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After the Revolution: Prototyping Post-Speciesist Futures
Konstfack, University of Arts, Craft and Design.
Malmö University, Faculty of Culture and Society (KS), Collaborative Future Making (CFM). Malmö University, Faculty of Culture and Society (KS), School of Arts and Communication (K3).
2019 (English)In: Rethinking revolution: Nonhuman animals, antispeciesism, and power, 2019, p. 92-92Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

What could a post-speciesist world be like?

Critical Animal Studies activists and scholars have developed convincing counter-arguments to speciesism and animal oppression. These arguments are continuously developed and reshaped through contributions from fields like gender studies, postcolonialism, environmental humanities, and philosophy. This broad range of approaches makes for an diverse and growing body of knowledge on the systematic discrimination, exploitation, and oppression of nonhuman animals, not least regarding the treatment of animals today and in the past. We argue, however, that this knowledge production is significantly more sporadic when it comes to constructive proposals of less speciesist futures. Where are the snapshots from potential futures, and alternative presents, where human-animal relations are radically reconfigured?

We suggest that in working towards an anti-speciesist revolution we need to also be able to imagine what living in a post-speciesist society could be like; and explore creative tactics for bringing these material propositions into being.

These kinds of speculations and constructions of scenarios involve future-oriented contributions from fields such as the arts, design, literature, architecture, and speculative philosophy. In other words, domains that are engaged with envisioning, prototyping, and rehearsing potential futures and alternative presents. In this paper, we discuss a number of works that in different ways materialise reconfigured relations between humans and other species. Examples include utopian artworks by Hartmut Kievert, Ursula Le Guin’s ecofeminist stories, as well as our own design projects on sketching already existing post-speciesist animal-human encounters and redesigning recreational fishing practices. We discuss what tactics are employed by the creators and how their designerly approaches might help in generating new ideas about possible futures. We also introduce and reflect on tools and practices from the design disciplines, such as sketching, prototyping, and design fiction that can be of use for CAS scholar-activists.

Importantly, an affirmative approach of imagining post-speciesist futures does not come without risk. It can be argued that constructive, at times hopeful, projects distract from militating against the currently dim situation that billions of animals face daily. It can also be argued that we are nowhere near attaining a world that can be considered hopeful for most animals on our planet. Shouldn’t we focus on bringing about the revolution before speculating on its aftermath?

We argue that research and activism against speciesism ought to be complemented by constructive scenarios for post-speciesist futures. We seek to contribute to the field of Critical Animal Studies by calling for and articulating a stronger speculative and imaginative strand of CAS, without blunting the urgency and critical edge of the field.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. p. 92-92
Keywords [en]
Critical Animal Studies, Design, Speciesism
National Category
Other Humanities not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-17701OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mau-17701DiVA, id: diva2:1453519
Conference
6th Conference of the European Association for Critical Animal Studies (EACAS), Barcelona, 22-24 May 2019.
Note

Presented by Erik Sandelin.

Available from: 2020-07-10 Created: 2020-07-10 Last updated: 2020-07-15Bibliographically approved

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Westerlaken, Michelle

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