What material is “good-to-think-with” in the environmental humanities?
William Cronon’s influential 1995 collection Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature features an album of “found objects” interspersed throughout the book. These found objects—texts, photographs, advertisements, paintings, and more—were used by the participants in the Humanities Research Institute seminar as concrete illustrations of their ideas and meeting points for their conversations. They are visual aids and openings for introducing complex histories and relationships and raising new ideas for consideration.
A similar experiment was undertaken at the Digital Publics and Environmental Humanities workshop held at the conference of the Association for Literature, Environment, Culture in Canada (August 2014, Thunder Bay). Participants were asked to bring objects or non-human agents as a starting point for discussing their research. During the short five-minute presentations, participants used various means to weave together their material objects with personal narrative. At the end of the workshop we asked: how can we use digital tools and technologies to transform our objects and narratives into online interactive exhibits?
The four exhibits on display here answer this question. Their differences reflect the types of research being done and the groupings of agents in each project. The exhibits are meant to reach a wider audience, using less text-based means of transmission. Enjoy exploring!
On Seal Skins and Hard Drives
Ashlee Cunsolo Willox
Ventolin: "Rescue Inhaler"?
Sweetgrass and Black Ash Basket