Volume 4 of the Kinship series revolves around the question of interpersonal relations Which experiences expand our understanding of being human in relation to other-than-human beings?
We live in an astounding world of relations. We share these ties that bind with our fellow humans--and we share these relations with nonhuman beings as well. From the bacterium swimming in your belly to the trees exhaling the breath you breathe, this community of life is our kin--and, for many cultures around the world, being human is based upon this extended sense of kinship.
Kinship: Belonging in a World of Relations is a lively series that explores our deep interconnections with the living world. The five Kinship volumes--Planet, Place, Partners, Persons, Practice--offer essays, interviews, poetry, and stories of solidarity, highlighting the interdependence that exists between humans and nonhuman beings. More than 70 contributors--including Robin Wall Kimmerer, Richard Powers, David Abram, J. Drew Lanham, and Sharon Blackie--invite readers into cosmologies, narratives, and everyday interactions that embrace a more-than-human world as worthy of our response and responsibility.
Kinship spans the cosmos, but it is perhaps most life changing when experienced directly and personally. "Persons," Volume 4 of the Kinship series, attends to the personal--our unique experiences with particular creatures and landscapes. This includes nonhuman kin that become our allies, familiars, and teachers as we navigate a "world as full of persons, human and otherwise, all more-or-less close kin, all deserving respect," as religious studies scholar Graham Harvey puts it. The essayists and poets in the volume share a wide variety of kinship-based experiences--from Australian ecophilosopher Freya Mathews's perspective on climate-related devastation on her country's koalas, to English professor and forest therapy guide Kimberly Ruffin's reclamation of her "inner animal," to German biologist and philosopher Andreas Weber's absorption with and by lichen. Our kinships are interpersonal, and being "pried open with curiosity," as poet and hip-hop emcee Manon Voice notes in this volume, "Stir the first of many magicks."
Proceeds from sales of Kinship benefit the nonprofit, non-partisan Center for Humans and Nature, which partners with some of the brightest minds to explore human responsibilities to each other and the more-than-human world. The Center brings together philosophers, ecologists, artists, political scientists, anthropologists, poets and economists, among others, to think creatively about a resilient future for the whole community of life.
About the Author
Gavin Van Horn is the Creative Director and Executive Editor for the Center for Humans and Nature. His writing is tangled up in the ongoing conversation between humans, our nonhuman kin, and the animate landscape. He is the co-editor (with John Hausdoerffer) of Wildness: Relations of People and Place, and (with Dave Aftandilian) City Creatures: Animal Encounters in the Chicago Wilderness, and the author of The Way of Coyote: Shared Journeys in the Urban Wilds. If he's not up a tree or in a kayak, you can find Gavin slow-walking the footpaths, beaches, and forests of the Chicagoland area. Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer is a mother, botanist, writer and Distinguished Teaching Professor at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York and the founding Director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment. She is an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and a student of the plant nations. Her writings include Gathering Moss and Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants. As a writer and a scientist, her interests include not only restoration of ecological communities, but restoration of our relationships to land. She lives on an old farm in upstate New York, tending gardens domestic and wild. John Hausdoerffer is author of Catlin's Lament: Indians, Manifest Destiny, and the Ethics of Nature as well as co-author and co-editor of Wildness: Relations of People and Place and What Kind of Ancestor Do You Want to Be? John is the Dean of the School of Environment & Sustainability at Western Colorado University and co-founder of Coldharbour Institute, the Center for Mountain Transitions, and the Resilience Studies Consortium. John serves as a Fellow and Senior Scholar for the Center for Humans and Nature.