After-Affect Skin Songs

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After-Affect Skin Songs: re-writing affective dimensions of mammal species loss

The route from ecological places and the ecological space of thought to affectus /affectio in a compositional pathway scores a refrain of after-affect. At the edge of Maralinga – Tjarutja lands, Anangu elders reached out to take museum skins of desert mammals disappeared from both Country, and continent. As a scientist collaborator with these senior informants, the aim was to glean and gather collective knowledge for both community and the biogeographic record. What was not written was the profound emotional and intellectual provocation of these skin objects for elder women who had not seen the animals for decades yet retained specialist knowledge of biology, behavior and cultural emplacement in songs. What was not recorded, except in private field journals and anecdotal de-briefings, was the shared grief of this encounter by the mammalogist-provocateurs. Both are humming lacunae in accounts of species loss. Whose voices should write new ecological histories? How to author the voices of deceased Indigenous custodians of ecological knowledge? In invoking ‘the affective’ as a lens of return analysis, and given the entanglement of affect, emotion, sensation and action in contemporary transdisciplinary discourse, which affect/s?

Citation: Boscacci, L. (2014) After-Affect Skin Songs: re-writing affective dimensions of mammal species loss,(Conference Abstract), Affective Habitus: New Environmental Histories of Botany, Zoology and Emotions, ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, Australian National University 19-21 June 2014.