Maria Puig de la Bellacasa (Reader)
AHRC Leadership Fellow
I work at the crossing of science and technology studies, feminist theory and the environmental humanities. My most recent book Matters of Care. Speculative Ethics in More than Human Worlds (Minnesota University Press, 2017) attempts to connect a feminist materialist tradition of critical thinking on care with debates on more than human ontologies and ecological practices. I am currently researching the ongoing formations of novel ecological cultures, looking at how connections between scientific knowing, social and community movements, and art interventions are contributing to transformative ethics, politics and justice in troubled naturecultural worlds. I also look for interstitial spaces of knowing and doing that disrupt seemingly hegemonic technoscientific regimes – in particular everyday forms of ecological care in minoritarian eco-social movements such as permaculture and material spiritualities. With a background in contemporary continental philosophy and constructivist and process philosophies, my earlier work was on feminist epistemologies, the transformations of the politics of knowledge production, scientific practice and technological innovations in the ‘knowledge economy’.
Feminist science and technology studies; politics of care; ecological thinking; eco-social movements; materialist spiritualities.
I joined CIM in September 2018. I am currently an AHRC Leadership Fellow and have been a Marie Curie Fellow and an ARC Research Fellow. From 2010 to 2018 I was an Associate Professor at the School of Management, University of Leicester (2010-2018) and previously (2008-2010) a research associate at the School of Geography and Planning, Cardiff University and visiting scholar at the School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University. From 2006-2008 I was a Marie Curie International Research Fellow at the Department of History of Consciousness and the Center for Cultural Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz. I started my academic trajectory with an ARC Research Fellow at the department of Philosophy, of the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium (1998-2002). I hold a PhD and an MA in Philosophy and an MSc in Transdisciplinary Studies, all from the Université Libre de Bruxelles.
Current Research Projects
The first one is an exploration of changes in human-soil relations and I have recently been awarded an AHRC Leadership Fellowship to undertake further research and engagement activities in this area. Inspired by a range of interventions, practices and materials from science, community activism, art, and soil policy and advocacy I explore the metamorphic potential of contemporary human-soil encounters that happen beyond the usual constituencies and uses of soil for production. By thinking transversally across fields and interventions attempting to change the ways we relate to soils, I hope to contribute to nurturing everyday ecological awareness and to a re-connection to soils tuned to radical decolonial notions of more than human belonging. I am developing this work in a book in progress, When the Name for World is Soil. Transforming Human-Soil Affections Through Science, Culture and Community
A second interconnected project, Embracing Breakdown, is a search of an ethos of sharing and passing on of matter – nutrients, energy, elements. Stirred by anxieties about damages brought in the present by the compounded legacies of industrialism, and learning from soils to appreciate the magical elemental necessity of breaking down matter, I look into fields of practice – such as bioremediation science and activism, landscape restoration, urban gardening – that are confronting damaging manufactured compounds in local enactments of altered biogeochemical processes – in particular a disrupted nitrogen cycle by nutrient pollution. I look at these as spaces of experimentation where the recalcitrant resistance of built up manufactured matter to degradation and recirculation disrupts the fascination with life as productivity and endurance and requires an ecopoiesis for assisting breakdown.
Finally, I am a co-Investigator in the project Mending the New: A Framework for Reconciliation Through Testimonial Digital Textiles in the Transition to Post-Conflict Rural Colombia (UKRI Newton-Colciencias ODA Award 2018-2020) which develops a framework for reconciliation with communities which have been crafting textiles and have been severely affected by the armed conflict. Rather than just documenting memories of war, textile crafting generates spaces of common reflection and has a healing, restorative and constructive potential that negotiates memory and reconciliation. It is specifically this novel dimension of textile crafting that this project is designed to illuminate. Research on textile crafting offers the unique and exceptional opportunity to investigate reconciliation in a context that brings together everyday practice, the realities of the conflict, the possibility of healing and the rebuilding of the social fabric towards a post-conflict society.
Online talks & Podcasts:
Future Ecologies: Compounds, Breakdown, Reparation, Podcast with Maria Puig de la Bellacasa and Dimitris Papadopoulos, HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin, Germany, April 21, 2021, Available to listen here: https://burningfutures.podigee.io/9-future-ecologies-compounds-breakdown-reparation and here: https://open.spotify.com/episode/7EHCFUWVIynotbBi7aO1dF?si=Bb3Czo7hRWu1H1KaJlPt_A
Critical Breakdown, Thinking Through the Crises Lecture series, Amsterdam Research Centre for Gender and Sexuality, Online Lecture Series, 25 March 2021.
When the word for world is soil. Notes on the troubles of ecological belonging, talk at The Understory of the Understory, Serpentine Galleries, 5 December 2020.
Embracing Breakdown - Re-thinking the human soil community with care, Keynote at the Conference of Women and Gender Studies in German-speaking Countries (KEG),“(Re-) Visions. Epistemologies, Ontologies and Methodologies of Gender Studies, FernUniversität, Hagen, 4 July 2019.
Conversation on Matters of Care with Dominic Boyer and Cymene Howe, Cultures of Energy podcast -- 5 July 2018 : Available here
Monographs and edited volumes
Puig de la Bellacasa, Maria (2017), Matters of care: speculative ethics in more than human worlds, Posthumanities, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press (258 pages)
Puig de la Bellacasa, Maria (2014) Les savoirs situés de Sandra Harding et Donna Haraway. Science et épistemologies féministes, Paris : L’Harmattan (250 pages)
Puig de la Bellacasa, Maria (2013), Politiques féministes et construction des savoirs. « Penser nous devons ! » Paris : L’Harmattan (246 pages)
Bauchspies, Wenda & Puig de la Bellacasa, Maria (2009), Re-tooling technologies: exploring the possible through feminist science studies, Special issue, Subjectivity 28, Palgrave, September
Rassel, Laurence & Puig de la Bellacasa, Maria, (eds.) (2006), Stitch and split. Bodies and territories in science fiction, Barcelona: Fundación Tapiés
(in preparation) Puig de la Bellacasa, Maria, When the name for world is soil. Transforming human-soil affections across science, culture and community
Papadopoulos, D., Puig de la Bellacasa, M. & Myers, N., (eds.). 2021) Reactivating Elements. Substance, Actuality and Practice between Chemistry and Cosmology, Duke University Press.
Journal articles and book chapters
Puig de la Bellacasa, Maria (2019) The re-animation of soil: transforming human-soil relations across science, culture and community. The Sociological Review, 67 (2), 391-407 & The Sociological Review Monographs, Intimate Entanglements (Latimer, J. & Lopez D. eds) - Awarded the 2020 Article of the Year Prize of the Finnish Society for Aesthetics: https://estetiikka.fi/2020/article-of-the-year-2020/222
Puig de la Bellacasa, Maria (forthcoming 2021) Embracing breakdown. Soil ecopoethics and the ambivalences of remediation. In. Papadopoulos, D., & Puig de la Bellacasa, M. Myers, N.,(eds.), Re-Activating Elements. Substance, Actuality, and Practice from Chemistry to Cosmology, Duke University Press.
Robinson, David A., Fiona Seaton, Katrina Sharps, Amy Thomas, Francis Parry Roberts, Martine van der Ploeg, Laurence Jones, Jannes Stolte, Maria Puig de la Bellacasa, Paula Harrison, and Bridget Emmett (2017). Soil Resources, the Delivery of Ecosystem Services and Value. In. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Environmental Science, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Puig de la Bellacasa, Maria (2015) Making time for soil. Technoscientific futurity and the pace of care, Social Studies of Science, 45 (5), 691-716.
Puig de la Bellacasa, Maria (2014) Encountering bio-infrastructure. Ecological struggles and the sciences of soil. Social Epistemology, 28 (1): 26-40.
Puig de la Bellacasa, Maria (2016), Ecological thinking, materialist spirituality and the poetics of infrastructure. In. Boundary Objects and Beyond. Working with Leigh Star, Bowker, Geoff, Clarke, Adele & Stefan Timmermans (eds.) Cambridge: MIT Press: 47-68.
Latimer, Joanna & Puig de la Bellacasa, Maria (2013), Re-thinking the ethical: Everyday shifts of care in biogerontology, In. Priaulx, Nicky (ed.) Re-theorising the Ethical, Ethics, Law and Society Series, Volume V, London: Ashgate: 153-174.
IM934 - Ecological Futures: Transdisciplinary Approaches
Research Students Supervised
- Serena Zanzu, Humans, microbes and soils: A microbial ethnography, (Sociology, co-supervised with Lynn Petinger)
- Marisol Marin Rojas: The Care System, Sexual Workers and Child Protection in Colombia (University of Leicester)
CIM Research Director
Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies
University of Warwick
Email: Maria dot Puig-de-la-Bellacasa at warwick dot ac dot uk