Anthropology Seminar Series Dr Sarah Green, University of Helsinki

Sheep crossing border - photo credit Lena Mallon March 2020
Tuesday, April 16, 2024 - 16:30 to 18:30
Anthropology Seminar Room, RH1.20 Rowan House

Animal Relocations in Epirus and Beirut: wild, domestic and microbial crosslocations

Sarah Green, University of Helsinki

More than human creatures co-exist in a human-centred world and they move around a planet that is crosscut by a variety of human-generated borders: political borders, classificatory borders, economic/property borders, even metaphysical and sacred borders. The more-than humans usually traverse, or are transported across, this crosslocated world without being aware of these borders (though sometimes, it turns out, they are more aware of them than we realise). 
It is rare for the activities of the more-than human creatures to be the centre of attention when the borders are made, with the result that the human-generated crosslocated world is often ill-fitting for them.

Drawing on some brief ethnographic research in the Beirut area of Lebanon and two areas in Greece (Epirus on the northwestern mainland and the Aegean island of Lesvos), this paper will take a look at how the movements and activities of more than human creatures and how people engage with them can provide a different perspective on border dynamics and location. It will include discussion of livestock transport, the tracking of wild animals, the cross-border spread of microbes and the concept of invasive species.

The core argument will be that more than human movements and human attempts to deal with them (or ignore them) highlights the way all borders, however powerful, coexist in a multiply occupied world, with the result that no borders are either conceptually or physically impermeable.