Joshua LaBare Research Proposal: The Ecology of Everyday Life As a concept and a practice, adaptation is vital to ecological thinking

and vital, therefore, to the futures of human life on Earth. In The Ecology of Everyday Life I turn my expertise in theorizing science fiction as a mode of awareness towards the quotidian, asking both how we humans can better adapt ourselves to our changing global environment and how our environments might be better adapted to us. Engaging with both globalization and ecology as worlding practices, this project frames adaptation as a scale-making process by which the local is made global and the global local. Rethinking and redesigning contemporary worldaround technoscientific and technocapitalist modes of everyday living is, I argue, absolutely essential – before it becomes necessary to “terraform” the Earth and make it humanly habitable again. In my dissertation, “Farfetchings: on and in the sf mode”, I argue that science fiction (sf) is best considered not as a genre of literature or film but as a mode of awareness available to many different media and social practices. Mobilizing an array of what I call “sf fx”, “Farfetchings” traces the translations or adaptations of these special effects in order to elucidate a common ground for different expressions of the sf mode. While the sf genre arguably provides a privileged space for thinking about literary and filmic adaptations, in my own work I have always been more interested in how the form and content of the genre have been adapted to fit other purposes – for example, in the theology of L. Ron Hubbard, the music of Sun Ra, or the lectures and writings of R. Buckminster Fuller. Well-versed in the history and workings of the sf genre, in my dissertation and other writings I focus on the ways that sf has powerfully structured our contemporary worldaround ensemble. We live, as many have suggested, in a science-fictional world, one where the farfetched and unimaginable quickly become yesterday’s news. Don’t believe the hype, it’s a changing same, etc., and yet – something has happened, is happening, and will keep happening that is

Ontario. a local interbreeding population with a single fate. Indeed. Gaia theory. in articulating LaBare 91 Weber street East Kitchener. asking in particular how we can adapt ourselves to an increasingly science fictional globalizing situation. adaptation is best considered a process of mutual relating rather than something that one being does to or in another. Spaceship Earth. and global warming – make the link between ecology and globalization quite clear. In other words. mass extinction. take a lot more than a few alternate energy sources to change our trajectory. ability. in The Ecology of Everyday Life I aim instead to encourage a symbiogenesis of the quotidian. one in which global warming. implying in the process that all humans on Earth be considered one deme. Eschewing that teleological heresy of evolutionary theory known as “adaptationism”. no matter creed. to paraphrase ecological sf writer John Brunner. sex. to bring the human species and much of the other life on Earth back from the brink of extinction. ecology – “household knowledge” – provides an important context for thinking about adaptation. The project I am calling The Ecology of Everyday Life takes this as its starting point. N2H-1C6 T 519-741-5239 shalabare@gmail. what is important here is to note that all organisms both adapt to their environments and adapt their environments to themselves. While I applaud and support the efforts of planetary humanism – a practical philosophy that seeks to extend rights or respect to all humans. then. As with the central insight of James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis’s Gaia theory.2 somehow “science fictional” in scope. “ecology” not only demands that we distinguish these two but also that we recognize that no clear distinction can hold. sexual orientation or gender – my own path is in going beyond humanism. Who. it . and a forever war on terror inform the texture and tenor of our day-to-day existence. organisms are each others’ environments. both globalization and ecology remake time and space. Many of the contemporary and recent catchphrases of ecology – e.g. Like evolution itself. Given the deep roots of anthropocentrism and human exceptionalism in globalizing Euro-American societies. adapts to whom? As with the related concept of “domestication” – “bringing into the home” –. I argue. one in which not only the goals but also the agents of adaptation are never known in advance. as exercises in science-fictional worlding. color. Coined by biologist Ernst Haeckel to refer to the study of the relations between organisms and their environments.

3 new ways of relating with not only other plants. Relationship to dissertation: My dissertation – “Farfetchings: on and in the sf mode” – addresses two concerns that are for me inextricably entangled: science fiction (sf) as a way of thinking about the world and radical ecological ethics. human ecological adaptation is a global issue – but these new ways of relating with nonhuman beings not only can but must begin in the local. in The Ecology of Everyday Life I insist that from moment to moment we can choose the futures. both in the sense of adapting to our rapidly changing global environment and in the sense of redesigning that environment to better fit our needs and the needs of other life on Earth. and science fiction . this project involves tracing networks that hook things. and pasts that we create. Giving up over and over again the ideologies of both ecological doom and ecological salvation. Well-versed in the creation of new world views. “the rainforest” – or at some vaguely defined point in the futures. encouraging the investigation of vast webs of hidden connections. thinking at strange scales both big and small. Calling on methods and concepts drawn from science studies. and telling tales of first contact. presents. as futurist Ervin László has suggested. While intelligence and tool-use may provide humanity with an adaptive trump card in the short term. animal studies. animals. LaBare 91 Weber street East Kitchener. Ontario. and microbes. in making first contact here and now rather than out there – in. humans. say. but also with those material things that are the basis of all life and those mutable ideas that are the basis of all thought. imagining vast spatiotemporal frames. much like those often invisible connections that allow ecologies to function. other animals and ideas together in often surprising ways. they may not actually correspond to a longer-term survival advantage. sf offers an excellent resource for thinking about human adaptation. N2H-1C6 T 519-741-5239 shalabare@gmail. Yes. Combined with what people in the sf community call “sense of wonder” – the affective engagement that sf is said to create – this mode of attention might serve to remind us that contemporary ecological ethics is first and foremost a question of adaptation.

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