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Gabriel Rosenberg on Twitter: "Ok y'all did it: A thread about hogs, ferality, and race in American history." / Twitter
[via: https://twitter.com/metaleptic/status/1158736606183841794
"come for the feral hogs, stay for the porcine analytic of settler colonialism."]

“Ok y’all did it: A thread about hogs, ferality, and race in American history.

Domestic hogs are not indigenous to North America. They were first introduced by the Spanish during the earliest phases of colonization. In fact, in many cases, hogs long preceded Europeans as the first wave of colonizers,

Hogs are tough, fierce, and hardy beasts. Their tusks offer ample defense against catamounts and other predators. They are thrifty breeders, producing large litters of viable offspring. And they can self-provision in forests, scrub, and grass (tho they also need shade and mud).

European colonizers seeded the landscape with small populations of hogs, knowing they would multiply quickly and, thus, would provide a ready supply of meat. Seeded so, hogs quickly advanced across the North American continent far faster than Europeans.

Indigenous populations faced an ambivalent gift in these new creatures. On the one hand, they could be hunted and provided another useful food source. Much like with horses, indigenous populations ingeniously harnessed porcine possibilities.

However, pigs also brought European diseases and were a vector of contagion for the epidemics that devastated indigenous populations. Hogs made life easier for settlers, and it disrupted indigenous land use. ate the crops of indigenous communities, sparking conflicts.

By the 19th century, hogs were consummate companions of settlers and pork was the predominant meat of Euro-Americans. Hogs didn’t need pasture and they produced ample lard (the most common cooking oil).

They could be pickled, barrelled, and floated down the Mississippi for the Atlantic seaboard and Europe. Cincinnati was memorably awarded the moniker “Porkopolis.” Settlers from around the Ohio River Valley drove millions of hogs there for slaughter and export.

In sum, settlers found pigs to be a useful way to extract calories from the landscape and to transform it cheaply into food and sometimes commodities. But this form of hog husbandry was low-intensity and rarely involved fences or enclosure.

In this context, the modern distinction between feral and domestic was muddier. Most hogs lived proximate to proximate to humans, some in human shelters, but they had enormous autonomy and roved freely.

This made sense early in settler colonialism, but fencing and property systems changed the story. As setters planted grains, they found roving hogs a menace who trampled and ate their crops. Similarly, fences were a form of improvement that strengthened property claims.

Over the course of the 19th century, fence laws and enclosure spread West from the Atlantic seaboard (with the exception of the South East and Appalachia where enclosure was contested until the end of the century).

In the meantime, settlers (now imagining themselves the “permanent” natives after only a generation) began to develop a different system of hog husbandry. Instead of free ranging their hogs, they increasingly confined them and fattened them on grain.

After the Civil War, the development of a robust rail system also meant live pigs could be easily transported to Chicago, which quickly replaced Cincinnati as the center of hog slaughter. This transportation network created a hog-corn nexus throughout the Middle West.

This different system of production also required a new kind of hog: settlers (now called farmers) wanted a hog that put on weight quickly and efficiently transformed corn into fat, not one that could defend itself and self-provision from a forest.

They no longer needed a lean, muscular hog with long legs and tusks capable of making a long drive to Cincinnait. They wanted a stout fat hog, with short legs, and no tusks, an animal that was docile and easily transported.

Enclosure meant they had the opportunity to do this. Whereas free ranging hogs were mostly left to their own mating, fences, crates, and barns meant farmers could intensively breed their pigs and determine with precision which animals should mate.

Ok gotta run and catch the U to get a haircut, but I’ll tweet as I go, spotty WiFi and all.

By the 1880s, pig farmers across America endeavored to “improve” their herds by breeding in European stock. Through elaborate systems of genealogy and recording, they adapted the European tradition of pure-breeding to a settler colonial context.

Such farmers raved about the purity of their (animal) bloodlines, which they considered a powerful proof of the superiority of European settled agriculture and civilization. The refinement and purity of their breeds was evidence that settler colonialism was just and natural.

And what of “unimproved” pigs? They called these animals “mongrels”, “degenerates”, “scrubs”, and “natives.” The last term indexes the conflation of indigeneity with biological inferiority and unmanaged reproduction.

And much as “refined” stock proved white European superiority, “native” animals showed that those communities setter colonialism had eradicated were “degenerate” and “barbarous.”

It is in this context that the concept of “feral” can begin to emerge as a distinct and threatening concept to white American culture: a form of unmanaged reproduction and life that exists outside and apart from property ownership and settled agriculture.

That defense of assault weapons is almost too on the nose: hordes of unmanaged life invade domesticity and managed reproduction (the daughter) and must be culled with massive and indiscriminate violence. Six hundred years of settler colonialism is speaking in that tweet.

If you learned something from this thread, please read the work of the many historians working on agriculture who helped form my thinking. These include: Anderson’s Creatures of Empire, Cronon’s Changes in the Land and Nature’s Metropolis, and Specht’s Red Meat Republic.

Also, Logan O’Laughlin’s forthcoming work, Wood’s Herds Shot Round the World, Franklin’s Dolly Mixtures, Mizelle’s Pig, Blanchette’s forthcoming Porkopolis and many many more. Oh and read some Sylvia Wynter too!

Fin.

Epilogue: I have safely returned to my office at the
@MPIWG
with a fresh bald fade and this thread completely viral. If you’re interested in my work, some links will follow.

#1 My article, “A Race Suicide Among the Hogs”: https://www.academia.edu/21787581/_A_Race_Suicide_among_the_Hogs_The_Biopolitics_of_Pork_in_the_United_States_1865_1930_American_Quarterly_68.1_March_2016_49-73

The article examines meat agriculture as a site for the production of knowledge about gender, race, and sexuality that spanned human and non-human animals. Livestock breeders and commentators alike…

#2 My article, “How Meat Changed Sex” (on the unexpected sexual politics of livestock production): https://www.academia.edu/35295117/HOW_MEAT_CHANGED_SEX_The_Law_of_Interspecies_Intimacy_after_Industrial_Reproduction

HOW MEAT CHANGED SEX: The Law of Interspecies Intimacy after Industrial Reproduction
The article explores the history and structure of American laws criminalizing sex- ual contact between humans and animals to demonstrate how the ecological conditions of late capitalism are…

#3 My book, “The 4-H Harvest: Sexuality and the State in Rural America”: https://www.amazon.com/4-H-Harvest-Sexuality-America-Politics/dp/0812247531/

4-H, the iconic rural youth program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has enrolled more than 70 million Americans over the last century. As the first comprehensive history of the organization

#4 A popular piece I wrote for the @BostonGlobe that gives you a sense of how I think about farming and rural America in the context of settler colonialism, “Fetishizing Family Farms”: https://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2016/04/09/fetishizing-family-farms/NJszoKdCSQWaq2XBw7kvIL/story.html

Fetishizing family farms: History is nothing like the political mythology.

#5 A recent microsyllabus on Animal Studies I wrote for the Radical History Review’s incredible @abusablepast: https://www.radicalhistoryreview.org/abusablepast/?p=3164

Microsyllabus: Animal Studies
Compiled by Gabriel N. Rosenberg Animal Studies queries the relationship between nonhuman animals (or “animals”) and human social orders. It is an interdisciplinary field, encompassing scholarship”
pigs  hogs  multispecies  history  colonialism  gabrielrosenberg  animals  human-animalrelations  human-animalrelationships  us  animalstudies  morethanhuman  imperialism  feral  ferality  farming  land  ownership  agriculture  livestock  food  landscape  settlercolonialism 
18 days ago by robertogreco
Children raised by wolves: Spaniard raised by wolves disappointed with human life | In English | EL PAÍS
"Marcos Rodríguez Pantoja was once the “Mowgli” of Spain’s Sierra Morena mountain range, but life has changed a lot since then. Now the 72-year-old lives in a small, cold house in the village of Rante, in the Galician province of Ourense. This past winter has been hard for him, and a violent cough interrupts him often as he speaks.

His last happy memories were of his childhood with the wolves. The wolf cubs accepted him as a brother, while the she-wolf who fed him taught him the meaning of motherhood. He slept in a cave alongside bats, snakes and deer, listening to them as they exchanged squawks and howls. Together they taught him how to survive. Thanks to them, Rodríguez learned which berries and mushrooms were safe to eat.

Today, the former wolf boy, who was 19 when he was discovered by the Civil Guard and ripped away from his natural home, struggles with the coldness of the human world. It’s something that didn’t affect him so much when he was running around barefoot and half-naked with the wolves. “I only wrapped my feet up when they hurt because of the snow,” he remembers. “I had such big calluses on my feet that kicking a rock was like kicking a ball.”

After he was captured, Rodríguez’s world fell apart and he has never been able to fully recover. He’s been cheated and abused, exploited by bosses in the hospitality and construction industries, and never fully reintegrated to the human tribe. But at least his neighbors in Rante accept him as “one of them.” And now, the environmental group Amig@s das Arbores is raising money to insulate Rodríguez’s house and buy him a small pellet boiler – things that his meager pension cannot cover.

Rodríguez is one of the few documented cases in the world of a child being raised by animals away from humans. He was born in Añora, in Córdoba province, in 1946. His mother died giving birth when he was three years old, and his father left to live with another woman in Fuencaliente. Rodríguez only remembers abuse during this period of his life.

They took him to the mountains to replace an old goatherd who cared for 300 animals. The man taught him the use of fire and how to make utensils, but then died suddenly or disappeared, leaving Rodríguez completely alone around 1954, when he was just seven years old. When authorities found Rodríguez, he had swapped words for grunts. But he could still cry. “Animals also cry,” he says.

He admits that he has tried to return to the mountains but “it is not what it used to be,” he says. Now the wolves don’t see him as a brother anymore. “You can tell that they are right there, you hear them panting, it gives you goosebumps … but it’s not that easy to see them,” he explains. “There are wolves and if I call out to them they are going to respond, but they are not going to approach me,” he says with a sigh. “I smell like people, I wear cologne.” He was also sad to see that there were now cottages and big electric gates where his cave used to be.

His experience has been the subject of various anthropological studies, books by authors such as Gabriel Janer, and the 2010 film Among wolves (Entrelobos) by Gerardo Olivares. He insists that life has been much harder since he was thrown back into the modern world. “I think they laugh at me because I don’t know about politics or soccer,” he said one day. “Laugh back at them,” his doctor told him. “Everyone knows less than you.”

He has encountered many bad people along the way, but there have also been acts of solidarity. The forest officer Xosé Santos, a member of Amig@s das Arbores, organizes sessions at schools where Rodríguez can talk about his love for animals and the importance of caring for the environment. “It’s amazing how he enthralls the children with his life experience,” says Santos. Children, after all, are the humans whom Rodríguez feels most comfortable with"
childhood  spain  wolves  españa  human-animalrelations  human-animalrelationships  morethanhuman  feral  animals  wildlife  society  crying  communication  children 
may 2018 by robertogreco
Feral children: settler colonialism, progress, and the figure of the child: Settler Colonial Studies: Vol 8, No 1
"Settler colonialism is structured in part according to the principle of civilizational progress yet the roots of this doctrine are not well understood. Disparate ideas of progress and practices related to colonial dispossession and domination can be traced back to the Enlightenment, and as far back as ancient Greece, but there remain unexplored logics and continuities. I argue that civilizational progress and settler colonialism are structured according to the opposition between politics governed by reason or faith and the figure of the child as sinful or bestial. Thus, it is not contingent, but rather necessary that justificatory frameworks of European empire and colonialism depict Indigenous peoples as children. To illustrate how the theoretical link between Indigenous peoples and children emerges not as a simple analogy, but rather, as the source of the premodern/modern and savage/civilized binaries, I trace the various historical iterations of the political/childhood opposition through the classical, medieval, enlightenment, and modern eras. I show how the model of civilizational progress from a premodern and savage state of childhood continues to serve as the model for settler colonial exclusion and domination of Indigenous peoples."

[Also here (and elsewhere):
https://www.academia.edu/26087622/Feral_Children_Settler_Colonialism_Progess_and_the_Figure_of_the_Child ]
tobyrollo  2016  settlercolonialism  children  colonialism  childhood  unschooling  deschooling  dispossession  domination  civilization  feral  ageism 
february 2018 by robertogreco
A Feral Studio – a space for talks, workshops, film showings, hack-labs and discussions
"A Feral Studio is an undisciplined and itinerant space for talks, workshops, film showings, hack-labs and discussions, loosely based around communication and design. Talks are free and open to the general public and design community."



"Questions and answers

Can anyone come to the events?
Yes.

How do you decide on speakers?
We try and select speakers and external tutors to achieve a mixed programme of events that are loosely design focussed. All speakers and workshop leaders, through their work or activities, demonstrate an interest in the development of design based practices.

How is AFS funded?
Currently A Feral Studio is an independent autonomous endeavour. When first established we were based within the Glasgow School of Art, and supported by Front Page. This financial support was echoed by Arts and Business Scotland and the Glasgow School of Art."

[See also:
https://twitter.com/aferalstudio

"A Feral Studio"
https://vimeo.com/68852395

"A Feral Studio - Students feedback"
https://vimeo.com/68852394 ]
glasgow  scotland  lcproject  openstudioproject  workshops  undisciplined  transdisciplinary  feral  makerspaces 
january 2018 by robertogreco
Feral Studio
"Feral Studio is a Community Interest Company based in South West UK that initiates creative collaborations and partnerships in rural communities.

We align artists, designers and other creative practitioners with land stakeholders, educational establishments, rural agencies, small businesses and wider community members to produce innovative strategies that tackle challenges, build capacity and push boundaries."



"
During the past few decades, we have witnessed a rural narrative that has been characterised by on going crisis, decline and loss of identity. Once thriving communities have been severely impacted by multiple traumas in agriculture, austerity in public finances, limited infrastructure provision, migration of ambitious youth, constrained housing availability and the older generation lacking opportunity to transfer hard-earned knowledge. Impacts from energy insecurity, climate change and environmental degradation are being felt first hand.

Yet there has been a response.

There’s been a motivated, imaginative and committed response. Rural communities are now seeing a surging land-worker movement dedicated to sustainable agriculture. Alternative economies and resilience building are now commonplace. Innovation is flourishing and a recognition of the countryside from a cultural perspective is well underway. We are committed to embracing this momentum.

Established in 2014, Feral Studio is Community Interest Company (08936225). We work locally, regionally, online and beyond to commission short-term initiatives and long-term engagements that support sustainable, self-sufficient and locally distinctive economies and cultures.

Our approach values the importance of multi-disciplinary partnership working to explore and interpret the opportunities and threats that exist in the rural context. As such, we collaborate with a dynamic group of practitioners whose skills and knowledge base include (but not limited to) design, food production, architecture, research, filmmaking, policy, horticulture, education programming, contemporary art curating and ecology.

We undertake a range of socially engaged activities, research and commission projects that are appropriate, collaborative and leave an enduring legacy. These include residencies, workshops, events, installations, publications and internships.

While our programme is shaped by local priorities, we also recognise that a great deal of thinking, practice and policy influencing rural issues emanates from beyond its geography so we participate in dialogue and exchange ideas, techniques and practice with urban and international peers and networks as well as being supported by specialist advisors."

[See also: https://twitter.com/feralstudio ]
design  art  rural  education  architecture  local  feral  multidisciplinary  resilience  alternative  economics  alternativeeconomies  uk  lcproject  openstudioproject 
january 2018 by robertogreco
When chickens go wild : Nature News & Comment
"The feral chickens of Kauai provide a unique opportunity to study what happens when domesticated animals escape and evolve."



"Chicken and egg

“You won't see a bird as healthy-looking as that,” Wright says of the hen that he and Henriksen had captured at Opaekaa Falls. “Her plumage is perfect.” In the basement of a rented house on Kauai, the researchers have set up a makeshift laboratory where they photograph the bird, draw its blood and then kill it and prepare it for dissection. Wright starts with the hen's Brazil-nut-sized brain.

Their unpublished research has shown that the brains of domestic chickens are smaller than those of junglefowl, relative to their body size, and organized differently. The team hopes to identify the genes responsible for these changes and others, such as the diminished visual-processing systems of domestic birds. Life in the wild has also altered the reproductive systems of the feral chickens. Domestic breeds lay eggs almost daily, but breeding seasonally could allow feral chickens to reapportion the minerals devoted to eggs (which come from spongy tissue in the centre of their bones) to making their skeletons more robust. The researchers sample the hen's femur and also find that its ovaries are empty of egg follicles, which could be a sign of seasonal breeding.

Feralization has garnered much less attention from scientists than domestication (which gets a nod in chapter one of Charles Darwin's 1859 On the Origin of Species). But swapping of domestic and wild genes has been happening all over the world for thousands of years. A feral-sheep population that has lived on the island of St Kilda in the Scottish Outer Hebrides for as long as 4,000 years acquired beneficial alleles that determine coat colour from a modern domestic sheep breed some 150 years ago2. A 2009 study in Science3 found that some wolves in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, carry a domestic-dog version of a gene linked to dark coats that shows hallmarks of positive selection, possibly helping wolves from the Arctic to adapt to forested environments. “People would have thought that genes to live in a farm and house aren't going to be any good in the wild, but that's not necessarily true,” says Jonathan Losos, an evolutionary ecologist at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

And like Kauai's feral chickens, other feral animals such as dingoes in Australia and urban pigeons practically everywhere have not evolved back to the state of their wild ancestors — even if certain traits may trend in that direction.

Like chickens, other domesticated animals tend to have smaller brains than their wild cousins, relative to body size (see 'Free bird'). And brain regions involved in processing things such as sight, sound and smell are among the most diminished, perhaps because humans bred animals to be docile and less wary of their surroundings. Feral pigs in Sardinia seem to have regained large brains and high densities of neurons involved in olfaction, but not the abilities that come with them: their neurons do not express a protein that has been linked to the exquisite sense of smell in closely related wild boars4. Likewise, feral dogs, cats and pigs often lack the savvy of their wild brethren and still depend on human niches for their survival, notes Melinda Zeder, an archaeologist at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC. Packs of feral dogs, for instance, do not form the complex hierarchies that make wolves such fearsome predators. “There's no leadership the way you get in a wolf pack. It's just a bunch of shitty friends ,” says Greger Larson, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Oxford, UK, who is part of a team examining the mixed ancestry of Kauai's feral pigs."
feral  chickens  kauai  nature  birds  anthropocene  science  evolution  2016  ewencalloway  feralization  via:anne 
february 2016 by robertogreco
The History of American Childhood / Backlist
"Contemporary American attitudes about childhood are rife with paradox. We’re convinced that our children are overprotected (this is a sentiment that seems politics-proof, reaching across party lines), yet parents find it impossible to step back from the many protective measures put in place over the past century. (Who wants to be the first one on the block to let their kid walk to school alone?) Or how about this: we’re convinced that our children are overprotected, yet 22 percent of American children live in families whose household incomes fall beneath the poverty level. These children, as well as black kids like Tamir Rice (shot to death by police at age twelve), are denied the protections accorded their upper- and middle-class counterparts. What is “childhood innocence,” and who gets to benefit from it?

Historians of childhood can offer crucial context, showing how children’s lives have changed over time. But the field of childhood studies, which blends a strong historical perspective with critical assessment of the evolution of attitudes and ideologies around childhood, is full of interesting theoretical approaches to the kinds of paradoxes above.

Here are ten books that can help you figure out how we came to be so confused about childhood.

PLACES TO START

Steven Mintz, Huck’s Raft: A History of American Childhood (2004).

This is a synthetic history of childhood that surveys a lot of finer-grained historical work on the social, political, and cultural changes that have affected American children’s lives between the colonial period and the present. Huck’s Raft is a great starting point if you want to know the historical basics—What was it like to be an enslaved child? What kinds of protections did children working in industrial workplaces have? When did a majority of American children gain access to public school?—and offers a solid bibliography with leads to the foundational work in the field.

Ann Hulbert, Raising America: Experts, Parents, and a Century of Advice About Children (2003).

Another broad history, this one of American parenting advice in the twentieth century, amplifies some of the discussions in Huck’s Raft. Hulbert traces the influence of religion, psychology, and social science on American ideas about the proper shape of a good childhood. The sources Hulbert taps—infant-care manuals, government pamphlets, the famous Dr. Spock—are invaluable in revealing how concepts about childhood manifested themselves in pragmatic advice to those directly responsible for children’s care. Raising America, which is a trade book written by a journalist, is also very fun to read.

Viviana Zelizer, Pricing the Priceless Child: The Changing Social Value of Children (1985).

A book by a sociologist that you will find cited in almost every history of American childhood, Pricing the Priceless Child has a simple and irresistible thesis: just as American children were removed from the workforce in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, becoming what Zelizer calls “economically useless,” they were sentimentalized—made “emotionally priceless.” Zelizer looks at life insurance rates and the outcomes of wrongful death suits, showing through the seemingly impersonal records of courts and actuaries how children’s lives took on new significance.

Carolyn Steedman, Strange Dislocations: Childhood and the Idea of Human Interiority, 1780-1930 (1995).

When I took a graduate seminar in childhood studies with Julia Mickenberg at the University of Texas at Austin, she assigned this dense book, which initially terrified and then deeply engaged everyone in the class. Steedman looks at the way the figure of Mignon, the child acrobat character who appears in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s novel Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship (1795-6), popped up across genres in the nineteenth century. But Steedman also taps archives of performance, medicine, science, law, and psychology, drawing connections between Mignon’s various appearances in literature and on stage and new ideas about what it might mean to have a self. I’m including this as a “Places to Start” book, despite its high level of difficulty, because it is a book that shows how ambitious childhood studies can be.

DIGGING IN

Karen Sánchez-Eppler, Dependent States: The Child’s Part in Nineteenth-Century American Culture (2005).

Most of the books on this list are about the twentieth century, but Karen Sánchez-Eppler’s Dependent States is (like the Steedman) an inspiring example of how to write about the theory of childhood within a specific historical period. Sanchez Eppler shows how nineteenth-century American adults thought through ideas about dependence, freedom, and citizenship by using children—real and fictional—as exemplars. The author is also great at writing about the way we can, or can’t, hear the voices of children while writing the history of childhood—another theoretical question that will pop up in most childhood studies books.

Kenneth B. Kidd, Making American Boys: Boyology and the Feral Tale (2004).

Starting at the end of the nineteenth century, psychologists and self-appointed “boy workers” at organizations like the YMCA, the Boy Scouts, and 4-H conversed among themselves regarding the correct conditions necessary for the production of an “upstanding” American boy. There are other histories of the Boy Scouts that are more complete, but Kidd’s book explores the way that ideas about ferality and domesticity, stemming from psychoanalysis and literature, shaped the pronouncements of those put in charge of “making boys.” Kidd makes it clear that the normative ideas about gender and age that still govern our conversations about growing up had deep roots in this era.

Nicholas Sammond, Babes in Tomorrowland: Walt Disney and the Making of the American Child, 1930-1960 (2005).

More work on constructed ideas of normality, but in this case intertwined most fascinatingly with a history of Disney. We commonly think of media as a corrupter of children, but Sammond shows how, in the early evolution of the American children’s media marketplace, developmental science was a key player. Disney’s ability to market itself as Better For Children was made possible by its alliance with social scientists who claimed knowledge of children’s minds, and its evocation of ideals of patriotism that focused on the child as the symbolic American. Read along with the Hulbert for maximum impact.

Marta Gutman and Ning De Coninck-Smith, eds. Designing Modern Childhoods: History, Space, and the Material Culture of Children (2008).

A collection of essays about twentieth-century purpose-built environments for children, ranging across the United States and the world. Each essay, whether by a social historian or a historian of architecture or design, keys into the idea outlined in John R. Gillis’s epilogue on “The Islanding of Children”: kids in Western cultures have been increasingly sidelined in “mythical landscapes” of their own. Essays on postwar “adventure playgrounds” in the UK, children’s hospitals in Canada, and birthday parties in the United States offer scope for imagination.

NEW MOVES

Lee Edelman, No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (2004).

This book left blisters on the hands of my grad school reading group when we tackled it while preparing for oral exams. It’s probably the most abstract of the titles I have recommended here (it’s not really a history). Many books in childhood studies explore the way children come to stand in for “the future”—especially white, middle-class children—and talk about what that has meant for the shape of American politics and literature, and for children themselves. Edelman looks at that common association and shows how it’s been deployed against queerness. The argument turned everything we had been reading about on its head, in a most satisfying way.

Robin Bernstein, Racial Innocence: Performing American Childhood from Slavery to Civil Rights (2011).

The paradigms of performance studies come to bear on childhood in Bernstein’s book about violence, innocence, and race. The idea of childhood innocence—another through-line in the literature of childhood studies—was crafted in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Bernstein shows how the quality came to adhere to white children rather than black—trying to illustrate everyday attitudes by analyzing material and visual culture, and making arguments about how their uses transferred these qualities of innocence to their users. You will never look at a Raggedy Ann doll the same way again."
books  booklists  rebeccaonion  history  childhood  children  stevenmintz  annhulbert  vivianazelizer  carolynsteedman  karensánchez-eppler  kennethkidd  nicholas  sammond  martagutman  ningdeconinck-smith  leeedelman  robinbernstein  race  gender  queer  queerness  feral  boys  us  culture  society 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Don't Fence Me In: the Liberation of Undomesticated Critique | Claudia Ruitenberg - Academia.edu
"Teaching critique will, first of all, have to contend with the prejudice that education and educational research ought to focus on what is useful, where ‘use’ is increasingly narrowly defined as economic productivity (for example, Lyotard, 1984). Heid observes, ‘As long as they remain abstract, both critique, as a mode of human judgement, and the human ability to criticise are highly valued. However, their products are not appreciated in so unequivocal a way’ (p. 324). In many educational contexts, not only the products of critique, but also the efforts they require are not unequivocally appreciated. Critique slows matters down, requires analysis and reflection, and often raises questions rather than providing answers. Education in the service of economic productivity concentrates on the training of transferable skills—time-management skills, problem-solving skills, even critical thinking skills—but not critique. Educational research is increas- ingly forced to concentrate its efforts on empirical and quantitative models that provide directly applicable means for predetermined ends.3 Critique’s currency is language, and to get the value of this currency recognised in a world that values action, the false dichotomy between language and action must be addressed.

As Marianna Papastephanou argues elsewhere in this issue, critique is threatened not only by the demand for economic utility and efficiency, but also by narcissism and a confusion of critique with a dismissal of one’s object. To learn to critique, even make philosophical critique the object of critique, it is important to understand critique as a tradition. In an interview with Maurizio Ferraris, Derrida says, ‘A transgression should always know what it transgresses. . . . And I feel best when my sense of emancipation preserves the memory of what it emancipates from. I hope this mingling of respect and disrespect for the academic heritage and tradition in general is legible in everything that I do’ (Derrida and Ferraris, 2001, p. 43). Students must be taught that their critique will be part of long traditions of critique, and that it will contribute to and renew those traditions only if it understands its own historicity. Learning respect for the tradition that forms one’s historical context is not stifling if one learns to approach the past genealogically and to see that no tradition is monolithic (see, for example, Foucault, 1984). In elementary and secondary education, this means, for instance, that the history of science is not taught as a linear, celebratory narrative of European progress from Aristotelian cosmology and Ptolemaic geocentrism to the enlightened discoveries of Nicolas Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein, but that questions are raised about the dead ends, the influence of scientists from outside of Europe, the absence of women, the power of the church and other institutions and so on. It also means that language is not taught merely as a transparent medium for effective communication, but as carrying a past of meanings and uses that trouble its apparent clarity and that produce meaning beyond the intentions of any author. In a pedagogy of critique, students need to know both that ‘hysterical’ is used to mean emotionally out of control and extremely funny, and that it carries a sexist history. They need to know both that ‘denigrating’ is used to mean putting down and speaking ill of, and that it carries a racist history. And they need to know that these examples are not exceptions, but that in language the ideas and beliefs of the past have become sedimented, flaws and inconsistencies included, and that ‘how we talk [and write] and see our situation is a product of the kind of language we have’ (Blake et al., 1998, p. 152).

Educational researchers must work from the understanding that the traditions of philosophical critique and educational research provide structure, but that this structure is permeable because the heritage is translated rather than transmitted, and is internally heterogeneous and
multiplicitous:4
Let us consider, first of all, the radical and necessary heterogeneity of an inheritance . . . An inheritance is never gathered together, it is never one with itself ... If the readability of a legacy were given, natural, transparent, univocal, if it did not call for and at the same time defy interpretation, we would never have anything to inherit from it. We would be affected by it as by a cause—natural or genetic. One always inherits from a secret—which says ‘read me, will you ever be able to do so?’ (Derrida, 1994, p. 16).

Currently, neither education nor educational research are comfortable with secrets, demanding instead that texts and data are transparent and can be used and consumed completely. A pedagogy of critique views education as initiation into a mode of response—and response requires reception rather than consumption. ‘And yet, each time we receive the tradition, each time we take it on, we are offered a chance to receive something unforeseeable and unprecedented within it’ (Naas, 2003, p. xviii).

The tradition of philosophical critique offers ‘land, lots of land under starry skies above’, and although the existing paths that traverse the land are worth following, new paths can and should be explored and questions about old paths raised (why there? in what direction? for what vehicle?). The land and, as we know from Immanuel Kant, the ‘starry heavens above’ may fill one with ‘awe’ and ‘admiration’ (Kant, 1956, p. 166), and indeed they ought to be contemplated respectfully. Kant also warns, however, that ‘though admiration and respect can indeed excite to inquiry, they cannot supply the want of it’ (ibid.). Thus a responsive reception of the tradition of philosophical critique demands critical reflection on this tradition itself. Tradition cannot be fenced in, must remain open to new reading, because no context is closed and no interpretation is definitive. Fixing the boundaries of what counts as legitimate critique means limiting what can be learnt and inherited from critique, suffocating the tradition that can only stay alive by renewing itself. (And suffocating it in the interest of what or whom?) Philosophical critique can only keep its critical edge if it continues to subject itself, its own aims, objects and criteria, to critique."
critique  pedagogy  claudiaruitenberg  2004  slowpedagogy  reception  via:steelemaley  paulofreire  domestication  feral  humanism  education  unschooling  deschooling  tradition  teaching  howweteach  howwelearn  learning  jean-françoislyotard  jacquesderrida  michelfoucault  foucault  helmutheid  liberation  crticalpedagogy  pedagogyoftheoppressed  lyotard 
december 2015 by robertogreco
» Into the Wild: A Look at the Feral Children Running Through Recent Fiction
"The ostensibly solid barrier between wild animals and civilized humans is being torn apart by a pack of recent American novels and short stories. From the cross-species siblings in Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are Completely Beside Ourselves to the three animals trying to avoid slaughter in David Duchovny’s Holy Cow, fiction writers are overtly (and sometimes playfully) asking what’s so humane about human beings. And animals are coming off as more thoughtful than ever. In novels already published this year, an orphaned elephant narrates part of Tania James’ The Tusk That Did the Damage and a blind grizzly bear plays a major role in Christian Kiefer’s The Animals.

As part of this trend, feral children, who blur the line between animal and human, have made their way back into the fields of American fiction. Wild boys and girls have run through American literature since Huckleberry Finn fled the “sivilized” world, but now they are popping up in a variety of settings. In this age of overscheduled and sheltered children, these stories take the ongoing debate over nature vs. nurture to extremes. Instead of needing constant Internet connectivity, these feral children live way off the grid. Here are some recent highlights within wild-child fiction:

CONTEMPORARY: In Porochista Khakpour’s 2014 novel The Last Illusion, a 10-year-old Iranian boy named Zal is rescued from the birdcage in which his widowed mother kept him. He can only “chirp, tweet, coo, shriek” like the other birds around him. After moving to Manhattan with his adoptive father, a child psychologist fascinated by feral children, Zal learns to communicate and express emotion while secretly coping with his bird-like instincts. For instance, he furtively snacks on chocolate-covered grasshoppers. Zal sympathetically merges animal and man, as Khakpour combines a distinctive coming-of-age story with a harrowing 9/11 novel.

HISTORICAL: In the title story of T.C Boyle’s 2010 collection Wild Child, a barely clothed boy who cannot speak is discovered near a French forest and captured. Based on an actual historical episode from 1800 (as well as Francois Truffaut’s film of the same name), Boyle’s version describes the morbid fascination of the townspeople with this creature who “used only his bare hands and broken nails to dig in the sodden earth, like a dog.” The boy is taken up by a young doctor who names him Victor and tries to educate and civilize him. For Dr. Jean-Marc Itard, this child was a blank canvas to test Rousseau and Locke’s ideas about society’s effects on the individual. Boyle conveys Victor’s struggles with Itard and his regimen. Itard stops working with Victor and eventually stops visiting too, and we see how Victor has been abandoned a second time.

ABSURDIST: With “St. Lucy’s School for Girls Raised by Wolves,” the title story of Karen Russell’s 2006 collection, the isolated-child model gets flipped on its head with its focus on the feral child’s viewpoint instead of on the outside observer’s judgmental perspective. Narrated by Claudette (wolf name: “TRRR”), the story follows a group of girls who have been taken from the warm dens of their werewolf parents and transplanted into a corrective school that seeks to teach human behavior. From learning to wear squared-toed shoes to dancing awkwardly with their young-male counterparts, Russell uses both humor and pathos to show the unpleasant surprises of civilization.

SEMI-FERAL: Over the decades, the connotation of “feral” has changed from the romanticized innocence of Mowgli and Tarzan in the noble jungle to a darker perception of a lack of affection and nurturing. In Smith Henderson’s Fourth of July Creek (2014), a case of childhood neglect and lack of socialization is central to the plot. Benjamin Pearl, the 11-year-old victim, was not raised by wolves but by a conspiracy-theorist father in the Montana backwoods. He is found by the book’s protagonist, a social services worker, to be suffering from disease, abuse, and isolation. Henderson’s unflinching and morally complicated story is about the wildness present not only in feral children but also in so-called civilized adults."
fiction  children  feral  feralchildren  literature  2015  kernjoyfowler  davidduchovny  taniajames  porochistakhakpour  tcboyle  karenrussell  smithhenderson 
may 2015 by robertogreco
AC2015 - Chair's plenary: Feral geographies: life in capitalist ruins
"Two questions guide this talk. First, how have industrial processes changed earth ecologies—even far from industrial centers? Second, given that Anthropocene ecologies have moved outside human design, how shall we understand their geographies as simultaneously global and local? Using invasive fungal pathogens, parasites, and decomposers as my entry point, I will examine histories of invasion that clarify overlapping human and nonhuman world-making, as this leads to feral geographies. On the one hand, such histories illustrate unintentional design, that is, landscapes made by many living things. On the other hand, they suggest that something new—and beyond human control—has emerged in our times, challenging the livable ecologies of earlier landscape dynamics. Indeed, newly deadly more-than-human capacities, with their feral geographies, give substance to the concept of the Anthropocene. Mapping them allows Anthropocene to do crucial work: drawing together a transdisciplinary discussion of industrial effects. The talk thus addresses the possibility of opening disciplinary and conceptual borders, not just for the critique of dichotomies between nature and culture, but also, more urgently, for the making of forms of knowledge, which, while not universal, know what travel is and how to chance it. This is a challenge, then, for both theory and description. Might joining the discussion called “Anthropocene” require humanistic social scientists to rethink our knowledge practices? Meanwhile, the talk is a renewed endorsement of the importance of arts of noticing—and critical description—for our unsettled times."
geography  feralgeographies  feral  anthropocene  capitalism  via:anne  2015  jamielorimer  sarahwhatmore  annatsing  stephenhinchliffe  gaildavies  charylmcewan  noticing  landscape  nonhuman  multispecies  human  design  geoengineering  parasites  pathogens  decomposers  decomposition  annalowenhaupttsing 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Trash Animals — University of Minnesota Press
"From pigeons to prairie dogs, reflections on reviled animals and their place in contemporary life

In Trash Animals, a diverse group of environmental writers explore the natural history of wildlife species deemed filthy, invasive, or worthless, highlighting the vexed relationship humans have with such creatures. Each essay focuses on a so-called trash species—gulls, coyotes, carp, and magpies, among others—examining the biology and behavior of each in contrast to the assumptions widely held about them."

[via: https://twitter.com/annegalloway/status/579805654065360897
in response to https://twitter.com/OmanReagan/status/579804681314131968 ]
animals  books  environment  human-animalrelations  human-animalrelationships  multispecies  pigeons  wildlife  urban  urbanism  coyotes  seagulls  carp  birds  fish  corvids  biology  behavior  kelsinagy  phillipdavidjohnson  invasivespecies  feral  nature  2013 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Toward a Poetics of Skateboarding | The American Reader
"But for all of its private jargon, skateboarding’s poetry has never been linguistic. It is forever embodied and also, though this is difficult to speak of seriously, spiritual. How else to explain its appearance in Uganda without even a single retail outlet to support it? In fact, the only conveyable language of skateboarding, outside of participation and socialization in the activity itself, has always been spoken through film.

In broad terms, skate media splits time between documentation and advertisement, and their commercial evolution has skewed ever more crass and spectacular. Recent work from select video artists, however, attempts to confront the activity’s basic mystery and meaningful meaninglessness. Non-skateboarders have tended not to look very closely at these films. They mostly do not care. Skateboarders meanwhile care far too much to care exactly why. In any case, it’s here that an attempt toward a poetics of skateboarding must begin."



"Nor can we call such an effort unselfish. My own struggle with the mystery of skateboarding began five years ago, fifteen after I first stepped onto a board, when I began work on my second novel. The problem I encountered was that none of skateboarding’s confectionary can or should be dismissed. Speaking technically and contra Ian Mackaye, skateboarding today is a sport and a hobby both, along with countless other things: a therapy, an obsession, a conservative anti-drug. In its basic meaninglessness, skateboarding has become the tool that takes the shape of whoever’s hand it’s in."



"What in those first years had fit awkwardly into a de facto rubric of athletics—a sport to be timed and judged for athletic merit—became in the 1970s something more rhetorical. The ethos was the punk scavenging of revolution by way of repurposing. Whatever prefigurations of the object we had seen, never before had they been deployed creatively. To speak in China Mieville’s terms, what emerged was something counterposed to the comfort of the uncanny. The activity, new, unrecognized, and bounded only by imagination, was abcanny."



"While the basic spirit of skateboarding might have remained constant since the addition of polyurethane, the marketplace around it quite obviously has not. Now and once again the importance of skateboarding in our time is on the increase. Today, it is on Fox. It is on ESPN with real-time algorithms for evaluating tricks. Once more the marketplace would have us comprehend skateboarding as a sport.

We know on first glance that skateboarding, in its dominant form of street activity, stands apart from ball and net athletics. It seems uninterested, too, in velocity and stopwatch performances. But the first challenge to the rubric of sport begins even lower, at a semiotic level. You and I could, if we wanted, go and shoot lazy jumpshots on a netless schoolyard hoop, or go to the driving range and smack buckets of balls into the green void. We can take our gloves to the park and throw grounders and pop flies and apply tags to invisible runners. But for any of these to qualify as “basketball,” “golf,” or “baseball,” we would require the structure of competition and order of rules.

Systems such as these have no bearing on skateboarding, of which even the most negligible acts, no matter how brief or private, simply are skateboarding. Consider: between my home and the nearest skatepark is a well-paved boulevard with sewer caps embedded into the blacktop every half block or so. A source of joy for me is to push down this boulevard and pop tiny ollies over these sewer caps, sometimes barely scraping my tail, other times popping hard and pulling my knees up to my chest. These are not tricks proper, just ways to see and engage with the street’s reality. This is not, as athletes might call it, practice; I am not training for a future event. It is travel, yes, but the joy has little to do with the scenery or distance covered. In the purview of skate competition, this pushing down the boulevard, the single most fun I have in any given day, is not a scorable act of skateboarding. It is worth zero and it is worth everything.

In a world increasingly data-driven and surveilled, skateboarding lives beneath scoring and resists all datazation by establishing everything as a performance. It deflects the surveillance state by its primal devotion to documenting and sharing itself, monitoring every possible development, repetition, and failure. It pre-empts the onslaught of observation by embracing it. To pre-empt is to deflect, but also to admit defeat. Luckily, skateboarders are shameless—in this way, they’re the perfect actors to play the role of themselves.

Our potential heuristic now approaches what literary and cultural theorists today speak of, with a smirk, as the so-called authentic self. But a skater, whether standing on his stage, behind a camera, or at a keyboard, sees and thinks and performs precisely as what and who he is. What other memberships function in this or a similar manner? Parenthood. Romantic partnership. Citizenship. Does artistry?

***

To date, the most complete attempt to theorize skateboarding has been Iain Borden’s Skateboarding, Space and the City: Architecture and the Body (Berg, 2001). Borden, a Professor of Architecture and Urban Culture at The Bartlett, University College London, treats the activity of skateboarding as a Lefebvrian practice with a potential to become its own sort of architecture: not of construction, but by the “production of space, time, and social being.” He traces the history of skateboarding into the 1990s’ street skating movement, and speaks of the way this “oppositional subculture” rethinks architecture “as a set of discrete features and elements…recomposing it through new speeds, spaces and times.” The gears of capitalism create spaces in which behavior is prescribed and easily accounted for. Skateboarding’s opposition is thus a compositional process, partially of the individual body, which is recomposed against the “intense scopic determinations of modernist space,” and partially of a deeper critique of urban life: “production not as the production of things but of play, desires and actions.”"



"By contrast, today’s most compelling skateboarding films aim to capture not only the play of skateboarding, but enact what Borden calls the “positive dialectic that restlessly searches for new possibilities of representing, imagining and living our lives.” The “Panoramic Series” from Philip Evans, for example, relieves the actor from the full burden of attention. Here Evans follows Phil Zwijsen through his hometown of Antwerp:"



"The skater, Austyn Gillette, appears only after the environmental context, resulting in a portrait not of one or the other, but both. The subject is, as skateboarding’s always has been in practice, the interactions between city and individual body. Alongside recent work by Mike Manzoori, Evan Schiefelbine and select others, these films find energy beyond the progressive trickery of athletics, or the documentation of extant geographies. They combine the skateboarder’s practice—creative, productive—with a distinctly non-skateboarding meta-awareness of the activity’s potential for meaning. Their grounding within the geist of skateboarding is obvious: there is nothing a skater spots more quickly than the fraud, or tourist. These are films made by skateboarders who have lived within the activity’s world, and who choose to leverage the activity as a tool to understand itself. How long, they ask, must a toy endure before it becomes something else? What does it become, and does this mean it has ceased to be a toy?"



"Roberto Bolaño called surrealism “something convulsive and vague, that familiar amorphous thing.” If indeed there is ever to be a poetics of skateboarding, familiarity will have to play a role. Suvin argued that science fiction’s value lay in its ability to effect cognitive estrangement. Campbell’s film documents and creates ostranenie by the re-presentation of a familiar world as captured by, and portrayed through, the glance of the radical dreamer. In fact, what Cuatros does better than any film I’ve seen is remind us that skateboarding’s heuristic usefulness is ontological. Its topos is not that there is a world inside the world, but rather: there is a world the exact shape and texture of the world that you know laid seamlessly over top of it, and you, for some reason, fail to see how beautiful it can be.

Convulsive, vague, and conveyed by slidy looks. Campbell’s subject is our ineffable, binding thing, that lurking, trembling essence that he can only render by images and motions of the surreal. The artist whose art was born from skateboarding has made an object about skateboarding that conveys this birth and mode of being. Skateboarding infects the filmmaker infects the musicians infects the viewer. Viewer goes out skating. Skateboarding is self-perpetuating in this way. It is always itself and something else, it is infectious, it is comprehensive and sublatable to the core. This is how the infinite comes to be—once born, skateboarding can never now die.

But the dreamscape of Cuatros Sueños Pequeños is not an expression of this infinity. Rather, it is mimetic. What world is this?, asks the skateboarder. A familiar one we have seen so many times that it’s rendered unseeable. More importantly, what is to be done in it? The answer, like Campbell’s film, is incoherent, and thank goodness. The answer is anything at all."
skating  skateboarding  skateboards  quantification  measurement  urban  urbanism  surveillance  iainborden  meaning  film  video  robertobolaño  thomascampbell  cuatrosueñospequeños  performance  datazation  repetition  monitoring  failure  documentation  process  capitalism  henrilefebvre  space  place  play  culture  movement  infectiousness  inspiration  feral  ecosystems  socialbeing  time  architecture  landscape  kylebeachy  understanding  experience  robertzemeckis  pontusalv  punk  metrics  schematics  markets  poetics  filmmaking  darkosuvin  sciencefiction  ianmackaye  technology  history  circumstance  california  socal  sports  chinamieville  abcanny  zines  creativity  competition  commercialization  commercialism  commoditization  diy  systems  rules  revolution  resistance  practice  authenticity  artistry  philipevans  philzwijsen  colinkennedy  stasis  motion  austyngillette  mikemanzoori  evanschiefelbine  javiermendizabal  madarsapse  dondelillo  cities  meaninglessness  participation  participatory  democracy  tribes  belonging  identity  spirituality  social  socializati 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Matthew Battles: Going Feral on the Net: the Qualities of Survival in a Wild, Wired World on Vimeo
"How do we balance the empowering possibilities of the networked public sphere with the dark, unsettling, and even dangerous energies of cyberspace? Matthew Battles blends a deep-historical perspective on the internet with storytelling that reaches into its weird, uncanny depths. It’s a hybrid approach, reflecting the web’s way of landing us in a feral state—the predicament of a domestic creature forced to live by its imperfectly-rekindled instincts in a world where it is never entirely at home. The feral is a metaphor—and maybe more than just a metaphor—for thriving in cyberspace, a habitat that changes too rapidly for anyone truly to be native. This talk will weave critical and reflective discussion of online experience with a short story from Battles’ new collection, The Sovereignties of Invention."
feral  matthewbattles  internet  via:tealtan  2012  web  online  cyberspace  networkculture  dogs  storytelling  paulford  everchanging  uncertainty  unnatural  discomfort  middlegrounds  survival  wild  caution  nomansland 
june 2014 by robertogreco
adventures in the cryptoforest by wilfried hou je bek | THE STATE
[Wayback: https://web.archive.org/web/20160326122643/http://www.thestate.ae/wilfried-hou-je-bek-cryptoforest/ ]

"Cryptoforests are feral forests—planted tree zones, for instance along motorways, that have been allowed to become wild to the point that their wildness is outgrowing their manmadeness. They are in limbo forests—tree-covered plots that feel like forests but technically probably aren’t; states of vegetation for which lay-language has no name. They are incognito forests—forests that have gone cryptic and are almost invisible; forests in camouflage, forests with a talent for being ignored. They are precognitive forests—lands that are on the brink of becoming forested, a future forest fata morgana. And they are unappreciated forests—forests regarded as zones of waste and weed, forests shaming planners, developers, and the neighbourhood. NIMBY forestry.

Cryptoforestry is a psychogeographic art; the above is therefore not a definitive list and only serves as a pointer for serendipitous search and identification. Generally speaking, a cryptoforest is either a place that looks like a forest but isn’t, or a forest that nobody knows about. But there is no need for cryptoforest fundamentalism. A cryptoforest is a place where the urban is discontinued; a disturbed place where fast-growing, weedy, plants can thrive. I have found beautiful abandoned car parks where grasses were flowering through the cracks of the pavement and the blackberry, my perennial companion whenever I go cryptoforesting, was only just spreading its first thorny fangs across the paving. I think of such places as cryptoforests even though not a single tree grows there.

All cryptoforests are unique and they all have their own story to tell, but the word I desperately—and mostly unsuccessfully—try to stay away from is ‘nature.’ The easiest way to relate to cryptoforests is by describing them as places where the city has temporarily retreated, and nature has been given the chance to grow undisturbed. It’s a description that goes a long way, but one which suffers from its lack of precision and for the way it implies a rigid distinction between city and nature—and by extension, between people and nature. People are nature; cities are part of nature, though not of a natural origin, and no nature has been left untouched."



"Cryptoforestry argues that you shouldn’t let your image of a city be determined only by what is built, but also by what remains empty. A place may be free of buildings but that does not mean that it is devoid of relevance and adventure. Cryptoforests offer a unique experience. Find them, enter them, take your friends there, be careful, and become a native; you never know what you will find."
landscape  precognitiveforests  forests  feral  plants  vegetation  cryptoforests  cryptoforestry  2012  via:chrisberthelsen  wilfredhoujebek 
may 2012 by robertogreco
Anonymous 101: Introduction to the Lulz | Threat Level | Wired.com
"The trickster isn’t the good guy or the bad guy, it’s the character that exposes contradictions, initiates change and moves the plot forward. One minute, the loving and heroic trickster is saving civilization. A few minutes later the same trickster is cruel, kicking your ass and eating babies as a snack.

The conversation about Anonymous points to this trickster nature, veering between praise and fear, with the media at a loss for even how to describe them…

The point is Anonymous, despite the false shock of contemporary news reporting, isn’t sui generis. It’s not a surprise, and it didn’t spring fully formed from the forehead of Ceiling Cat.

In this place and time, with the exhaustion of political discourse, the overwhelming pressures of modern life, and rise of the internet, the stochastic network organism of Anonymous was inevitable."

[See also: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/10/quinn-norton-occupy/ ]
lulz  anonymous  quinnnorton  feral  hacktivism  hacking  media  culture  anarchism  4chan  history  ows  occupywallstreet  2011  scientology  trickster 
november 2011 by robertogreco
The Call of the Feral | HiLobrow
"Like weeds, we grow in disturbed soil, subsiding between progress and collapse. And yet the very qualities of the feral, qualities that condition our thriving — anonymity, wariness, curiosity — have a way of shading imperceptibly into liabilities.…In London’s Wild we find much that is glowering and judgmental —a gospel of the strong — an exaltation of the primordial qualities of the Law.

The feral, by contrast, is the quality of having no qualities…

we should presume that the feral will only gain in importance in years to come. For as power evades the work of politics, infiltrating the circuits that connect consciousness to consciousness; as the planet urbanizes, filling up with walls to hem us in; as the climate tilts inexorably under the deranging influence of that preeminent domesticated species, Homo sapiens; all creatures must learn to cultivate the feral qualities."

[See also: http://hilobrow.com/tag/feral-muse/ ]
matthewbattles  feral  anarchism  anarchy  literature  jacklondon  animals  deschooling  consciousness  zizek  anonymity  4chan  wariness  curiosity  callofthewild  tovejansson  dhlawrence  zygmuntbauman  jeanstafford  refugees  liquidtimes  thetruedeiver  themountainlion  thefox  progress  collapse  wilderness  wild 
september 2011 by robertogreco
Doors of Perception weblog: In Praise of the Feral: Update on Xskool
"Convention centres are expensive, filled with hard surfaces, and - unless you're in the convention business - somewhere else than the subjects discussed in them. Being separated from the thing itself, they tend to foster groupthink - and abstract groupthink at that.

A feral encounter, in contrast, is one that has changed from being domesticated, to untamed. It brings people into contact with the lived reality of a situation. It is guided by its context - not by an agenda, and not by a curriculum.

In preparing for the challenges ahead we need more of the latter kinds of encounter.

This is the main conclusion so far from the xskool story…

The xskool opportunity is real, and pressing. Every design school in the world could use its support. All that's missing is a framework and resources to make it happen as a distributed service."
johnthackara  education  xskool  feral  untamed  unschooling  deschooling  learning  context  2011  design  designeducation  lcproject  discussion  conversation  facilitators  events  community 
august 2011 by robertogreco
On Going Feral
"Cloudworker lifestyles…create a psychological transformation that is very similar to what happens when animals go feral. In animals, it takes a couple of generations of breeding for the true wild nature to re-emerge…But in humans it can happen faster, since most of our domestication is through education & socialization rather than breeding.

You might think that the true tabby-mutt human must live outside the financial system…that’s actually a mistaken notion, because that sort of officially checked-out  or actively nihilistic person is defined & motivated by the structure of human civilization. To rebel is to be defined by what you rebel against. Criminals & anarchists are civilized creatures. Feral populations are agnostic, rather than either dependent on, or self-consciously independent of, codified social structures. Feral cloudworkers use social structures where it accidentally works for them…and improvise ad-hoc self-support structures for the rest of their needs."
mobile  cloudworkers  cloudworking  venkateshrao  2009  feral  mutts  cv  society  socialization  deschooling  unschooling  illegiblepeople  illegibles  domestication  lordoftheflies  anarchism  anarchy  conformity  lifestyle  work  thirdplaces  introverts  neo-nomads  nomadism  nomads  telecommuting  labor  thirdspaces 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings? -- Daily Intel [Don't rely on the quotes here. Read the whole thing.]
"…should be a word for that feeling you get when an older person…shames himself by telling young people how to live…

Obviously, the Epiphinator will need to slim down in order to thrive, but a careful study of history shows how impossible it is to determine whether it can return to both power & glory, or whether its demise is imminent…

This moment of anxiety and fear will pass; future generations (there's now one every 3-4 years) will have no idea what they missed, & yet they will go on, marry, divorce, & own pets.

They may even work in journalism, not in the old dusty career paths…

We'll still need professionals to organize the events of the world into narratives, & our story-craving brains will still need the narrative hooks, the cold opens, the dramatic climaxes, & that all-important "■" to help us make sense of the great glut of recent history that is dumped over us every morning. No matter what comes along streams, feeds, & walls, we will still have need of an ending."
technology  media  socialmedia  facebook  privacy  paulford  narrative  jonathanfranzen  zadiesmith  billkeller  zeyneptufekci  life  wisdom  journalism  storytelling  endings  epiphinator  love  living  stevejobs  commencementspeeches  wholeearthcatalog  stewartbrand  aaronsorkin  2011  nuance  feral  unfinished  culture  internet  commencementaddresses 
july 2011 by robertogreco

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