Encountering a more-than-human world

Ethos and the arts of witness

Authored by: Deborah Bird Rose , Thom van Dooren

The Routledge Companion to the Environmental Humanities

Print publication date:  January  2017
Online publication date:  January  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138786745
eBook ISBN: 9781315766355
Adobe ISBN: 9781317660194


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This chapter is a celebration of, and a call for the cultivation of attentiveness to, the diverse living beings and forms of liveliness that constitute our world. 1 Paying attention in this way is not simply an epistemic project; rather, it is about the difficult work of learning to live well with others in this challenging time that is increasingly coming to be known as the Anthropocene. Our approach is rooted in an ethical practice of “becoming-witness” which seeks to explore and respond to others in the fullness of their particular “ethos,” or way of life. This is an inherently interdisciplinary environmental humanities approach that brings the humanities into conversation with the natural sciences and a broad range of other ways of knowing the world, to nourish the connectivities and possibilities that these dialogues produce for people and the wider environment, and to turn them toward the cultivation of better futures.

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