PODCAST – CoHearence Podcast #2: Melancholy, Mourning, and Environmental Activism

(Photo: Edie Steiner, Artificial Flower, 2002)

As we discussed in part one of this two part series, melancholy and mourning permeate environmental thought and colour the way that we approach activism. In this episode, our focus shifts from the history of melancholy and mourning to specific examples of mourning in environmental and social justice activism. We search for ways that we might begin to engage in forms of resistant mourning that “worry the wound” in a more respectful, ethical, and productive way. How might mourning become part of an environmental activism that doesn’t busy itself with looking from one lost nature to the next, but instead both acknowledges loss and demands that we take the time and do the work required to move through those losses? Featuring Ralph Carl Wushke, United Church of Canada minister and Chaplin and PhD student at the University of Toronto, Ella Soper, part-time faculty at the University of Toronto and post-doctoral fellow at the Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) at York University, and Honor Ford Smith, professor at FES we continue our conversations with Cate Sandilands, Peter Timmerman, and Susan Moore from FES about the importance of mourning for environmental thought and activism. We ask: how can mourning be political? What can resistant mourning look like for environmentalists? What is the role of writers, poets, and artists in mourning environmental loss?

Works Cited:

  • Bauman, Zygmunt. Mortality, Immortality and Other Life Strategies. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1992.
  • Bodsworth, Fred. Last of the Curlews. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1963.
  • Braun, Bruce. The Intemperate Rainforest: Nature, Culture and Power on Canada’s West Coast. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002.
  • Butler, Judith. Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence. New York: Verso, 2004.
  • Crimp, Douglas. (1989). Mourning and Militancy. October 5 (Winter): 3-18.
  • Cvetkovich, Ann. An Archive of Feelings: Trauma, Sexuality, and Lesbian Public Cultures. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2003.
  • Driver, Tom F. Liberating Rites: Understanding The Transformative Power Of Ritual. Boulder: Westview Press, 1998.
  • Eng, David L and David Kazanjian eds. Loss: The Politics of Mourning. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003.
  • Freud, Sigmund. The Ego and the Id. 4th ed. London: Hogarth Press, 1947.
  • Freud, Sigmund. (1917). “Mourning and Melancholia.” The Standard Edition of The Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XIV (1914-1916): On the History of the Psycho-Analytic Movement, Papers on Metapsychology and Other Works.
  • Grover, Jan Zita. North Enough: AIDS and Other Clear-Cuts. Saint Paul, Minn.: Graywolf Press, 1997.
  • Klein, M. (1940). “Mourning and its relation to manic-depressive states.” In The Writings of Melanie Klein, Vol. 1. London: Hogarth Press, 1975, and Virago Press, 1997, pp. 344-369.
  • Kristeva, Julia. Black Sun. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989.
  • Jarman, Derek. Modern Nature: The Journals of Derek Jarman. London: Vintage Books,1991.
  • Macy, Joanna. Mutual Causality in Buddhism and General Systems Theory: The Dharma of Natural System (Buddhist Studies Series). Buffalo, NY: State University of New York Press, 1991.
  • Millet, Lydia. How the Dead Dream. Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint, 2008.
  • Mortimer-Sandilands, Catriona. (2010) “Melancholy Natures, Queer Ecologies.” Queer Ecologies: Sex, Nature, Politics, Desire, Ed. Catriona Mortimer- Sandilands and Bruce Erickson. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2010. 331-358.
  • Pensky, Max. Melancholy Dialectics: Walter Benjamin and the Play of Mourning. Boston: University of Massachusetts Press, 2001.
  • Radden, Jennifer ed. The Nature of Melancholy: From Aristotle to Kristeva. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.
  • Riaño Alcalá, Pilar. Dwellers of Memory: youth and violence in Medellín, Colombia. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 2006.
  • Spargo, R. Clifton. The Ethics of Mourning : Grief and Responsibility in Elegiac Literature. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004.
  • von Unwerth, Matthew. Freud’s Requiem: Mourning, Memory, and the Invisible History of a Summer Walk. London: Continuum Books, 2006.

Music Credits:

Other Contributor(s):

  • Honor Ford Smith
  • Sean Kheraj
  • Susan Moore
  • Cate Sandilands
  • Ella Soper
  • Peter Timmerman
  • Ralph Carl Wushke

Citation: Di Battista, Amanda and Andrew Mark, “Melancholy, Mourning, and Environmental Thought: Part 2 Making Loss the Centre” CoHearence. 8 March 2012.