My research starts from the idea that nature is deeply cultural. This has implications for how to understand agriculture, animals, nature and food: as locally situated and embedded in social as well as material relations. To study the 'moral geographies' around these themes I draw on a variety of approaches, from Science and Technology Studies (ethnography, history and philosophy of technology), as well as Animal Studies (multispecies ethnography) and the Environmental Humanities (arts and design, literary history, environmental philosophy). In combination these generate opportunities for experimental interventions within a 'more-than-human' geography.
What does it entail when we take nonhuman organisms seriously as political beings that somehow communicate with us? To what extent could material design - from landscapes to devices - play a role in learning to find new ways of living with wild and less wild others?
Ethics on the Farm
How can we understand the moral experiences of farmers? How do they practically integrate normative concerns in order to be a 'good farmer'? Focusing on how technological innovation shapes these experiences and ideas allows us to describe the moral dynamics as they occur on the farm. For instance the introduction of the milking robot, and subsequent attempts to create a mobile version of that.
Cultures of the Wild
Most large (and even many smaller) wild animals, especially in a country such as the Netherlands, are the product of breeding and management. To understand their behaviour, social meaning and perhaps even ecological role these animals should be understood as deeply cultural beings, whose present lives are the outcomes of human dreams and projections in continuous interaction with their own agency.
New technologies can be found to offer prime occasions for public debate on pressing issues. How do proposals for high rise pig farms ('Pig City'), or in-vitro meat (the production of meat from animal cells rather than an entire animal) make us reconsider existing food production practices? What kind of food cultures and moral subjects emerge in the wake of these technologies?
Arts and design interventions
The questions and issues described above can be explored and intervened in by artistic design. As part of my research I collaborate with artists and designers in search of new forms of publicly engaging with environmental and animal concerns in ways that ideally are both imaginative and hands-on.