The Multispecies Salon
Michel de Certeau speaks of “reading as poaching” in The Practice of Everyday Life. This assertion is part of de Certeau’s larger argumentthat consumption is not a passive act, determined by systems of production. He suggests that reading is a foundational mode of modern consumption, and therefore, of everyday life. In contrast to the “private hunting reserves” cultivated by elite literati, who alone claim rights to inscribe meanings to texts or landscapes, reading as poaching allows one to “convert the text through reading and to ‘run it’ the way one runs traffic lights” (1984: 171-176).
“What does it mean to poach another person’s paper, especially an unpublished one?” ask members of the Matsutake Worlds Research Group. The English word “poach” is related to the French word pocher, to push or poke with a finger or pointed instrument, to pierce. “Poaching is a way of pushing or poking pieces of ones research towards that of another,” suggests the Group, “something of an offering; not an encroachment but a gift.”
We hereby announce an open CFP (Call for Poachers) in association with the Multispecies Salon panel at the upcoming American Anthropological Association meetings (Saturday, November 20th, 1:45 p.m.-5:30 p.m., New Orleans Sheraton, Grand Ballroom A, 5th Floor). Seventeen papers are available for poaching—all orbiting around the emergence of multispecies ethnography, a novel interdisciplinary mode of inquiry.
“Multispecies ethnography asks cultural anthropologists to reengage with biological anthropology,” write event organizers Eben Kirksey and Stefan Helmreich. The papers under discussion explore human entanglements with animals, plants, fungi, and microbes.
Rather than passively listen to conventionally scripted conference presentations, we invite audience members to push or poke the papers on the table, to run them, like traffic lights. We invite the audience to offer up examples from their own research, to “poach” papers like pears, using red wine and honey to intensify and transform the flavor of the fruit.
Become a poacher at The Multispecies Salon.