claiming space for non-human Others

With her colleagues Plotkin and Bell, Russell (1998) tells a story that reminds me that I am not alone in these feelings, and how important it is to have understanding colleagues while attempting to claim space for non-human Others in the Academy. They write:

Given our determination to bring nonhuman nature and human/nonhuman relationships to the forefront in our research, we are situated in the margins not only of academia and the discipline of education but even within environmental studies. Finding strength in numbers has thus been important to us. For example, the three of us chose to enroll in the same graduate class in critical pedagogy and immediately noticed how empowering kindred spirits can be. This particular class consisted of individuals deeply committed to feminism, antiracism, and other human social justice issues; we thus ought to have had much in common. Yet our concerns with anthropocentrism were often seen by our peers not to enrich but to 'take away' from the serious issues at hand; indeed at one point we were even accused of 'hijacking' a class discussion. (p. 144)

These comments resonated as I was challenged to find others within the academy with whom I could speak of my dissertation processes. Speaking with animate Earth? What do you mean? I mean plants, animals, rocks and so on.