Ecocriticism and "Thinking with Writing": An Interview with Tim Ingold
Over the course of an influential career spanning several decades, Tim Ingold, Professor Emeritus at the University of Aberdeen, has established himself as a preeminent voice in the field of Social Anthropology. Author of studies including The Perception of the Environment (2000), Being Alive (2011) and The Life of Lines (2015), this interview was inspired by the potential of his wide-ranging scholarship to unearth some fascinating avenues for research in literary studies. The breadth of his writing on habitation, perception and skilled practice, suggests myriad applications for his thinking beyond the purely anthropological, and particularly for bridging the concerns of literary and environmental studies. The philosophical depth of his work, apparent in his analyses of processes of growth and formation in both biological and socio-cultural domains (indeed questioning the supposed divisions between these fields), proves that his scholarship provides a refreshing counter-narrative to many prevailing schools of thought in current literary theory, especially to much of the discourse of New Materialism and Speculative Realism. In addition, this interview contains his views regarding certain emerging issues in literary studies, such as the material practices of reading, and the ascendency of the computer screen over the printed book, areas where his anthropological perspective is both stimulating and revealing. As a renowned scholar who has recently surveyed the changes in the academy and in disciplinary relationships throughout his long career, his observations provide valuable insights into the capability of the arts to guide us into a wider, more interconnected world. Crucially, his responses also speak to the world of academia, and how we can foster a practical awareness of ecological issues within the often-rarefied spheres of academic research and practice.
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