Butterfly Crossings: Traversing Boundaries of Space and Species in North America
Migration is a bedrock reality of earthly life. This truth invites us imagine the span of the Americas beginning not with borders and walls but instead with movement beyond them. What might our continents and countries begin to look and feel like if we acknowledged the necessity of these crossings, the kinship and wellbeing that movement sustains? This talk explores these questions through a series of meditations on the monarch butterfly. I describe affinities for the butterfly articulated and expressed by artists, migrant rights activists, butterfly enthusiasts, and migrants themselves. In the company of migrants, both human and lepidopteran, I explore an alternative vision of collective life beyond national walls and borders.
Anand Pandian is chair of the anthropology department at Johns Hopkins University. His books include, most recently, A Possible Anthropology: Methods for Uneasy Times (2019), and the co-edited volume Anthropocene Unseen (2020). He serves as a curator for the Baltimore-based Ecological Design Collective.
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