Poiesis Symposium VII

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Planet in Crisis: Being with the Earth

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Zoom links will be provided before the beginning of the seminar.

In this time of Planetary Crisis, we need to think about our relationship to the earth that moves away from seeing the environment as an object to be exploited without going to the opposite extreme in which we become identified with it. Michael Marder, our principal speaker, presents a perspective that goes deeply into the meaning of relationship to try to understand how we can be with the earth in these perilous times. Our panelists will look at this issue from their own experiences in therapy, education and environmental action.

Co-hosts: José Miguel Calderón and Stephen K. Levine

Being with the Earth: Between Entanglement and Alienation?

Michael Marder

As a precondition to thinking about and acting on our relation to the planet, we need to revisit the notions of relation and connection in a way that steers clear of fusion, on the one hand, and absolute separation, on the other. Each of these extremes yields a set of discourses and practices that are not helpful in understanding relationship: entanglement in the first instance and alienation blown to cosmic proportions in the second. As an alternative, I suggest taking seriously what it means to be in connection, itself connected to a sense of being-without, and experiencing or re-experiencing our being with the earth on this foundation.

Michael Marder is IKERBASQUE Research Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of the Basque Country (UPV-EHU), Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. His writings span the fields of ecological theory, phenomenology, and political thought. He is the author of numerous scientific articles and eighteen monographs, including Plant-Thinking (2013); Phenomena—Critique—Logos (2014); The Philosopher’s Plant (2014); Dust (2016), Energy Dreams (2017), Heidegger (2018), Political Categories (2019), Pyropolitics (2015, 2020); Dump Philosophy (2020); Hegel's Energy (2021); and Green Mass (2021) among others. For more information, consult his website michaelmarder.org.


Paul Antze is a retired Professor of Social Science and Social and Political Thought at York University. He was also a regular faculty member in the European Graduate School. His research has focused primarily on cultural aspects of psychoanalysis and popular therapeutic movements in North America. More recently he has been active in grassroots environmental movements. He was Founding Chair of the Toronto Climate Action Network and the Green Neighbours Network of Toronto.

Wayne Skinner works in addictions and mental health as a clinical consultant and educator, with a focus on social determinants of health, therapeutic communication and collaborative practice. His research activities have focused on supporting families affected by concurrent disorders, communities of practice, recovery processes through mutual aid fellowship and peer support, and marginalized populations with complex needs. Wayne has played a leadership role at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto.

Francine Wynn’s clinical background is in psychiatric nursing. Her academic background is in cultural anthropology, and social and political thought, with philosophical interests based in interpretive phenomenology and psychoanalysis. For 30 years, she integrated cinema, poetry, literature, painting and sculpture in her lectures, and creative arts-based projects in her clinical seminars. Dr. Wynn has won several University of Toronto Nursing awards, including a creative teaching and a mentoring award.

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PACT offers a uniquely modern educational opportunity by offering teaching of the highest level in flexible formats. In addition to its renowned EU-accredited degree programs at the MA and PhD levels, it allows for non-matriculated study (through certificate programs and post-doctoral research), and provides for the possibility of attendance in individual courses. Its intensive seminar structure gives individuals the possibility of pursuing other work or professional obligations throughout the year.

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