Land Matters: Stories of Survival, Peasant Roots & Peasant Futurisms
Peasant Futurisms , Edible and wilder eco-cities , Cyclical economies , Regeneretive agriculture , Protected greenbelts , Undercommons , Eco-social justice
Combining my literary writing practice with academic research, this doctoral research-creation project reads ecological and social violence as “one phenomenon” caused by early capitalism and intensifying after the industrial revolution in 1850, and especially after the neoliberal tide post-1945 (Moore 120-136). My project responds to the social, ecological and climate crisis subjectively, from my situated knowledge. As a type of life writing that tends toward autotheory, the “Stories of Survival” section deconstructs narratives of empire building, colonization, nation-state borders of exclusion, and the often-traumatic experiences of a refugee, illegal immigrant, and temporary guest who immigrated to Canada not by choice, but as an act of survival. This opening section is told from the point of view of my (severed) relationship to land and sets the narrative and theoretical context for the next two chapters. Disillusioned by my stories of survival, the “Peasant Roots” chapter returns to my ancestral past and explores the life of my Bosniak (Muslim Bosnian) peasant grandparents through knowledges, values, and practices of subsistence farming and self-sustainability; local gift, barter and exchange economies; the čaršija (farmers’ market) as a mechanism for local economies (Lockwood 120); komšiluk (neighbourhood life), halal exchange, and collaborative labour as practices of mutual aid (Henig 3); the zadruga (multigenerational household) and peasant minimalism (Barić 3-7). From these peasant roots, I articulate a kind of re-enchantment through an alternative futurity which I call “Peasant Futurisms.” So as not to reproduce white supremacy and other forms of domination, this subaltern world-building project is a work of political art meant to be taken up by members of what Fred Moten and Stefano Harney call “the undercommons,” including Black, Indigenous, queer, trans, poor, disabled and peasant folk. As a nexus of neoliberal power, cities and urban lifeworlds represent patterns of power, capital, and nature that must be challenged. Peasant Futurisms challenges capitalist cities built for cars and big commerce by sketching edible and wilder ecocities surrounded by protected greenbelts and peasant/regenerative organic farmer belts within local cyclical economies.