Sensory approaches to landscapes, labor, livelihoods, and lifeworlds

Cari Tusing's picture
Call for Papers
December 15, 2022
United States
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, Environmental History / Studies, Geography, Labor History / Studies, Race / Ethnic Studies

Please send your paper proposals (300 word limit on abstracts), titles, and keywords to Amanda Hilton ( and Cari Tusing ( by Dec 15, 2021.


The ontological turn in social sciences like geography and anthropology foregrounded a closer attention to the webs of relationships in which we live and the worlds they create. This turn emphasized cosmovisión and the “not only but also” (de la Cadena 2010), and the ways that the more-than-human also create lifeworlds (Viveiros de Castro 2013). Livelihoods, dwelling (Ingold 2000, 2005), and broader political economic relations shape these multi-species, lived landscapes (e.g., Tsing 2015). Building upon this scholarship, this panel asks about the sensory role of vital materiality/vibrant matter in political ecological relationships (Bennet 2010; Pink 2015; Richardson-Ngwenya 2012; Samuels et al. 2010​​). Lived experience, embodiment, and care are facets of these relationships that feminist scholarship has emphasized (Bartos 2019; Nash 2010). We ask: how does sensed experience inform our ability as human beings and social scientists to live, analyze and describe these relationships? We propose to center the political ecologies of relationality and livelihoods as they are experienced–sensuously and materially.


We seek to bring together political ecologists working on sensory approaches, or who approach the more-than-human or vital/new materialisms through the lens of sensory experience/phenomenology. Lived, more-than-human relationships are situated within global political economic systems of power with local socioecological consequences. We are interested in papers that explore how labor and livelihoods are embodied and sensed through place and through interactions with specific, and sentient, plants, landscapes, and people. 


Papers may explore the following questions, as well as others that stem from these topics:

  • How can we read the landscape as sensing subjects? Or, how is the landscape lived by sensing subjects? What relationships of care can we sense?
  • Do our senses/”the sensory” provide a way that we can experience and describe experiences of world-making, of the otherwise?
  • How do we experience extractivist ecologies through the sensorial?
  • How might we align our sensory experiences to center more-than-human subjects, methodologically?
  • How might we recenter our ability to sense, as embodied human beings, these more-than-human relationships? Or is that the wrong approach?
  • How might sound or non-visual senses inform or reveal how labor is embodied and sensed through place? 
  • What might feminist approaches reveal about how we sense landscapes and subjects?
  • What might a posthuman sensing of ecologies and landscapes be like? How might it feel?
  • What is the relationship between the sentient and the sensory in political ecology?


Bartos, Ann E. 2019. “Introduction: Stretching the Boundaries of Care.” Gender, Place & Culture 26 (6): 767–77.

Bennett, Jane. 2010. Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things. Durham: Duke University Press.

De la Cadena, Marisol. 2010. “Indigenous cosmopolitics in the Andes: Conceptual reflections beyond ‘politics.’” Cultural Anthropology 25 (2): 334–70.

Ingold, Tim. 2000. The Perception of the Environment: Essays on Livelihood, Dwelling and Skill. Routledge. 

Ingold, Tim. 2005. “Epilogue: Towards a Politics of Dwelling.” Conservation and Society 3 (2): 501-508.

Nash, Catherine. 1996. “Reclaiming Vision: Looking at Landscape and the Body.” Gender, Place & Culture 3 (2): 149–70.

Pink, Sarah. 2015. Doing Sensory Ethnography. SAGE.

​​Richardson-Ngwenya, Pamela. 2012. “A Vitalist Approach to Sugar-Cane Breeding in Barbados: In the Context of the European Union Sugar Reform.” Geoforum 43 (6): 1131–39.

Samuels, David W., Louise Meintjes, Ana Maria Ochoa, and Thomas Porcello. 2010. “Soundscapes: Toward a Sounded Anthropology.” Annual Review of Anthropology 39 (1): 329–45. 

Tsing, Anna Lowenhaupt. 2015. The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. Princeton University Press.

Viveiros de Castro, Eduardo Batalha. 2013. La mirada del jaguar: introducción al perspectivismo amerindio ; Entrevistas. Tinta Limón.

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