We are HAL [HumAnimaLab or Human-Animal-Laboratory], a research group at the University of Ottawa. Our focus is the new geological, environmental, political and cultural age that the world is now entering, according to experts. They have named it the anthropocene in reference to our human species (“anthropos” in greek), believed to be responsible for many of the powerful climatic and environmental changes we observe today.
While the Earth has become a fully fledged actor of our modernity (a "hyperobject"), i.e. because it is an actor for which summits are held, political parties are created, books are written and photographs and decisions are taken, it seems important to us to question this “anthropos” whose plural dimensions (individuals, species, nature, culture, genes, memes) have in fact long been problematized by anthropology. If indeed we are living in a period of important geological, chemical and biological transformations, we are also (and perhaps especially) witnessing a series of sociocultural and technical upheavals that are today shaking up our collective representations and prompting the emergence of new relationships to ecology, life and death.
It is the mapping of these old and new relationships that we have chosen to focus on and whose realities we would like to consider, in a pluridisciplinary approach as well as in phase with the strategic research objectives of the University of Ottawa.