Doing Animist Research in Academia: A Methodological Framework
AbstractEpistemologies, ontologies, and education based on colonial Eurocentric assumptions have made animism difficult to explicitly explore, acknowledge, and embody in environmental research. Boundaries between humans and the â€œnatural world,â€ including other animals, are continually reproduced through a culture that privileges rationality and the intellectual as primary ways of knowing, even though they have been repeatedly acknowledged as not enough to address increasingly pressing environmental concerns. I use my own doctoral research journey to explore possible methods for working with nonhuman â€œpersonsâ€ as co-participants in, rather than objects of, research. Through the identification and use of a dialogic methodology and methods, I show how animism, as an enacted epistemology, can be incorporated into an approach to research and its representation in multi-media hypertext. By engaging animism as a paradigmatic framework for research, environmental educators can respond to repeated calls for epistemological diversity, and more significantly, make use of research approaches that support the explicit acknowledgement of other-than-human contributors to knowledge-making.