undoing categories


What might happen if the categories 'human' and 'nature' were 'undone'? (Haraway, 2000).



  • the human intellect still hold such a privileged position as the dominant way of knowing, or would it be shared with more intuitive, sensory knowledges?
  • the place of the human as an independent author (or reader) of a text be forever disrupted?
  • there be a need for publicly funded educational programs to teach skills in inter-species dialogue? In engagement with the spiritual energies of plants? Of animals? Of rocks? Would veterinary medicine take telepathic animal communication seriously, and agricultural studies engage in programs such as that used at Findhorn and other similar (usually marginalized) places?
  • humans be able to "refigure the kind of persons we might be" (Haraway, 1991a, p. 3) and the "deep cultural pathology" that Berry & Tucker (2006, p. 17) refer to begin to 'right' itself?
  • understandings of the value of plants and other 'natural' spaces in the architectural design of educational spaces begin to shift?
  • new research methods need to be developed?
  • in the context of environmental assessments, animists be able to work beside and be respected by those who monitored the quality of a particular place through conventional scientific means, with the common purpose of developing an understanding of its condition and recommendations for action?*

*Although consultation with Indigenous peoples in land use decisions in Canada is an assumed (although often not well enacted) part of environmental assessments, I am yet to be convinced that animist engagement with a particular place, river, forest etc., has been consistently engaged as an explicit part of mandated environmental assessment strategies in most Canadian contexts, primarily because of the "a priori assumptions" of Western worldviews (Nadasdy, 2007). Animist ways of knowing, however, could be particularly useful in the context of difficulties encountered when doing cumulative impact assessments.