Teaching De-colonial Ecofeminism (Jan-Apr 2023)*
Updated: Mar 14
From last January until the end of April, I am lecturing on De-colonial Ecofeminism at my university Paris Cité (Paris 5 ). The course aims to introduce contemporary questions in the social sciences in English for Master's students whose primary language of learning is French.
In the 70s of India, the Sangh resorted to tree-hugging, or Chipko, to protect the forests of Gopeshwar from being demolished by rising regional industries.
A Palestinian woman mourns the loss of an olive tree that an Israeli soldier mercilessly uprooted.
This course reflects on what it means to think in a "de-colonial ecofeminist" way, especially while conducting research in the social sciences. As species, we are starting to grapple with the understanding that we are a cataclysmic biogeological agent leading to the sixth extinction on Earth. This realisation instigates a rigorous reconsideration of the ontological premises in the social sciences, provoking such an irreversible loss. Through its activist and theoretical endeavours, ecofeminism offers various perspectives that associate this disastrous collapse of ecosystems and biodiversity with a capitalist, white supremacist, and masculine habitus. The latter sustains itself by colonising women, nature, and the racialised others. It does so through mobilising interlocking mechanisms of subjugation and exploitation.
Accordingly, we will explore readings at the intersection of feminism, ecology, and de-colonialism. Such valuable texts create spaces of dwelling on recent questions (such as climate change, the Black Lives Matter movement, refugee crises etc.) with tools beyond the Eurocentric epistemological canon. This course offers a provocative reframing of our research apparatuses. Moreover, it seeks to help us develop critical standpoints towards undertaking sociological/anthropological research in an academic world dominated by a hegemonic colonial matrix of power. This semester, we aim to decolonise our spaces of imagination to probe the possibility of reinventing ourselves and the world around us.
· Providing a theoretical understanding of the nature and range of de-colonial ecofeminist discourse and thinking critically about the applicability of the social sciences to contemporary pressing issues.
· Helping students develop critical thinking and writing skills in English relevant to
recognising and evaluating ecofeminist and de-colonial theoretical positions.
· Affording a context in which students will formulate their interpretive frameworks for integrating a de-colonial ecofeminist approach, particularly related to their specific MA research projects.
· Reflecting on and inquiring about anthropological insights in a collective way.
*The preparation work for this course would not have been possible without Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions' financial support.