Biophilia's Queer Remnants

Authors

  • Courtney O'Dell-Chaib Department of Religion, Syracuse University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/bsor.33167

Keywords:

Biophilia, affect, disaster, landscapes, New Genesis, kinship

Abstract

Evolutionary biologist Edward O. Wilson’s biophilia hypothesis, that humans have a genetically influenced emotional affiliation with life and life-like processes, for some time has invigorated a prominent strain of scholarship within religion and ecology that taps into the affective dimensions of our evolutionary histories. Our biophilic tendencies coupled with the awe, wonder, and reverence evoked by these religiously resonant cosmologies, they argue, provide occasions for cultivating ethical investments rooted in genetic kinship. However, much of this work that adopts biophilia assumes a “healthy” animal-other and rarely affiliates with the ill, disabled, and mutated creatures impacted by ecological degradation. In conversation with Donovan Schaefer’s provocative new book Religious Affects: Animality, Evolution, and Power and his engagement with biophilia, this paper considers possibilities for addressing aversion to animals impacted by ecological collapse through Schaefer’s understanding of affects as not merely adaptive, but embedded within complex economies of embodiment and power.

Author Biography

Courtney O'Dell-Chaib, Department of Religion, Syracuse University

Doctoral Candidate, Religion Syracuse University

References

Barlow, Connie. 1997. Green Space, Green Time: The Way of Science. New York: Springer-Verlag. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4612-0673-6.

Bird Rose, Deborah and Thom van Dooren. 2011. “Unloved Others: Death of the Disregarded in the Time of Extinctions.” Australian Humanities Review 50: 1-4.

Charles, Jacoba. 2010. “Oil Pooling Elbow Deep Under the Sand of Grand Isle.” Inside Climate News. https://insideclimatenews.org/news/20100802/oil-pooling-elbow-deep-under-sand-grand-isle.

Chen, Mel. 2012. Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. https://doi.org/10.1215/9780822395447.

Goodenough, Ursula. 1998. The Sacred Depths of Nature. New York: Oxford University Press.

Kirksey, Eben, Nicholas Shapiro, and Maria Brodine. 2014. “Hope in Blasted Landscapes.” In The Multispecies Salon, edited by Eben Kirksey, 29–64. Durham: Duke University Press. https://doi.org/10.1215/9780822376989-003.

Marez, Curtis. 2009. “What is a Disaster?” American Quarterly 61 (3): ix–xi.

Mock, Brentin. 2010. “Cleaning Up Oil is Awful Work, But at Least You Can Get It.” Colorlines. http://www.colorlines.com/articles/cleaning-oil-awful-work-least-you-can-get-it.

Schaefer, Donovan O. 2015. Religious Affects: Animality, Evolution, and Power. Durham: Duke University Press. https://doi.org/10.1215/9780822374909.

Sheedy, Matt, and Nathan Rein. 2016. “‘Trauma Makes You’: An Interview with Donovan O. Schaefer.” Bulletin for the Study of Religion 45 (2): 45–55. https://doi.org/10.1558/bsor.v45i2.30903.

Sideris, Lisa. 2015. “Science as Sacred Myth? Ecospirituality in the Anthropocene Age.” Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture 9 (2): 136–53. https://doi.org/10.1558/jsrnc.v9i2.27259.

Taylor, Bron. 2010. Dark Green Religions: Nature Spirituality and the Planetary Future. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Wilson, Edward O. 1984. Biophilia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

———. 1993. “Biophilia and the Conservation Ethic.” In The Biophilia Hypothesis, edited by Stephen Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, 31–42. Washington, D.C.: Island Press.

Young, Abe Louise. 2010. “BP Hires Prison Labor to Clean Up Spill While Coastal Residents Struggle.” The Nation. https://www.thenation.com/article/bp-hires-prison-labor-clean-spill-while-coastal-residents-struggle/.

Published

2017-12-21

How to Cite

O’Dell-Chaib, C. (2017). Biophilia’s Queer Remnants. Bulletin for the Study of Religion, 46(3-4), 18–23. https://doi.org/10.1558/bsor.33167

Issue

Section

Articles