SC Conversations: Ecofeminism and the work of Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook

    Attending to the perspectives of animals, women, the mentally ill, villagers, and even the dead, Rasdjarmrearnsook allows a range of subjects—those that are often muted in "othered" social positions—to be heard in her video works. Rasdjarmrearnsook uses pedagogy and poetry to engage in an ecofeminist critique that reorders culturally delineated states of being, ignoring established hierarchies between animals, women, the poor, the sick, and the dead. This conversation brings together feminist philosopher Lori Gruen and Arnika Fuhrmann, a scholar focused on the aesthetic and political modernities of Southeast Asia, to discuss the complex issues of gender, animal rights, the politics of death, and the context of Thai culture. The discussion is moderated by Ruba Katrib, SculptureCenter Curator.

    Lori Gruen is currently Professor of Philosophy, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and Environmental Studies at Wesleyan University where she also coordinates Wesleyan Animal Studies. She has recently been elected as a Fellow of the prestigious Hastings Center for Bioethics. Professor Gruen has published extensively on topics in animal ethics, ecofeminism, empathy, and death. She is the author of three books on animal ethics, including Entangled Empathy (Lantern, 2015) and Ethics and Animals: An Introduction (Cambridge, 2011); the editor of five books including Ecofeminism: Feminist Intersections with Other Animals and the Earth with Carol J. Adams (Bloomsbury, July 2014) and the Ethics of Captivity (Oxford, May 2014); and the author of dozens of articles and book chapters. She has created a memorial website documenting the history of The First 100 chimpanzees in research in the US and has an evolving website that documents the journey to sanctuary of the remaining chimpanzees in research labs, The Last 1000.

    Arnika Fuhrmann is Assistant Professor of Southeast Asian Studies at Cornell University and an interdisciplinary scholar of Southeast Asia, working at the intersections of the region's aesthetic and political modernities. Her book manuscript Ghostly Desires (forthcoming with Duke UP) examines how Buddhist-coded anachronisms of haunting figure struggles over sexuality, personhood, and notions of collectivity in contemporary Thai cinema. In a new research project, Fuhrmann focuses on new media and how the study of the digital allows for a perspective on the political public sphere that transcends commonplace distinctions of liberalism and illiberalism. This project intersects with her interests in the transformation of cities in contemporary South/east Asia. Fuhrmann's recent writing has appeared in Discourse: Journal for Theoretical Studies in Media and Culture, Oriens Extremus, and positions: asia critique. Complementing her academic work, she also engages in cultural programming and works in the curatorial team of the Asian Film Festival Berlin.