From Cosmologies to "Worlding" and Back Again in a Very Short Period of Time.

Date and Time: 
Friday, 18 March, 2016 - 10:45
, Joyce - University of Washington

Focusing on processes of nourishing and being nourished, this paper gives a material-semiotic reading of people-plant-place relations situated in the montane Coast Salish territories of Washington State. Drawing on examples from archival research and fieldwork with Puget Sound Coast Salish communities, I consider the potential of such an approach for enlivening the field of ethnobiology. As a form of process-relational thought, material-semiotics offers a heuristic for understanding matter and mind not as conjoined as in two sides of the same coin, but as an emergent property of animate, dwelt-in worlds. Such a perspective does not require abandonment of either ecology or history; rather, material-semiotics is a form of “radical empiricism” that has the potential to literally enliven our understandings of the relations between them. In particular, material-semiotics as ontology and as praxis resonates with Puget Sound Coast Salish understandings of history, temporality, and people-place-plant relations.