Story I: I was on my way home from a Saturday morning meeting and a garage sale sign caught my eye. I'm always curious about what treasures may be hidden within and behind those jumbled masses of colour.  I wound around and about streets, following the signs to the sale, browsed a bit, but did not find anything of interest. As I got back in my car to head home, I made a 'wrong' turn, and found myself 'lost,' weaving in and around a suburban maze, feeling my frustration rise. It was time to get home now. I needed to get back to work on my dissertation.

Both in the content of the hypertext itself, and in journeying through it, I invite readers to listen in ways that may just enable the traversing of world views, to 'hear' some of the many voices of animate Earth (see Abram, 2006).




...this research text re-presents a method(ology) which enables research in the company of and supported by the energies of animate Earth1.




To engage in this process, I encourage you to PAUSE and listen, rather than stop and think as you navigate the hypertext, then notice where it is you are drawn to travel. The 'Reader's journey' link enables you to track your route.

A moment later, a grin spread across my face. There was a purpose to my being lost. At the moment of indecision where I turned the 'wrong' way, I had made a turn which enabled me to learn exactly what I needed to know at that moment: how I would write this introductory section to my dissertation.

How often is it that when we 'let go of' a thought, a desire to know, let it sit for awhile, the answer comes? Or on how many occasions do we arrive, serendipitously, at the right place just at the right time? It is in this messiness of serendipity and intuition, in the space beneath (or beyond) thought, that much of this dissertation was created.

Story II: I was heading away from the university towards downtown to find some lunch before returning to meet with my final committee member for feedback. Just as I arrived on College drive, about to hone in on my lunch location (the café where I did many of my interviews), it seemed as though I was heading in the wrong direction. After a few moments' hesitation and some confusion about this apparent change in direction (after all, I was almost there), my arms drew the steering wheel around to make a left turn, pulling me back toward campus. I would try Pita Pit, a healthy and economical lunch stop situated in a strip mall a short walk from the Faculty of Education. I arrived. It was closed. Too early. Perhaps I could get something to eat at Stone’s Throw, a café I had frequented when I lived in Regina. Standing for a moment outside the door trying to decide what to do, I received a surprise greeting from one of my committee members, with whom I had an unfinished, and at times challenging, phone conversation the night before. She had been inside, and saw me through the window. Come on in. Yes, I had time to join her. She had just been thinking about me. Our conversation last night needed follow-up; perhaps we could find some resolution here that would enable completion of the committee review stage of my dissertation process.

She rarely comes to Stone’s Throw, especially in the middle of the day, she told me. I responded that I had been heading in the opposite direction, planning to have lunch downtown. Why then were we both there, that day, at that time?  A hunch, inclination, the turn of a steering wheel. Perhaps the trees told me. It was definitely nothing logical, in the normative, Western sense of logic. But it makes complete sense in the context of the ontological and epistemological assumptions which support much of this research, its method(ologies), and the worldview which has (re)emerged in the context of its unfolding.

What stories are we open to hearing? Which are shut down even before they are uttered? What meanings have eclipsed or disappeared? (Scott, 1988).



Meaning-making in this dissertation occurs as much in the pauses and spaces-in-between, as in the 'text' itself (Minh-Ha, 2006; O'Riley, 2003). Yet to engage readers who bring a range of epistemological and ontological assumptions to the work, I choose to provide a combination of experience and explanations.

This research/representation is a bit like both my Saturday journey and serendipitous arrival at Stone's Throw. It is based on age-old ontological assumptions that there is much more to the universe than material reality. It also assumes an epistemology that both acknowledges the power of words and conceptual reasoned thought, but also recognizes that often one's most significant insights arrive in the spaces between the two. Within this hypertext, I simultaneously resist and engage in thought and its frequent form of representation: linear explanatory text. This research/representation foregrounds these spaces between, and in doing so, is an attempt to support reading through re-animated perception (Bai, 2009): an intuitive and sensuous embodied knowing that enables the many communicative bodies of animate Earth to be co-participants in research (Plumwood, 2002; Smith, 2004).

An invitation: Since the many and varied voices of animate Earth can more easily be heard in the silences between thought, I invite readers to settle into the spaces-in-between linear text and engage in dialogic readings rather than relying primarily on lines of rationality and linear argument. To make meaning of this research text, pausing to listen is just as important as reading the various texts, or even pausing to think.

The research has required holding the tension inherent in any process that works both within and beyond the boundaries of conventionally acknowledged academic legitimacy – a process that has included searching for new(old) processes of making meaning, and of being, to emerge. Often easier experienced than explained (for explanations privilege the discursive rational mind, and processes of reading with Earth are often trans-rational and have multiple and contradictory explanations), the hypertextual research/representation provides invitations and openings for site visitors to foreground their own "re-animate[d] perception" (Bai, 2009). Unlike more linear explanatory text, the hypertextual form explicitly supports reading with an animate Earth, and in some instances, because of the non-linearity, makes it difficult to read otherwise. It also provides opportunities to engage in some of the "homework" required to move both within and beyond dominant epistemological paradigms in academia (Haraway, 1991a,1991b, 2004a; Kuokkanen, 2006; O'Riley, 2003).

My aim here is to create a text with spaces for intention (see McTaggart, 2007), together with animate Earth and/or spirit, to contribute to any reading. Like my experiences at the garage sale and café, I encourage readers to open to what we often refer to as serendipity. If you think you are lost, or clicked on the wrong link, pause before closing it. Sink into the moment(s) and idea(s) offered in the hyperlink, put it next to the text you just moved away from, and listen for what meaning may emerge. Attention to 'mistakes,' ideas which may initially seem in contradiction, and your own accompanying desire to return to the main path, may be just what is needed to make visible a deeply held belief (see Wheatley, 2000). Rather than try to look for familiar textual forms, I encourage readers to let go of assumptions about what text might look like, and to read dialogically. Travelling this journey in a way that is open to the ebb and flow of a combination of chance and intention, provides openings to co-creation of meaning with a sensuous, communicative, porous and energetically interconnected animate Earth.


listen... as much lies in the spaces

in between

as in the 'text' itself

My intention for this work is for each 'reader's' movement through the dissertation to be the
'perfect one' for him/her, and the planet at each moment of listening. 

practical hints for navigation

The following travel guidelines will assist your movement through this hypertextual dissertation: (printable pdf version)

Programs/equipment needed:

  • flash version 8.0 or above. Download at: <>
  • speakers (make sure they are turned on and the volume turned up)
  • Firefox is the preferred browser; format and font are sometimes disrupted in Internet Explorer.
  • enable popups (without them, you will miss much of the dissertation)
  • be sure that your computer's "cookies" feature is enabled if you wish to have a record of your journey through the hypertext (most computers have cookies enabled by default)
  • If you are reading this dissertation from a disk rather than on the internet, open the file index.html; it will take you to the home page where you can begin your journey. You will find many other files that are necessary to the structure of the hypertext; these need not be opened. Be careful not to close the browser as you read, or you will lose your spot.
  • Travel Guidelines:

  • If a hand appears over a brown link, you can click on it to travel further into the hypertext. The ideas contained in these links are not necessarily (but may be) expansions of the ideas contained in the text you just left. Some were linked using rationality and my intellect; others, using an intuitive linking process, usually guided by my hand's movement. In many instances I avoid using nouns as nodes, but place them instead on pronouns or transitional words in order to disrupt any assumptions that a link will elaborate on the noun to which it is linked.
  • The intention you bring to the work will affect your choices; you may wish to be intentional about your requests for reading partners, or simply let things unfold and see what happens.
  • When a popup window appears, you may wish to resize it. Place your cursor on the bottom right hand corner, clicking and dragging it larger or smaller as you prefer. Using the links at the bottom of the small pages will take you to tabbed browsing.
  • The two-toned green files should open in various widths. If you find these files are filling the entire screen when opened, you will want to reconfigure your computer so they open in the originally designated sizes to allows for reading two or more files beside each other. Go to the browser settings to ensure it is set for default font sizes, and any stylesheet overrides are disabled. 
  • Colour strips from the meLand collage indicate a link.1 Click on them.
  • The symbol indicates that the word or phrase is contained in the glossary.
  • A print version has been provided to the Library at the University of Regina, and National Library of Canada, for archival purposes only.  It does not include the audio sections nor the few rollovers.
  • Repetition is intentional; it is not a mistake if you land at the same place twice. Given that knowledge is always situated, reading the same words, looking at the same image, or hearing the same song at a different time or place can produce new meanings. If you arrive at a page a second time, you might also assume that it is because the ideas are worth re-considering in the new context. With this in mind, some pieces of text are repeated, and links do not change colour once you have travelled to them (they are recorded in your 'cookies,' however. See below).
  • You may choose to read by going directly to the "index". This offers quick access to all files. They are listed alphabetically by title within five main categories: Opening Pages, Quotes, Bits, Beyond Grammar, and Published Papers.
  • Contradiction in this reading is also intentional (Morgan, 2000). As with a good symphony, there is meaning in dissonance. If ideas at first seem uncomfortable or contradictory, you may want to sit with the them for a bit and see what emerges.
  • Use the navigation bar on the left to access the main entry pages; if using a PC, use the back arrow to return from whence you came. If a back arrow does not show on the top left of your screen, simply click on the X on the top right of the screen. If using the Macintosh Computer click the red button on the left hand side to close the window. Clicking on the main screen will make any pop-up boxes 'disappear' behind that screen.
  • If you wish to track your journey through the hypertext, click the 'Reader's journey' link near the bottom of the navigation bar on the lefthand side of all the main pages. Your journey through this website is stored on your computer using cookies. You can view your information on this page for seven days. Your computer's "cookies" feature will need to be enabled for you to use this link.
  • Use the navigation bar on the left to access the main entry pages. There is also a truncated navigation bar at the bottom of the two-toned green windows. This will take you to tabbed browsing. Experiment to see how the pages flow from one to another.
  • Buttons [ ] indicate audio clips. The green ones belong to the main research participant (Jeff) in the early stages of the dissertation. The blue ones contain music; the gold include excerpts from a reflexive conversation with a committee member who helped me cross the onto-epistemological divides traversed in this hypertext. If using Firefox as your browser, click on it once and audio starts (be patient, it may take a moment to load the mp3 so the sound will start). Click on it a second time, and it will stop. If using internet Explorer, you will need to click on it twice to start the sound. If using a different browser, click away and see what works. All music is copyrighted and included on this site with permission.
  • Some images, and thus pages, may take a bit of time to load, depending on connection speed, computer capacity, etc. Enjoy the pause.The same may apply to the music.
  • Use the left-hand menu for major navigation changes, and to return to the home page.
  • The list of references can be accessed from the left-hand navigation bar or the bottom of the two-tone green pages.
  • Finally, if you arrive at a page and your first thought is that you at the wrong place, pause for a moment and, like in my garage sale story, listen to what you might hear. The learning is often held in the wandering, the getting lost.
  • embrace the stillness between words and other forms of text