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When The Name for Earth is Soil

When The Name for Earth is Soil

Maria Puig de la Bellacasa speaking at the Centre for Exoplanets and Habitability (CEH) at the University of Warwick.

mars rover

Date and location: IAS Seminar Room: 3pm - 4pm, Wed, 19 Jun '19

When The Name for Earth is Soil - Ecological Ethics in Habitability Imaginaries

In recent years, soils have gained public attention as indispensable mediums for life as we know it. More generally, human-soil relations are being questioned in the midst of an ongoing environmental crisis affecting Earth soils. This presentation explores soil’s presence in cultural imaginaries of habitability that speculate with the possibility of (human) life in other planets. It is inspired by stories in film (The Martian, Interstellar) SF literature (Blue Mars, When the World for Word is Forest) gathered though my research on contemporary human-soil relations. In these, narratives of soil care and neglect connect imaginaries of an Earth rendered inhabitable to the exploring/making of “earth-like” habitable environments. Thinking from an eco-feminist perspective I explore preliminary questions on ecological ethics in cultural imaginaries of habitability. What perspectives on habitability can be generated when thinking with human-soil relations? More broadly, how do current visions of soil ecological catastrophes affect the ways we imagine living out of Earth?