Becoming-with More-than-human Protected Areas
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The planet is currently undergoing immense and permanent geological change and environmental decline, a period some scholars have referred to as the Anthropocene. Climate change and environmental events, biodiversity declines, wildfires, flooding, pollution, and pandemics are changing the ways in which we engage with the natural environment – as tourist and recreationist. Protected areas, and Parks in particular, are uniquely placed within this broader context of environmental crises in Canada on account of their dual mandate to both facilitate positive visitor experiences and to conserve the ecology and heritage of a site. Tethered to these mandate positions are anthropocentric separations or distinctions between humans and nature. The first, visitor experience, positions humans as visitors and nature as the backdrop for human recreation and tourism. The second mandate, conserving ecologies and heritage, assumes that humans as managers of these places can intervene in nature for particular outcomes, reinforcing ideas of human superiority over nonhumans and nature. Framed by posthuman philosophical, theoretical, and methodological approaches, the manuscripts, book chapter, and research note comprising this thesis work individually (and in combination) to disrupt, co-opt, challenge, and attend to concepts (i.e., anthropomorphism, affective reverberations, time, and agency) that have largely been subject to anthropocentric inscription and offer productive spaces for experimenting with different kinds of affective-sensory-material attunement practices in protected areas. The specific aims of this project are to contribute to building some of the conceptual foundations necessary for a more-than-human conservation ethic and practice premised on knowing-with, being-with, and researching-with nonhumans in nature-based tourism. With the exception of the research note, each chapter also experiments with more-than-human attunements borne of (re)enchantment (i.e., care as action) with concepts, integrating posthuman relationality and praxis with (re)presentational choices intended to evoke and affect (rather than represent per se). Each article simultaneously engages theory-methodology-(re)presentation as an iterative and entangled practice of being-with more-than-human places. Specifically, this research draws upon the sensory-attunements of walking methodologies, the methodological fluidity of methodologies without methodology, and the evocativeness of nonrepresentational methodologies, as an embodied practice of attending. Situated within more-than-human encounters in three Provincial Parks in Ontario, Canada, this thesis contributes to the growing interdisciplinary scholarship engaging with nonhumans as kin and invites us to care-with more-than-human temporalities, agency, and affectivity for more inclusive, responsive, and response-able tourism futures.
Cite this version of the work
Chris E. Hurst (2023). Becoming-with More-than-human Protected Areas. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/20120