Here's your chance to tackle tricky terms and theories. Use the menu to the right to find the term you're looking for.
The Anthropocene refers to the period of time that human activity has been the dominant impact on the world's climate and environment. According to the International Geological Congress, the Anthropocene started in the 1950s after the use of nuclear bombs. Other academics suggest it started in the 1800s during the Industrial Revolution, or even earlier. Before the Anthropocene the world was in a period of time called the Holocene, referring to the stable climate and environment after the last ice age.
There is a lot of academic debate surrounding the Anthropocene. Many believe this epoch (a particular moment in time and history) wrongly puts the blame of climate change and the ecological crisis on the whole human race, whereas actually it is the capitalist, often white and male, leaders who should be to blame.
To find out more about the Anthropocene, I would suggest reading this introduction from the National Geographic. This article from The Guardian is also useful to give you a general background as to where the Anthropocene has come from.
For those of you wanting to find out more about the academic debates surrounding the Anthropocene, I would definitely watch this video by American academic T. J. Demos, who explores other terms we should be using instead of the Anthropocene.
The canon is not a physical place or object. Instead it refers to a collection of artworks deemed as genuine, sacred and highly-skilled. Artworks were often chosen to be in the canon by Western, male scholars or critics. Anything in the canon would be hailed as 'the best of the best' and would be placed in the canon to be remembered forever. Works by Michelangelo, Shakespeare and Mozart would definitely be in the western canon.
Many academics and artists are trying to break through this male and western dominated canon. The Guerrilla Girls, an American feminist activist artist group, take on the names of female artists as their pseudonym to highlight the invisibility of female artists in the canon.
I would suggest reading this article in The New York Times to think about how the canon is changing in our modern and technological world.
Climate change refers to the change in global or regional climate patterns. These changes could include, but are not limited to: temperature change, changes to precipitation (rain), or a change in wind pattern. Climate change is not called weather change because climate refers to the changes of weather over a long period of time. Climate change is also different to global warming as global warming solely refers to the warming of the planet and not other changes to our weather systems. Global warming is therefore a part of climate change.
Many scientists believe climate change is largely attributed to human's use of fossil fuels and the resulting release of carbon dioxide into the Earth's atmosphere. To find out more about how climate change is having an impact on our planet already, check out this useful website from NASA.
Conservationism refers to the broad range of preserving techniques to make sure something lasts well into the future. This can relate to artworks, buildings, historical artefacts and (perhaps most relevant to Call Us Angels) ecology and nature. Conservationism and environmentalism (the movement concerned with the preservation of natural environments) has a long and complicated history, particularly within North America. Many of the initial conservationists in America, including Madison Grant, believed in white supremacy. Furthermore, conservationists like Grant believed white men only had a say in what natural areas should be preserved and for whom.
To understand the long, general history of conservationism, I would suggest having a look at this insightful web page.
For more information about Madison Grant and conservationism's racist history in America, click here.
The word disparity means a great difference. Throughout Call Us Angels I have often referred to the disparities between men and women, impacting how each gender will cope with the ecological crisis. Research from scientists Felipe Jaramillo Ruiz and Juan Pablo Vallejo suggests that women, particularly those living in poorer countries, will be disproportionately impacted by the ecological crisis as a result of the fact that women make up the majority of the world's poor, not men (2019). The ecological crisis will also cause further disparities between men and women as it will put strain on patriarchal systems that already treat women differently to men.
For a more in-depth definition of disparity/disparities, click here.
To have a look at the research from Ruiz and Vallejo, click here.
Ecofeminism is a branch of feminism that started to gain momentum during the 70s, and then later on again in the 90s. Ecofeminists explore the connection between male oppression of women and nature, arguing that both women and nature should be respected.
I have been hesitant to categorise Call Us Angels as an ecofeminist project, even though we are exploring the link between gender and the ecological crisis. This is because a lot of ecofeminists initially believed that women had a 'special relationship' to nature, having the opposite effect of empowering women, instead limiting them to the role of nurturers who are 'at one with nature'.
To read more about ecofeminism, take a look at this reading list I put together.
I have also written about ecofeminism and Call Us Angels in a blog, which you can access here.
The ecological crisis refers to the destabilisation of the environment, impacting species' ability to survive. Lots of human activities are contributing to the ecological crisis, including human waste, deforestation and fossil fuel consumption. Climate change and global warming are a part of the ecological crisis as these changes to our climate and temperature are also limiting non-human, and human ability to survive.
There are lots of different terms that are used interchangeably with the ecological crisis, for example the environmental crisis. This makes discussing and finding out information about the ecological crisis tricky and more time consuming then it should be. Information about this crisis should be accessible for all.
If you want an ecofeminist's view of the ecological crisis, I would suggest reading this introduction by Val Plumwood. Although published in 2002, the point Plumwood makes still relates to today over 20 years later.
Ecology is the branch of scientific study that looks into interactions of organisms and their environment.
For more information about ecology, I found this video and web page particularly helpful.
Environmentalism is a political ideology that is concerned about protecting the environment. As a term, environmentalism is often confused and used interchangeably with conservationism. However, conservationism refers to the broad range of techniques preserving nature and our environment and so comes under the umbrella ideology of environmentalism.
Make sure you check out my above definition of conservationism to help you get your head around these terms' differences.
For more detailed information on environmentalism and the history of this ideology, click here to access a really helpful website.
Ethnography is the study of human culture. Most ethnographic studies rely on field research. Feild research usually involves the researcher immersing themselves within the culture or group of people they are studying for a prolonged period of time.
An example of an ethnographic study we have looked at is 'The atmospheric person: Value, experiment, and "making neighbours" in Madrid's popular assemblies', which you should be able to access here. Within this study, scientists Alberto C Jiminez and Adolfo Estalella join the Spanish Occupy movement to find out more about the relationship between protest, activism and exhaustion.
If you want to find out how ethnographic studies can be used in the realm of performance, check out this book by ethnographer Lorne Dwight Conquergood entitled Cultural Struggles: performance, ethnography, praxis. This might be another one of those texts that requires you to be a part of a university institution in order to gain access. If you are struggling to get a hold of the text, let me know and I'll see if I can help out.
Iconography is the study and interpretation of symbols and images within works of art - particularly religious works of art.
For a more in-depth definition of iconography, click here to be taken to the Tate's website.
Intersectionality is a theoretical framework first theorised by leading race theory scholar Kimberle Crenshaw. Crenshaw argues that multiple social and political parts of a person's identity combine to make a unique experience of discrimination or privilege in society. This means issues of race, gender and ecology (etc) intersect and should be discussed together, rather than seperatly. Call Us Angels uses an intersectional framework as we are exploring the impact the ecological crisis will have on women around the world.
For a brief introduction to intersectionality, click here to watch a video from Crenshaw herself.
She has also done many TED talks, including this one here which will help to further your understanding on intersectionality.
If you want to start reading Crenshaw's work, I would suggest looking at 'Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics'. This article can be accessed here. You shouldn't need to be a part of an academic institution to access this article, but if you have any problems just get in touch and I will try to help.
The general definition of interdisciplinary is the combination or involvement of two or more academic subjects or fields of study. The term interdisciplinary can also be used to relate to performances that include two or more artistic techniques. For instance, Call Us Angels is an interdisciplinary project as it uses video, performance, activism and social media all in one project.
For a clearer explanation of the use of the term interdisciplinary in the arts, click here.
Pedagogy is one of those philosophical words that I always get confused with/can't remember. Don't be alarmed from how fancy this word sounds, it basically means the study of teaching or learning knowledge. I still need to read more into pedagogy, particularly as Call Us Angels has found itself critiquing the accessibility of information available for women to teach themselves about the relationship between gender and the ecological crisis.
However, before we all get ahead of ourselves, let's all digest this definition of pedagogy here.
Once I find some helpful articles and books on pedagogy I will let you all know. In the meantime, if you know of any great sources that would be useful in extending my knowledge of pedagogy, do let me know.
Practice-as-research is a relatively new field of academic research within the arts. It is a broad term, referring to research that doesn't necessarily involve traditional academic writing or research (i.e. a dissertation made up of research conducted from books in the University library). Call Us Angels is a practice-as-research project. This is because this project practically involved making trash angel wings in order to think about and explore the relationship between gender and the ecological crisis. The writing and presentation of this project are not your traditional MA dissertation either, instead making use of Instagram and a blog to present the thoughts that emerged from practically making these wings.
I have written on the impact practice-as-research has had on the success of this project, that you can access here.
I would suggest you also have a look at this from the University of Manchester to get more of an understanding of what practice-as-research is.
If you want to dig deeper into practice-as-research within theatre and performance, check out this book from academic Robin Nelson. It is quite a dry book, and there are only sections available for free online, but it'll give you a better understanding of the benefits of practice-as-research projects.
Socially engaged art
There are many different terms for socially engaged art; it can also be referred to as social practice or socially engaged practice. Despite these different terms meaning the same thing, the actual definition of socially engaged art isn't as complicated as you would expect. According to the Tate, 'socially engaged practice, also referred to as social practice or socially engaged art, can include any artform which involves people and communities in debate, collaboration or social interaction' (N.D.). This basically means socially engaged artworks focus more on participation and conversations had with communities getting involved with said project, rather than the physical artwork itself. Call Us Angels could therefore be considered a piece of socially engaged art as throughout this project I have been focusing on conversations had with other angels, instead of the final outcome of completed trash angel wings.
If you're completely new to this term I would check out the Tate website here to give you a bit of a background.
If you want to find more examples and critical analysis of socially engaged artworks, I would definitely read Shannon Jackson's book Social Work: Performing Art, Supporting Publics. I haven't been able to find a free copy online, but you should be able to get a preview here. If your library can't access the book for you, let me know and I'll try to help.
Throughout Call Us Angels I have often referred to the waste I have collected as trash. Although the word trash is an 'Americanism' of the word waste, it has always been a conscious decision to make use of this word. This is because there are lots of connotations and different uses of the word trash. Trash could refer to my awful taste in pop music (see here). Trash or trashy can also refer to 'cheap or poorly made' things like Gossip magazines (Vocabulary.com, 2020) or maybe even my own trash wings.
I'm still trying to get my head around all these different definitions of trash and how they relate to an ecofeminist project like Call Us Angels. If you have any thoughts on this do get in touch using the contact form below.