In the twenty-first century, globalisation has become a truism, rather than a challenge or opportunity. People, money, resources, culture and power all flow around the world in ever increasingly complex systems and assemblages. Yet even as apparently almost all aspects of life become subject to global circulation, our ways of thinking about natural or non-human worlds remain stubbornly resistant to concepts of hybridity and exchange. Nature is so often imagined to have a proper place, arrangement or constitution: certain species are desirable and must be saved, whereas the flourishing of others (from algae to jellyfish to rats) can be taken as a sign of imbalance or degradation.
In order to re-examine how we conceive and value different forms of nature or the non-human, this event calls on participants to take up the feral as a way to explore the possibilities and problems of the human relation to the non-human world. The idea of the feral gestures towards forms of non-human life that have spurned human control or expectations: ‘bad’ forms of wilderness that are out of place and upset conventional thinking about the desirable or proper arrangement of nature. From biosecurity to so-called invasive species, ‘dead zones’ to re-wilding, urban pests to the idea of the feral calls on us to interrogate our assumptions about how, what, where and why nature ought to be, how we draw those lines and distinctions and how they speak to wider structures of power, political economy and privilege.
Co-hosted by Massey University Political Ecology Research Centre (PERC) and Wageningen University Centre for Space, Place and Society (CSPS).