September 22, 2023

CRITIQUE Seasonal Session: Autumn in a Graveyard – 9 October 2023, 3pm

Green moss

Seasonal Sessions are mini-fieldtrips organised by the Environmental Working Group, under the aegis of CRITIQUE, and supported by the Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network (EEHN). Each of our sessions takes place in a different setting outwith the university. You can read more about our activities in the Justice Everywhere blog.

Autumn in a Graveyard takes place on 9 October 2023, 3-4:30 pm. Autumn heralds the end of the growing and blooming season, the shortening of days. Leaves that had been full of green life fade eventually to brown and fall to earth. Death, decomposition, fertility, and finally, new life: these are the ecological cycles that all creatures participate in, including human beings. We ask:

How can we think about our ambiguous belonging in the ecological community of life and death? In what ways do humans have a special relationship to death, compared to other types of beings? Do humans have a particular license to bring death to other beings for food and resources, and how is this expressed among different cultures? Finally, to respond to the Plumwood paper, should we think of ourselves as having obligations towards the soil, to enrich it with our bodies when we pass?

These sessions are informal, reflective, and creative. In this spirit, we limit the group size to 20. We ask that all attendees meet outside the Chrystal Macmillam Building at 15:00, after which we will walk together to St Cuthbert’s Kirkyard (1 mile, approx 15 mins).

Please bring something to sit on, and appropriate clothing for Edinburgh’s changeable weather. In the event of rain, our discussion will take place in a seminar room inside CMB.

In short:

  • All interested in critical ecological reflection are welcome to join. No special expertise required.
  • Yes, there is pre-reading: All attendees will receive a summary sheet of extracts from short texts, but the primary reading we strongly recommend reviewing beforehand is: Val Plumwood (2008). “Tasteless: Towards a Food-Based Approach to Death”, Environmental Values, Vol. 17, No. 3 (August 2008). The 8-page article is available here.
  • Invited speaker: Dr Michelle Bastian, Edinburgh College of Art. (Read about her work on field philosophy here!)
  • Meeting place: outside CMB at 15:00. SHARP.

Places are limited to 20 attendees and registration is mandatory. To register and receive further coordination information, please go to Eventbrite.