Research Key Words:
Interspecies kinship; ecological anthropology; posthumanism; Anthropocene; Coast Salish; Indigenous culture and ontologies; Traditional ecological knowledge
The notion of humans as dominant over other life forms in Western society has had significant implications for the meaning of kinship, which has been reduced to a mere nuclear structure, consisting strictly of human beings related through shared biological substance. The exclusion of the non-human from conceptions of kinship has contributed to environmental issues including overpopulation and urban sprawl, which have propelled humans and non-humans into the Anthropocene.
In response to the environmental changes caused by human activity, I have proposed the need for a reconceptualization of kinship that extends beyond current bioessentialist understandings to include the non-human. In my research, I focus on exploring interspecies kinship, that is, “kindred intimacy between human and nonhuman animal” (Govindrajan 2015, 504), to question if the meaning of kinship in the west can be transformed to include the non-human?
Indigenous knowledges of the natural world will be researched to challenge current anthropocentric understandings of ‘family’. With this knowledge, I aim to explore the possibilities that exist for bridging Indigenous ontologies together with Western bioessentialst notions of kinship, as a means for fostering interspecies kinship and heightened environmental awareness.
Jordanna graduated from the University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus in 2019 with a BA in Anthropology and will be completing her MA under the supervision of professor Charles Menzies.