Challenging Anthropocentrism in Political Science: Gender, Race, Intersectionality, and the More-Than-Human
Mihnea Tanasescu, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Mariska Jung, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
At the dawn of the Anthropocene, the category of the human (the “anthropos” of the new era) needs to be critically examined. This need goes against the dominant tendencies in political theory and science that, for the better part of their history, have been founded on the exclusive right of humans to convene a polis. Consequently, critical study of land issues, climate change, animals and tensions between wildlife and urbanity have remained niche endeavours within the field of political science. Yet current phenomena such as climate change, refugeeship, the COVID-19 pandemic, land struggles of indigenous communities, and the incremental success of European animal parties shows that our realities are comprised of more-than-human entities which translate into concrete non-human political urgencies that political science should not leave understudied.
Moreover, if political scientists do study the more-than-human, they rarely engage in dialogue with scholarship on gender, race, ethnicity and migration politics. Yet there are rich theoretical fields that have engaged the non-human from and gender, race or intersectional perspective, such as varies strands of political ecology, ecofeminism, critical animal studies, feminist new materialism and decolonial ecology. We therefore see a real and timely opportunity for political scientists to rise to the challenges of our times and push the field forward by engaging these cutting-edge theories in their study of more-than-human politics.
We take up the term politics broadly, as this may include topics that have captured the attention of local, national or European representative politics, social movements, political parties or general political debates. The more-than-human is also given a broad meaning, and may refer to nature as such, ecology, climate, environments, wildlife, farming, food, lands, rivers, viruses, technology, and so on. We welcome empirical studies and theoretical or philosophical essays. Ideally, the workshop hosts a mix of these approaches.
Please submit your paper proposal via the website of the Politicologenetmaal directly by 31 March. Questions? Get in touch with Mariska Jung via firstname.lastname@example.org. The Politicologenetmaal will take place online on 3-4 June 2021. As it is a workshop and not conference panel, there will be ample space to discuss the presented work and submission of work-in-progress is very much encouraged.