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The World is a Verb

Image by Heather Wilde

The World is a Verb

Sarah Elisa Kelly

This course will explore creative and critical ways to subvert socially and ecologically destructive cultural narratives that undermine our capacity for radical interconnection. It will provide an introduction to ideas of kinship, the ecological self and philosophical animism through the lens of feminist multispecies theory. We will position our wordly relationships-relationscapes as modes of practice, something we might both tend to and actively cultivate.


Drawing on Tim Ingold’s “arts of noticing”, Freya Mathew’s invitation to “become an animateur” and Sylvia Wynter’s On Being Human as Praxis we will explore both the value and dangers of understanding ourselves through entanglement. 


We will go on to “kindle kin” informed by the work of Robin Wall Kimmerer, Val Plumwood, Deborah Bird Rose and Andreas Weber among others -- perspective-shifting our way towards a sense of ecological eros, poetic ontology and enchantment in a world of vibrancy. 


Finally we will respond to Freya Mathew’s provocation that “the point is not to explain the world, but to sing it”, critically discussing the social, political and ethical implications of such a stance. We will ask how our becoming-with-world might open other kinds of possibilities and generative pathways ahead.


1. the world is a verb

2. arts of noticing

3. kindling kin

4. animateur poetics

5. an erotic ecology

6. “…but to sing it”

Sample Bibliography


Akomolafe, B. (2017) These Wilds Beyond our Fences. North Atlantic Books

Abram, D. (1996) The Spell of the Sensuous. New York: Vintage

Bennett, J. (2009) Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things. Durham: Duke UP.

Braidotti, R. (2014) The Posthuman. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Gibson-Graham, J.K. (2008) ‘Diverse economies: performative practices for ‘other worlds’, Human Geography, Vol. 32, No. 5, pp. 613-632.

Haraway, D. (2016) Staying with the Trouble. Durham: Duke UP

Ingold, T. (2015) Being Alive to a World Without Objects, in Harvey, G. (ed.) The Handbook of Contemporary Animism, London and New York: Routledge

Manning, E. (2009) Relationscapes Movement, Art, Philosophy. Cambridge Mass: MIT.

Mathews, F. (2021) The Ecological Self, Oxon: Routledge

Morton, T. (2017) Humankind: Solidarity with Non-Human People. London: Verso.

Plumwood, V. (2002) Environmental Culture. Oxon: Routledge.

Rose, D.B. (2013) ‘Val Plumwood’s Philosophical Animism: attentive inter- actions in the sentient world’, Environmental Humanities, Vol. 3, pp. 93-109

Van Dooren et al. (2022) Kin. Durham and London: Duke UP.

Weber, A. (2017) Matter and Desire: An Erotic Ecology. Vermont: Chelsea Green

Wynter, S. (2015) On Being Human as Praxis. Durham and London: Duke UP.

Yunkaporta, T. (2020) Sand Talk. New York: Harper Collins

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