A Humanities Online Reading Course
Session Four|11.05.2023|4-6pm (HKT)
Dr. Bidisha Banerjee is Associate Head and Associate Professor of English in the Literature and Cultural Studies Department at the Education University of Hong Kong. Dr. Banerjee's research and teaching interests include postcolonial studies, diaspora and refugee studies, and cultural studies. She is the Principal Investigator of a transdisciplinary, collaborative project called Thanatic Ethics: The Circulation of Bodies in Migratory Spaces as well as a RGC funded project titled Spaces of Precarity: Migration, Spatiality and the Rxefugee Graphic Narrative. Her monograph, Traces of the Real: The Absent Presence of Photography in South Asian Literature, is forthcoming with Liverpool University Press in 2023. She has published in journals like Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Journal of Postcolonial Writing, Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, and has co-edited a forthcoming issue of Interventions. Dr. Banerjee is the Associate Director of the International Research Centre for Cultural Studies (IRCCS) at EdUHK.
From a feminist and activist area of science and technology studies (STS), Maria Puig de la Bellacasa has been engaged in various social movements, while developing her ideas of eco-commoning as situated practices that rely on the co-creation of life in the inter- related webs of humans and non-human species. These practices are based on the relationship between humans and non-humans, thus conceived as “more than human.” Puig de la Ballacasa’s book Matters of Car: Speculative Ethics in More than Human Worlds opens feminist care discourse to speculative practices in STS and permaculture. The book charts the care relations of obligation and responsibility in more than human worlds, and thus develops an understanding of ethics that is not based on moral normativity, but situated in interdependency in concrete living environments. Puig Puig de la Bellacasa turns towards care as a theoretical analysis and as a way of thinking through other-than-human or more-than- human interactions.
-A Summary Review by Jose Duke Bagulaya with support from Eric Feng
Reading & Discussion
Below are excerpts from texts cited by Puig de la Bellacasa as articulating a “generic definition” of care, followed by her return to this definition in her book’s coda. -Jeff
Fisher and Tronto 1990, p40:
Tronto 1993, p103:
Puig de la Bellacasa, p 217:
Feel free to write down any questions or comments regarding the reading materials for Session 4 HERE.
A Shift from the Epistemological to the Ontological and an Introduction to the Book
Care includes everything that we do to maintain, continue, and repair our world so that we can live in it as well as possible. That world includes our bodies, ourselves, and our environment, all of which we seek to interweave in a complex life-sustaining web. And then Toronto has reiterated it in her moral boundaries. Maria Puig de la Bellacasa is trying to move away from this definition and focus instead on relational ontology.
When I read it, the manner in which the book was written, put you in a state of kind of scholarly scrutiny. But listening to you, talk about the book and explain many of the tools, put me in a different state. I feel I'm almost very heavy-hearted after this presentation. You no longer think of things that she wants to evoke in you as a kind of scholarly response. Rather, it's more of a feeling of tragedy, a sadness.
💖Heartfelt thanks to Dr. Bidisha Banerjee for leading another incredible session of Theorizing Care, where she provided a captivating introduction and conclusion to Bellacasa’s ‘Matters of Care’, one of the most influential books on the subject.
In this 2 hours robust intellectual ride, we explored topics from the epistemological and ontological aspects of care to the ethico-political obligations tied to it. We also stimulated discussions on the speculative approach to care, the significance of situated knowledge in showcasing care, the intersection of care and academia, caring for sentinel animals and the technological aspects of care…We hope each of you have had a great time with us!