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Lecture with David Abram - "The Commonwealth of Breath: Climate and Consciousness in Animistic Perspective"

Bridging environmental studies with philosophy and anthropology, entwining natural history with theology and psychology, Dr. Abram will counterpose the theoretical abstraction of much climate discourse by discussing a range of indigenous, place-based understandings of our planet's atmosphere and climate. By listening close to the diverse ways that air, weather, and climate are spoken of by diverse indigenous oral traditions, we may begin to discern the elemental atmosphere in a far more palpable manner, as a sensuous yet enigmatic dimension of reality intimately bound up with human activity, with spoken language, and even with sentience itself – that is, with the full-bodied sentience not only of humans but of other animals, of plants, and of the animate earth itself. 

David Abram, Ph.D., cultural ecologist and geophilosopher, is the author of Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology, and of The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-than-Human World. A close student of the traditional ecological knowledge systems of indigenous cultures around the world, Abram advocates for a reappraisal of "animism" as a complexly nuanced and ecologically viable worldview. A distinguished teaching fellow of Schumacher College in England, Abram recently held the international Arne Naess Chair in Global Justice and the Environment at the University of Oslo. Abram also serves as creative director of the Alliance for Wild Ethics (AWE).

This event is sponsored by the Anthropology Department, the Psychology Department, and the Sustainability Committee

Wednesday, April 17, 2019 at 4:30pm to 6:00pm

Psychology, 105
3203 SE Woodstock Blvd, Portland, OR 97202, USA

Event Type

Lecture

Audience

Faculty, Students, Alumni, Open to the Public, Staff, Prospective Students

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Nick Egan

Nick Egan left a negative review 4/16/2019

Disappointingly unfocused and the lecture largely consisted of describing a laundry list of indigenous cosmologies and equating them together. While the comparative representation of 'breath' equating life in multiple different linguistic families was interesting, and so was his in-depth analysis of the origins of Hebrew language, at the same time it felt objectifying without any real critique of why world-conscious philosophies have been and are being destroyed.
It was also inappropriate to describe multiple Native American tribes by their lack of a written language. Petroglyphs exist, as do other forms of record. Just because it doesn't follow the alphabet doesn't mean it isn't as historical as any other written record.