.
Thinking-in-movement demands a different proposition. Manning (2016) notes that
methods insist that knowledge can become decipherable. She argues that the unquantifi-
able within experience can only be taken into account if we begin with a mode of inquiry
that refutes initial categorization(p. 5). In the case of our Stone Walks, to describe the
walks in discursive terms, not only disavows their material vitality, it results in stultifying
its potential and relegating it to that which already fits within pre-existing schemata of
knowledge(Manning, 2016, p. 5). Thinking-in-movement resists narrative descriptions
of our rocky encounters. Likewise, it refuses tidy accounts of where and how we
walked. Walking with stone, returning to Georgian Bay, demands that we think not
about what the rocks mean to us, nor the memories they hold, but what vital and affective
qualities are co-composed. For Manning (2016), this is a thinking in the act It is an inci-
pient activity that summons intensities toward a coming-to-expression, a thinking directly
imbued with rhythm, with feeling(p. 24). Thinking-in-movement is often incomprehensi-
ble in language, alive only in its rhythms, in its hesitations, in its stuttering(p. 24). Think-
ing-in-movement as a practice of slowness means that on a Stone Walk affect passes
between the various bodies (human and non-human) and forces us to thought. It was
on one such walk that we started speculating on rocks as animate, as archives of affect,
and what thinking otherwise about materialities, vitality, and worlding might mean for
pedagogy.
The Canadian Shield is an exposed portion of Precambrian igneous and metamorphic
rocks that underlies more than half of Canada, from The Great Lakes to the Arctic Ocean
(and extends south to some parts of upper USA). The Shield is comprised of mountains
that were once more than 12,000 feet tall taller than the Himalayas that grew out of
plate tectonic collisions more than 3 million years ago. As the mountains eroded, their
mountainous roots rose and eroded in turn. The rocks now visible as The Canadian
Shield were once far below the Earths surface. Eroded, collided, and grinded down for
500 million years it remains the oldest part of North America, comprised of some of the
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oldest rocks on earth, and some of the oldest (now extinct) volcanoes on earth. The Shield
is rich in mineral deposits including gold, silver, nickel, copper, and iron ore. During colo-
nial invasion of Canada and the ensuing construction of the Canadian National Railway the
only way to build on the Shield was to blast through it, revealing its mineral inheritance.
Mining ensued. The Shield is also rich in coniferous forests and covered with lakes and
rivers, and consequently used for many large-scale forestry operations and hydroelectric
developments. The trees grow sideways along Georgian Bays Eastern shore, clutching
to the rocks, moulded by the prevailing west wind. Thirty thousand islands, some only a
few feet across, dot their way between Honey Harbor and Killarney, Ontario. It is a roman-
ticized landscape of colonial dreams. Many painters have tried to capture the colour and
contours of Georgian Bay, many boaters have tried to conquer the waves, and many boats
have crashed on the million rocks hiding just beneath the surface. It is portrayed as an
unforgiving landscape, sunburnt, wind-blown, with poor topsoil. For all of its rugged
weariness, the myth of the Canadian Shield is one of timelessness. It is memorialized as
unchanging, pristine, untapped, and unfaltering typified in the paintings by the Group
of Seven (Figure 1).
Taxonomies of rocks
In western anthropocentric thinking, rocks have been positioned through three different
tropes. These include: rocks as insensate; rocks as personified; and rocks as transformative.
In all three tropes rocks are situated in relation to humans through their use value. In each
case it is about what rocks can or cannot do for humans.
Rocks as insensate appear to stem from the Aristotelian taxonomy of animacy, which
excludes stones in the hierarchy of animate things. According to Aristotle, things that
Figure 1. Moon Bay with canoe, Georgian Bay (Photo by Sarah E. Truman).
854 S. SPRINGGAY AND S. E. TRUMAN
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eat, reproduce, and grow, can possess a soul. Humans and then animals and then veg-
etables possess souls and are therefore alive, while stones do not and are therefore
excluded from the hierarchical chain. Along with not being alive, rocks were also not con-
sidered dead, because to be dead assumed the capacity for life. As inert, rocks were insen-
sate, which according to Chen (2012) is an ontological dismissal(p. 4) of their vitality.
In contrast, rocks are often personified as stoic, wise, and commanding, thereby adopt-
ing values associated with the privileging of certain bodies over others. For example, in
yoga the pose Tadasana (mountain pose), the practitioner assumes the state of a moun-
tain as they have been personified eternal, strong, and monumental. The phrase solid as
a rockis similarly used to describe certain qualities in humans most valued.
In the third trope, rocks like the Philosophers Stone, which has the transformative
capacity to turn base metals into gold (a substance valued by humans) appears to
suggest animacy and agency but always serves and benefits humans. In all three
tropes, we argue, rocks are rendered as a resource for recreation, consumption, and
exploitation(Cohen, 2015, p. 9).
Like these common tropes of stones, animacy itself, according to Chen (2012) has been
construed with the logic of the human. Linguistically animacy refers to the quality of live-
ness, sentience, or humanness of a noun or a noun phrase(p. 24). At the top of the
animacy schema are individual, heteronormative, male able bodies, with intact capacities.
As you move down the schema, as bodies and things become less agentic, they become
less animate. Race and gender, for example, fall at the lower end of the animacy taxonomy.
This taxonomy, Chen (2012) argues, is a contributing factor in dehumanization, where
qualities valued as humanare removed. The senses are similarly connected to this
animacy taxonomy. The base senses like touch, taste, and smell have been historically
understood as attached to certain bodies, particularly those which are deemed less
than human, such as women, children, and racialized Others (Springgay, 2008). The taxon-
omy of affect, or what Ahmed (2004) calls the economies of affectwork to regulate and
dehumanize particular inhuman bodies. Systems of classification operate similarly in edu-
cation, where what counts as knowledge is governed by hegemonic values associated
with the human (Snaza & Weaver, 2015).
If the human is conceptualized as fully animate, changing, reproductive, and digestive
then rocks signal its opposite the inhuman. Recent scholarship in queer theory has pro-
blematized the concept of the inhuman. Rather than view the inhuman as the opposite
of the human, the inhuman becomes a process by which human and non-human fric-
tionally come together. In fact, Luciano and Chen (2015) find problematic the ways in
which posthumanism melts the boundaries between human and non-human as an
easy flow that is unobstructed. They posit the inhuman as a method of thinking other-
wise, of thinking about the tensions, frictions, and viscous porosity of the human/non-
human relation. They draw on the work of Edelman (2004) and Grosz (2011) who
argue that enlivening the inhuman with animacy is not about demanding recognition
into the category of human, but issues from the proliferation of difference(Luciano &
Chen, 2015, p. 187). Rather than simply demand that the inhuman be assimilated into
the category of the human, a practice that Luciano and Chen (2015) argue is a politics
of rehabilitation and inclusion, queer scholars are problematizing the ways in which we
consider inside and outside, and how when we create such distinctions something is
always left out.
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Recognizing the important work by queer scholars that rupture and challenge ontologi-
cal flattening, we make the rather perilous leap to rocks as inhuman others. We borrow the
concept inhuman here for the ways that rocks have been dismissed from discussions of
animacy in order to consider rocks from within. Here we draw on Cohens (2015) work
on stones, which takes up the notion of the inhumanby emphasizing both difference
and intimacy. Inas a negative prefix presumes difference from something. It assumes a
negative, or inept capacity. Likewise, in, he argues, describes being within something,
a touching intimacy, or an estranged interiority(p. 10). Rocks, as we have noted above,
have always been considered inhuman. However, in what follows, we demonstrate
through theories of vital materialism stones inhuman animacy. We hold the term
inhuman frictionally. The inhuman does not sit easily as a term. It is abrasive and antagon-
istic. As a frictional account of animacy, the inhuman considers rocks as intimate relatings,
while not erasing how rocks figure into inhumane ecological practices such as fracking and
mining. Thinking the inhuman demands a form of responsibility, in which both the envi-
sioning of an animate and different world is situated within specific material and bodily
contexts (Figure 2).
Inhuman animacy
Excavating a lithic ecomateriality, we consider rocks from the perspective of inhuman
animacy. For DeLanda (1997) all spheres of reality, including geology, possess virtual mor-
phogenetic capabilities and potentialities(n.p.). Deleuze and Guattaris (1987) writing on
pure immanencehelps us to think about this vitality. Pure immanence is matter-move-
mentor matter-energynot applied externally to a body or object but comes from within
Figure 2. Stone Walk with human, ODonnell Point, Georgian Bay (Photo by Sarah E. Truman).
856 S. SPRINGGAY AND S. E. TRUMAN
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(Deleuze & Guattari, 1987, p. 407). This is important because rather than thinking about
rocks as lively because of human imbued characteristics such as a soul, rocks are
animate because matter-movement exists in all things.
The Canadian Shield, for example, is composed of igneous and metamorphic rock.
Igneous rocks form when magma cools and crystallizes into rocks. Sedimentary rocks
are born from millions of years of pressure on sediment or other materials deposited on
the earths surface. While metamorphic rocks form through chemical transformations
resulting from heat and pressure acting on Igneous or Sedimentary rocks, producing a
new kind of rock. The Canadian Shield like all rocks is comprised of mineral metals. All
rock is composed of two or more minerals. For Deleuze and Guattari (1987) metal is a
symbol of vitality par excellence. It is metal that best reveals [a] quivering effervescence;
it is metal, bursting with a life, that gives rise to the prodigious idea of Nonorganic Life”’
(Bennett, 2010, p. 55). Metals, for Deleuze and Guattari, express the notion of pure imma-
nence. For example, Deleuze and Guattari (1987) argue that material vitalism is rendered
unrecognizablebecause of the hylomorphic model (p. 411). The hylomorphic model
assumes that form is given to materials externally. But Deleuze and Guattari, in their dis-
cussion on metal and metallurgy, insist that what metal bring[s] to light is a life proper to
matter, a vital state of matter as such, a material vitalism that exists everywhere(p. 411).
Matter-energy does not come from something external to rocks, but is in’–recalling the
inof difference and intimacy in inhuman.
Metals, like most inorganic substances are polycrystalline, which means they consist of
crystal grains whose atoms hold together in regular arrays. Yet, according to Bennett
(2010) there are always imperfections in the arrays,
notably the presence of loose atoms at the interfacesof the grains. These atoms belong
to none of the grains, and they render the boundaries of each grain porous and quivering.
(p. 59, Italics added)
Consider the iron ore and component metals of the Canadian Shield quivering. Some of
the oldest, seemingly static rocks on our planet quiver. The quivering is not simply a move-
ment from one point to another, as in the example of a rock sliding down a hill, but is
internal to itself, immanent, in and of intensities. Key to matter-movement is the imper-
ceptibility of such quivering intensities.
Rocks as inhuman animacy are inherently lively, and unfold through heterogenous
assemblages of intensities. As Bennett (2010) so aptly states: In this strange, vital materi-
alism, there is no point of pure stillness, no indivisible atom that is not itself aquiver with
virtual force(p. 57). Stones are only inert when considered anthropocentrically. Bennett
notes that things like iron chairs are perceived as immobile only because their becoming
proceeds at a speed or a level below the threshold of human discernment(p. 58). This is a
matter of scale.
To think about stones animacy is to think molecularly, to think about how stone under-
mines stable and rigid categories. Metals heterogeneous assemblages act as catalysts for
other chemical combinations. According to DeLanda (1997), a key idea is to think of
metals as being the most powerful catalysts on the planet(n.p.). A catalyst is a substance
which can accelerate or decelerate a chemical reaction without being changed itself it
incites change but is not consumed by the change. For Deleuze and Guattari (1987),
Metal is the conductor of all matter(p. 411). Deleuze and Guattari conceive of metal as
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a kind of probe-head, matter-energy, catalysing reactions in other substances, giving birth
to novel entities through a material vitalism:
metal is coextensive to the whole of matter, and the whole of matter to metallurgy. Even
the waters, the grasses and varieties of wood, the animals are populated by salts or mineral
elements. Not everything is metal, but metal is everywhere The machinic phylum is metal-
lurgical, or at least has a metallic head, as its itinerant probe-head or guidance device. (p. 411)
The machinic phylum is a form of reproduction that is heterogenous and queer. Cohen
(2015), drawing on the work of Caillois (1985), asks: What if propulsive assemblage-
making and its ecological effects are not limited to biological bodies? What if the alluring
intensity of materiality is itself erotic(p. 238)? Stones inhuman animacy does not mimic
human reproduction but incites and queers lithic desire.
Igneous rocks are shaped by petrogenesis, for example, clay and water mix to form
stone, and they in turn proliferate and intensify relations. This queer sort of reproduction,
one that is quivering and intense, invokes a different understanding of scale that is not
human-centric. Lithic ecomateriality is not reducible to human scales or even human
time. Stones inhuman animacy lies in the fact that its rate of change, its queer reproduc-
tion, its indifference and intimacy are slow or imperceptible compared to how humans
perceive chronological time, scale, and space. Bennett (2010), citing Deleuze and Guattari
(1987), notes that this kind of queer reproduction propels itself through a series of hetero-
geneous transformations, which are not moving from one fixed point to another, but a
tumbling of continuous variations with fuzzy borders(2010, p. 59). This tumbling is not,
as in our example above, a rock sliding down a hill, but in, an involution.
The question of why consider rocks as inhuman animacies is important, we argue, for
the ways that it unhinges the concept of affect from the human. Affect is not specific to
humans or other living organisms. Inhuman animacy pushes the idea of liveliness, a world-
ing, to an interstitial field of non-personal, ahuman forces, flows, tendencies, and trajec-
tories(Bennett, 2010, p. 61) that we argue, are frictional. Inhuman animacy compels us
to consider affect as that which forces us to thought. According to Deleuze, affects are
not things, but are created through encounters. Affect is the virtual co-presence of
potentials(Massumi, cited in Zournazi, 2002, p. 213). A lithic ecomateriality opens archives
another taxonomic system to affect, which in turn demands that we reconsider ques-
tions of responsibility and relatings. This is an ethics, as Bennett (2010) notes, which recog-
nizes the shimmering, potentially violent vitality intrinsic to matter(p. 61). Affective force
demands an expanded political ecology, wherein we do not live on the earth, or learn
about it, but with it (p. 11) (Figure 3).
Queer archives of feeling
Queer has been used variously to denote the unsettling of norms, to call attention to how
sexuality, gender, and race are constituted and regulated by hierarchies of humanness
(Luciano & Chen, 2015). Sedgwick (2003) uses the idea of queer performativityas a pro-
duction of meaning making, specifically related to shame, while Braidotti (2013) and
Haraway (1988) take up the notion of making strange and the monstrous as practices
of queering, or rupturing privilege. Queer ecocriticism has been used to challenge the
nature/culture binary, and to think queer as complex system of interdependence
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between humans and non-humans. In thinking about queer lithic reproduction and queer
archives, however, we turn to Luciano and Chen (2015) who state that the figure of the
queer/trans body does not merely unsettle the human as norm; it generates other possi-
bilities multiple, cyborgian, spectral, transcorporeal, transmaterial for living(p. 187).
This, we contend, responds to Edelmans (2004) appeal that rather than enlarge the
spectre of the human, to include those often positioned outside of its boundaries, we
need to reconsider what the inhuman might do for thinking difference otherwise. It is
difference that Grosz (2011) argues is of pressing importance in re-thinking the
inhuman. Inhuman difference, she writes, stretches, transforms, and opens up any identity
to its provisional vicissitudes, its shimmering self-variations that enable it to become other
than what it is(p. 91). For Grosz, inhuman difference ruptures the need for taxonomies
(which are grounded in an understanding of difference from), and rather insists that we
think with Deleuzes thought; difference in itself, difference as a process which produces
itself(p. 92). Stones inhuman animacy then, is immanent, infolded, and intimate.
Traditionally archives have been organized and ordered according to strict rules.
Archival arrangement guidelines preserve the original order of documents as they are
received into the archive. An archive, composed of a web of records, is understood as
autonomous and separate from the archivist and the archival institution, and thus
interpretation or textuality does not feature as part of an archive. While archives are
not always written documents, whatever material composes an archive is typically struc-
tured linearly around canonical events, it is closed and limited, fulfils a scientific need,
and its value is determined by normative historical or research truths. The archive is a
place of order ruled by inert, naturalized, and detached values that relegates feelings
and experiences that that cannot be documented easily to oblivion (Danbolt, Rowley,
& Wolthers, 2009).
Figure 3. Rippling Rocks, Georgian Bay (Photo by Sarah E. Truman).
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In Archive Fever, Derrida (1995) notes that the term archive derives from arkheion:a
house, a domicile, an address, the residence of superior magistrates, the archons, those
who commanded(p. 2). While an archive represents a physical (or virtual) space that
houses objectivedocumentation of past events, it also has inherent within the name
the notion of authority regarding who can archive, who has access to the archive, and
who can interpret the archive. Much qualitative research remains framed within our cul-
tural habituation to the logic of the archive, yet as Derrida shows, there are aporias in archi-
val logic, the first being as Derrida states ‘… what is archivable that is, the content of
what has to be archived is changed by the technology(Derrida, 2002, p. 46) and archivi-
zation produces as much as it records the event(Derrida, 1995, p. 17). Derrida (1995) high-
lights the aporetic process of documentation by describing how through using archival
procedures we seek to preserve an object or experience by removing it from circulation,
seek to legitimize an event by naming and recording it, seek to forget an event through
remembering it in another form, and seek to seal the meaning of something that can
never be closed.
Similar to his readings of linguistic or cultural texts, Derrida shows that although a
version of archival logic is predominant in our culture, its own logic is flawed: The archivist
always produces more archive, and that is why the archive is never closed. It opens out to
the future …’ instead of sealing meaning, archival procedures produce more meanings
(1995, p. 45). Similar discussions about the failure of the archives logic exist in perform-
ance studies. For example, Schneider (2011) challenges the Western logic of documen-
tation and asks researchers to investigate how performances or embodied experiences
although vanishing in some ways also remain differently, perhaps corporeally or affec-
tively in body-to-body transmission(pp. 9899). Schneider critiques the phallocentric
insistence …’that if performed practices are ‘… not visible, given to documentation
or sonic recording, or otherwise housable within an archive, they are lost (p. 101). Schnei-
der ponders whether our understanding of the uncapturability of events is predetermined
by our cultural habituation to the logic of the archive?(p. 98, italics added).
Further to this, Cvetkovich (2003) proposes a queer archival practice that does not
follow the same principles of selection and inclusion as traditional archives, whose
value is defined according to historical or research interests, and which are devoid of
affect and emotion. A queer archive of feelings: resists coherence in favour of fragmenta-
tion; it follows an archiving practice that is illogical where documents represent far more
than the literal value of the objects themselves; and are composed of material practices
that challenge traditional conceptions of history and understand the quest for history
as a psychic need rather than a science(p. 268). Although the materials and documents
that constitute a traditional archive or a queer archive can be similar, a queer archive of
feeling does not fulfil an institutional or official function. A queer archive of feeling is a
form of counter-knowledge production, as a dynamic that unlocks, or liberates the
archive. As an archive it is not rooted in a fixed notion of a past but rather a futurity
and urgency, shifting between fields of destruction, subversion, and regeneration. A
queer archive of feeling seeks to share the affective tone of a process or event rather
than relay strict chronologies or typologies of identification. The affective tone of an
event outlives the event. This shifts the function of the archive. Rather than an archive
encapsulating what happened, the archive creates invitations to re-activate the events
core propositions. As we have noted, rocks are typically perceived as inert and enduring.
860 S. SPRINGGAY AND S. E. TRUMAN
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They are often seen as an archive of the earths history. However, geologists refer to the
rock record which is not a chronological representation of geologic strata and histories.
Because rocks erode, melt, collapse, and invert, the parts of rocks that we encounter are
productions of difference. They are always immanent. Thus, rocks, we argue, queer
archives.
The queer archive of feeling assembles images, text and other matter through incongru-
ous anachronistic affect. Rather than a repository, a queer archive of feeling is a prop-
ositional practice, in which newness is created, from within itself. As queer archives of
feeling, Stone Walks demand that we not think about what we can take from or collect
of stones, or how we feel about stones, but rather to think in relation to their affective
force, their quivering vitality. Affect, writes, Manning (2013) never locates itself in the indi-
vidual body(p. 28). Pressing foot to jagged rock, hand to slimy moss-covered stone is a
machinic conjunction that propels, it create[s] openings, intervals, fluxes of potential
relations. They propose, they risk, they move(p. 52). The affective force of rocks is not
empathetic, it is not of the individual, or of the human. Inhuman animacy might very
well be, as Deleuze (1990) claims where solutions are engendered at precisely the
same time that the problem determines itself(p. 121).
Stone Walks as a queer archives of feeling engender an ethics that is not human-
centred. It is an ethics that is accountable to a material world that is never merely an exter-
nal place but always the very substance of ourselves and others(Alaimo, 2010, p. 158).
Cohen (2015) wonders if queer ecologies rupture the distinction between nature/
culture and human/non-human, wherein we conceive of an inhuman ethics that includes
stone. This is an ethics that breaches ontological solitudes, defying exclusive taxonomies,
undermining closed systems(p. 228). Manning (2013) issues similar concerns about
responsibility in the face of the event asking how to conceive of relations of force over
and above a power structure that puts the individual at the centre(p. 69)? Inhuman
animacy demands that a response not be directed from a human or to humans, which
Manning contends is bound up in human-centric considerations of empathy and generos-
ity, that maintain the other as victim or perpetrator, keeping the strata rigid(p. 72).
Writing about affect, Colebrook (2011) has noted that a problem facing the anthropo-
cene is not a lack of affect, but rather that humans are consumed by it. We are saturated
with affect from popular culture, to catastrophic acts of terror, to destructive environ-
mental disasters we are compelled by the sheer force of affect. Yet, this affect, she
argues, is problematic in that it has been consumed by a rhetoric of affections or emotions.
In the face of fracking, mining, and earthquakes, stones affect is organized according to
how the world faces annihilation as it is felt out there. This out there is experienced
by bodies but it is not inus, in difference, and intimacy (Springgay, 2016). Colebrook
states:
As long as everything is organized according to consumption and production (in terms of the
digits of the private organism) the potential for forces to be produced such as affects will
always be grounded upon affections As long as affects are confused with affections, or
feelings of the lived body, then nothing will ever be felt; the body will only re-live itself.
(2011, p. 81)
Stone Walks as queer archives of feeling counter this by attending not to organized units
and feelings, not to the lived body, but to the quantities and relations of forces from which
DISCOURSE: STUDIES IN THE CULTURAL POLITICS OF EDUCATION 861
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identiable bodies and sentiments emerge(Colebrook, 2011, p. 82). Affect has to do with
the inhumans capacity to create circuits of force that rupture and shatter human emotive
captures. Affect is not something already lived and actualized but is intensive, creating
new relations and lines of thought, opening different mappings or potentials among
what is, what is lived, and what might be thought(p. 83).
Stone Walks as speculative propositions require that we learn with the world rather than
about it. The inof inhuman, intimacy, and in difference is opposed to an approach to
learning that is structured by taxonomies that will always, no matter how exhaustive,
exclude some forms of knowledge, some bodies, and some inhuman animacies. Once edu-
cation recognizes that animacy is not restricted to humans but must be seen as an attri-
bute of all matter, then politicsundergoes a dramatic, even vertiginous expansion
(Snaza, Sonu, Truman, & Zaliwska, 2016, p. 6). Inhuman animacy and queer archives of
feeling engage with different propositions: they resituate in’–inhuman, in difference, inti-
macy, involution as a responsibility that is situated, in context, and affective.
Disclosure statement
No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.
Funding
This work was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Canada.
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... Building on the current conceptualization of TL as going between and beyond language, our proposed method extends to include the affective and sociomaterial assemblages of meaning making and to make visible the network of activities and intra/inter-actions that are always in flow, in movement among, and in relation to, the human and nonhuman (including technologies, space and place, and bio-life) (Appleby & Pennycook, 2017;Bangou et al., 2019;Canagarajah, 2018;Lin et al., 2020;Pennycook, 2018;Toohey, 2018). In Canada, some language and literacy education research is moving beyond an anthropocentric perspective (e.g., Budach & Sharoyan, 2020;Dagenais et al., 2020;Smythe et al., 2017;Toohey et al., 2020), and similar shifts can be seen in arts-based and participatory educational research with teachers and students documenting sensory landscapes and somatic and affective knowing (e.g., Perry & Medina, 2011;Springgay & Truman, 2017). Such efforts engage theory and fieldwork to make visible networks of meaning making beyond print-based texts, to engage with one's "whole-body sensemaking repertoire to co-act with the people or other living things, the space, and the tools and material space for enhanced and deepened understanding and reflections on how we might participate to recreate more desirable and hopeful socio-spatial relationships" (Lau et al., 2021). ...
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Full-text available
Walking as an artistic and participatory practice is re-emerging in various disciplines, including its intersections with social science and humanities research methods and methodologies (see walkinglab. org). Some of this interest stems from the fact that walking can be an embodied and sensory way of enacting research. In this chapter we discuss how walking as research also begs the question of the “how of research”; we speculate on how rather than simply a mode of moving from place to place, walking engenders what Alfred North Whitehead (1978) refers to as propositions. We use the concept of propositions to examine the productive potential of walking research within two artist groups: a community arts walking practice in Canada organized by the Hamilton Perambulatory Unit (HPU), and a contemporary art walking project in the United Kingdom facilitated by Barbara Steveni, founder of the former art collective the Artist Placement Group (APG). When walking is understood as a proposition, subjects are not given to experiencing movement, space, walking, etc. in any pre-determined or already realized way. Walking becomes stripped of its own assumptions.
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Author(s): Claire Colebrook Title (English): Earth Felt the Wound: The Affective Divide Journal Reference: Identities: Journal for Politics, Gender and Culture, Vol. 8, No. 1 (Winter 2011) Publisher: Research Center in Gender Studies - Skopje and Euro-Balkan Institute Page Range: 45-58 Page Count: 13 Citation (English): Claire Colebrook, “Earth Felt the Wound: The Affective Divide,” Identities: Journal for Politics, Gender and Culture, Vol. 8, No. 1 (Winter 2011): 45-58.
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As a research methodology, walking has a diverse and extensive history in the social sciences and humanities, underscoring its value for conducting research that is situated, relational, and material. Building on the importance of place, sensory inquiry, embodiment, and rhythm within walking research, this book offers four new concepts for walking methodologies that are accountable to an ethics and politics of the more-than-human: Land and geos, affect, transmaterial and movement. The book carefully considers the more-than-human dimensions of walking methodologies by engaging with feminist new materialisms, posthumanisms, affect theory, trans and queer theory, Indigenous theories, and critical race and disability scholarship. These more-than-human theories rub frictionally against the history of walking scholarship and offer crucial insights into the potential of walking as a qualitative research methodology in a more-than-human world. Theoretically innovative, the book is grounded in examples of walking research by WalkingLab, an international research network on walking (www.walkinglab.org). The book is rich in scope, engaging with a wide range of walking methods and forms including: long walks on hiking trails, geological walks, sensory walks, sonic art walks, processions, orienteering races, protest and activist walks, walking tours, dérives, peripatetic mapping, school-based walking projects, and propositional walks. The chapters draw on WalkingLab’s research-creation events to examine walking in relation to settler colonialism, affective labour, transspecies, participation, racial geographies and counter-cartographies, youth literacy, environmental education, and collaborative writing. The book outlines how more-than-human theories can influence and shape walking methodologies and provokes a critical mode of walking-with that engenders solidarity, accountability, and response-ability. This volume will appeal to graduate students, artists, and academics and researchers who are interested in Education, Cultural Studies, Queer Studies, Affect Studies, Geography, Anthropology, and (Post)Qualitative Research Methods.
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