EEB Seminar – 3 December

This week, EEB presents Dr. Mick Smith of the Queen’s Departments of Philosophy and Environmental Studies. Dr. Smith will present:

Beatrix Potter and Ecological Community

What if our understandings of ecological community are not, and never have been just a matter of biology? What might it mean to think of ecological community as a term, a place, where scientific and philosophical, ethical, and socio-political understandings continually come into play, where the materiality of human history and the materiality of evolutionary history, and their various interpretations, are ineradicably entwined? Would such an understanding undermine ecology as a science? Would we just fall into a kind of curious admixture of the social and the natural better suited to Beatrix Potter’s stories?


Mick is jointly appointed between the Philosophy Department and the School of Environmental Studies here at Queen’s. He has a degree in Ecology from the University of York UK, where (many years ago) he was taught by, amongst others, John Lawton, Alistair Fitter and Mark Williamson – who, he would like to add, bear no responsibility for his turn to the philosophical dark side or his current state of ecological ignorance. He has a Master’s for work on the ecology of an obscure group of soil fungi and also one in Modern European Thought. He mis(spent) 4 years selling antiquarian books before completing a PhD at the University of Stirling, Scotland with the alluring title of “Humanism and Anti-humanism in Environmental Values”. He has since published lots of bizarre stuff at the intersection of ethics, politics, and the environment including papers in Environmental Ethics, Environmental Politics, The Trumpeter, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers etc. Among other books his favorites are An Ethics of Place: Radical Ecology, Postmodernity and Social Theory, (2001) SUNY and Against Ecological Sovereignty: Ethics, Biopolitics, and Saving the Natural World (2011) University of Minnesota Press. The material he will deliver today is part of work on an ongoing SSHRC Insight Grant entitled ‘Ethics, Politics, and Ecological Community’.

Host: Grogan

 The EEB Seminars run weekly, on Thursdays, in the EEB Lounge of the  BioSciences Complex, Room 4338, from 12:30-1:30pm. Light refreshments are served starting at 12:15.

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