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Ecofeminism a possibe solution to impending famine
2016-05-12

Description: Ecofeminism Tags: Ecofeminism

Dr Inge Konik (right) is pictured with her postdoctoral supervisor, Prof Bert Olivier, Senior Research Professor at the Department of Philosophy.
Photo: Valentino Ndaba

In view of the environmental and social problems faced in South Africa today, researchers such as Dr Inge Konik are hard at work mapping these issues and seeking long-term solutions. Dr Konik,  a lecturer in the Department of Journalism, Media and Philosophy at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) shared her views in a presentation on 6 May 2016. She spoke about revaluing indigenous ways of life and subsistence-focused lifeways, linking this to materialist ecological feminism, or ecofeminism for short.

Dr. Konik’s presentation, hosted by the Department of Philosophy at the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS), was entitled: “Transversal reflections on ecological feminism and ubuntu.” The research underpinning the presentation derived from Dr Konik’s doctoral thesis which was supervised by Ariel Salleh (University of Sydney) and Andrea Hurst (NMMU).

Dr Konik’s research suggests that ecofeminism - which is a convergence between environmentalism and feminism - may hold the answers to the question of how we may work against environmental and social injustices. She also proposed that society look back toward subsistence communities of the past, and those currently being marginalized in our industrial societies, and linked the values evidenced in the practices of these communities to the African philosophty of ubuntu. In order to solve  complex contemporary challenges Dr Konik suggests that we combine these seemingly disparate theoretical frames - ubuntu and ecofeminism - by applying a transversal approach, which involves openness to dialogue  between traditions.

“My focus was on ecological feminism and critical theory and very specifically on South Africa, given the challeges South Africa faces - the environmental and social challenges and what kind of frameworks would be helpful,” said Dr Konik, who will officially become a postdoctoral research fellow at the department as of July 2016.

Prof Pieter Duvenage, Head of the Departement, stated that compelling research outputs are anticipated from Dr Konik as a fellow.

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