How do we move from thinking about bodies in our world to feeling and standing with those bodies?
I am entangled with questions of the ethical life amid a buzzing planetary democracy. In an experiential universe of provocative and responsive entities, Life Insists. Bodies resist capture in concepts and cages; they demand to be given their due; they persistently co-shape our possible futures between what is and what yet might be.
On this hinge of possibility, life indeed has a cost. But this admission need not resign us to tragic necessity. Quite the opposite! These necessary affirmations are just the start of minimizing that price, innovating toward futures with less loss, and shaking up the structures that define winners and losers at the outset. In short, the responsive work of ethics.
One of the most important tasks in this work is to critically examine foundational assumptions about what, or whose life counts and what life is passive, subordinate, or disposable—whether in religious, political, or scientific narratives.
In this work, I have found friendship with many dissonant world visions that strive toward these aims amid the inconsistencies of practice: Jainism's nonharm to all life forms, the peace church witness against state violence, de/re/constructive thinkers, A. N. Whitehead's claim that reality creates itself in constant process, numerous critical/animal theorists, as well as poets and artists who maintain the knife edge of grief/goodness, pain/beauty.
I live toward the creative adventure of a plant-based life, and work to illuminate the local and global entanglements of industrial agriculture, alongside other contemporary bioethical issues.
Some writings can be found here, and curated events and exhibits here.
In addition to farmed animal advocacy, I have taught philosophy and religious studies at Claremont School of Theology and Monmouth College and currently serve as The Bhagwaan Mahavir/Chao Family Postdoctoral Fellow in Jain Studies at Rice University. I am most at home playing guitar, dancing, or hiking with my beagle pals.
Photo header: Industry-bred piglets, likely en route to a local family farm. Most family operations purchase piglets in order to maximize litter size, prevent disease in their growing sheds, and to ensure genetic homogeneity required by most slaugherhouses. Location: Highway 34 near Peoria, IL. 2016; B. Donaldson