“We are all compost” – Donna Haraway

COMPOSTING Feminisms and Environmental Humanities is a reading group of cross-institutional, cross-disciplinary scholars exploring the traces and legacies of inclusive feminisms within the broad Environmental Humanities, and forging new linkages between the two fields.

In this reading group, we imagine the process of reading and writing as composting. Matters break down and re-emerge as new matters. In the spirit of a feminist politics of citation, we are attuned to the ways in which new ideas are always indebted to writings and readings that have come before. Sometimes these inheritances are deliberate up-takes and extensions of influential texts we have encountered; sometimes they are accidental – inhaled in the air that we breathe, or transmitted to our guts through the soil and the water. In this reading group we seek to map the roots and shoots of these composting matters. What and how are feminist offerings composted in and through the environmental humanities? What concepts are especially fruitful, and why? In what forms do these ideas re-emerge? How are these genealogies acknowledged? What ideas are yet to be added to the Environmental Humanities compost pile?

The feminisms composted in our reading group are inclusive: we cannot envision feminisms without attending to queer, anti-racist, anticolonial, crip, and other intersectional perspectives. In the same way we can’t imagine an environmental humanities project without inclusive feminisms. We will also be promiscuous in our disciplinary attachments, and equally wanton in terms of our understanding of what counts as “the environment.” Compost piles are, after all, emergent multispecies wonderlands.

COMPOSTING Feminisms and Environmental Humanities was started by Dr Astrida Neimanis and Dr Jennifer Mae Hamilton at the University of Sydney in September 2015 and in 2016 was  awarded funding from the Sydney Social Sciences and Humanities Advanced Research Centre.


Invitation to Join: COMPOSTING reading groups and events are open to bodies of all genders, professions, and walks of life — academics, postgrad students, undergrads, artists, poets, activists, grandmas, (usually) multispecies companions… We strive to be an inclusive intersectional feminist space, and together we are figuring out what that means, in practice.

Our activities include:

  • Sydney-based monthly reading group
  • Online reading group (via Zoom) organised from the Armidale compost pile
  • Ad-hoc field trips, events, talks, mostly in Australia

If you are interested in joining please sign up (click on the link) to receive emails about the readings and further details. We encourage people to commit to at least three of the sessions each semester. We look forward to composting with you!

contact: composting.reading at sydney.edu.au

“Promiscous we!

Me, plus anybody else.

Permeable we!”

– Eve Kosofksy Sedgwick

[1] Haraway, Donna. “Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Plantationocene, Chthluluocene: Making Kin” Environmental Humanities 6 (2015): 161.

[1] Kosofsky Sedgwick, Eve. A Dialogue on Love (Boston: Beacon Press, 1999): 106.

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