What is a sheep – a source of revenue, an organic and self-renewable resource, a grazing unit, a system of biochemical transfer leading to patterns of muscle and fat development, the symbol of a nostalgic rural economy […]?
––Henry Buller, ‘The Lively Process of Interdisciplinarity’, Area, 41.4 (2008)
This panel brings together historians, artists, geographers, theorists and literary scholars interested in the pastoral practice of transhumance: from the Italian transumanza, ‘crossing the land’, the term describes the movement of peoples and animals across cultural landscapes, political boundaries and ecological biomes. What is the status of the traditional twice-yearly migration for fresh pasture today? What is a flock of sheep, a docile collectivity or an innumerable swarm? How does transhumance help us to think about nomadic and/or posthuman mobility in terms of, but also against, the theoretical deployments of these concepts? Where do traditional human practices meet the limits of nonhuman life-worlds, and how might they be justly reconciled? This panel seeks to address these far-reaching questions across French, Spanish, Italian, British and North-American ‘naturalcultural’ landscapes in which transhumance is still, or has been, practised.
Wednesday 6th September 2017
Panel 3: Cantor 9129
Pastorals: Landscapes of Transhumance
CHAIR: Terry Gifford | CONVENOR: Dan Eltringham
Paolo Palladino and Annalisa Colombino – Centaurs and Transhumance: On movement and modes of being together
Julia Tanner – Post-humanising the Pastoral: Sweetgrass’s swarming sheep
Dan Eltringham – ‘Breeze, or Bird, or fleece of Sheep’: Pastoral propagation and traditional ecological knowledge in Wordsworth’s Cumbria
Carol Watts – Occupations of Pastoral