Date of Completion
Honors College Thesis
Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors, Environmental Studies Electronic Thesis
Ecology, Eco Art, Studio Art, Environmental Humanities, Environmental Art, Ceramics
The frameworks by which the globally-dominant culture expects individuals to understand and act within their environments are founded upon practices of oppression, division, and control, and have played an outsized role in the global crises faced in the modern era. Manifold currents of thought have developed alternatives to these trends from fields as diverse as Environmental Humanities, Feminist Theory, Post-Colonial Theory, Art Studies, Cybernetics and Systems Theory, Poetry, Political Science, and Science-Fiction, to name a few. Shared themes of these alternatives include the rekindling of respect for the agentic power of non-human things inside and outside human contexts, and the dissolution of socially constructed boundaries, both qualities that are unnecessarily diminished by the Scientism underpinning dominant cultural onto-epistemologies. Through art, a practice filled with the potential to transgress the boundaries of the Dominant culture, this thesis explores relationships, community, identity, and presence as they ebb, flow, and shift amongst humans and non-humans alike. This exploration is centered on Ceramics as an integrated collaboration between a multitude of forces, including the artist, audience, kilns, clay bodies, glazes, traditions, tools, and more, and reveals an expansive and emergent mesh of vibrant actors. By sitting with and validating more complex frameworks for understanding and relating to the worlds we exist in, it becomes possible to imagine a world in which vast choirs of influencing forces become more clear, allowing us to nurture an acceptance of the immense diversity of human, non-human, and non-living kin, prioritizing respect, curiosity, and reciprocality.
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Jeffery, Emerson Odom, "Subtle Worlds: Exploring Relational Ecology with Clay" (2022). UVM Honors College Senior Theses. 517.