Deep history, interspecies coevolution, and the eco-imaginary
The recent turn to deep history reveals an interrelational story of hominin emergence among myriad other living creatures, full of bodily intimacies, shared habitats, and interspecific cultural communications. This essay examines studies of coevolution, symbiosis, and mimicry expressing pervasive intersubjectivity that are increasingly acknowledged by biologists and biosemioticians. Traditional oral narratives, rituals, and early literary texts encode sedimented evolutionary histories of such relationships, preserving and continuing memories that are semiotic scaffoldings of cultural mimicry, mirroring and mapping the living world where our ancestors saw themselves in dynamic interrelation with the other animal species around them. These constitute an eco-imaginary expressing the human participation in coevolved animality that Merleau-Ponty saw as the logos of the sensible world.
Westling, L. (2018)., Deep history, interspecies coevolution, and the eco-imaginary, in D. Ohrem & M. Calarco (eds.), Exploring animal encounters, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 209-231.
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