September 1, 2022

CRITIQUE Seasonal Session Autumn in a Graveyard – 10 October 2022, 3 pm

Green moss

Seasonal Sessions are quarterly mini-fieldtrips organised by the Environmental Working Group, under the aegis of CRTIQUE, and supported by the Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network (EEHN). Each of our sessions takes place in a different setting outwith the university. The main aim of the events is to cultivate a practice of critical ecological reflection in an informal and exploratory environment. The sessions make use of facilitated group discussion, quiet personal reflection, and immersive engagement with the particular setting of the fieldtrip. To encourage critical engagement and philosophical reflection, each outing is paired with a chosen pre-read text that is appropriate to the theme. These sessions are part of a broader experimental project in collaborative place-based learning, and contribute to an emergent understanding of what it might mean to ‘environmentalise’ learning and teaching in higher education.

The first Sessional Session, Autumn in a Graveyard, will take place on 10 October 2022, 3 pm. Autumn heralds the end of the growing and blooming season. 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. In this first Autumn session, we read a short, provocative text from environmental philosopher, Val Plumwood, about the different meanings ascribed to dying in the Anthropocene. From a spot in an ancient burial ground, Greyfriars Kirkyard, we talk about ecology and our place in it, the tension between ecological, geological, and human time, and the eco-politics of memorialisation in different cultures. We ask: 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 Plumwood, should we think of ourselves as having obligations towards the soil, to enrich it with our bodies when we pass?

Location: Greyfriars Kirkyard, Old Town.

Pre-read text: Tasteless: Towards a Food-Based Approach to Death by Val Plumwood (2008).

To register and receive coordination info, please go to Eventbrite.