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Air Epistemologies: Practices of Ecopoetry in Ibero American Atmospheres

Air Epistemologies is a 36 month, international postdoc project, performed by Nuno Marques. The SARS Covid-19 pandemic shows that air connects humans with each other and with other organisms across geographical boundaries. Ecopoetry brings attention to aerial communities and to breathing as form of knowing and becoming aware of other atmospheres.

Awareness to breathing is important to rethink relations between distant lungs in a time when the pandemic evidences unequal access to oxygen, and that political struggles use suffocation as strategy. Air Epistemologies analyzes breathing and suffocating in Ibero-American ecopoetry, i.e., from Portuguese and Spanish-speaking countries in the Americas, Portugal, and Spain.

In focus are poems published from the end of the twentieth century, when atmospheric pollution entered the global environmental discourse. Relations of this poetry with the atmosphere are studied with a transdisciplinary framework of ecopoetic studies, feminist perspectives, and decolonial practices. The study focuses on ecopoetic breathing and suffocating as creating embodied and situated knowledges. It contributes these knowledges to a critical vocabulary of the environmental humanities, arguing for ecopoetry as epistemology. It infiltrates Eurocentric and North American worldviews with these divergent knowledges enriching the field. Focusing on the atmosphere it decenters the field from the geological. Working with ecopoetry it promotes nuanced ways of relating and knowing the planet. This 36-month study takes place in CES, Portugal and EHL, Sweden.

Funding agency: VR/the Swedish Research Council
Period: 2021-2024