Eros in the Commons: Educating for Eco-ethical Consciousness in a Poetics of Place
In this essay I refer to eros as the force that plays on our bodies and connects us to the larger community of life, an embodied form of love that charges the will towards well-being. Analyzing the ways that eros can be engaged and expressed in the “commons” as a life sustaining force, I look to current, on-the-ground work being done in Detroit, MI where a grassroots network of artists, community-builders, educators and neighborhood folk are revitalizing their city. Linking this work and the love I experienced with them to childhood experiences in my own homeplace in northern New York State, I argue for the development of eco-ethical consciousness within an erotic “poetics of place” where the natural world speaks to us within our interpretive, expressive efforts. Finally, in an explication of education as those generative relations that are specifically oriented towards well-being, I look to the relation among eros, language and the creation of the commons as a critical educational endeavor. If we are to stem the tide of ecological destruction now upon us, we will need educators in public schools who recognize and are able to create classroom practices that encourage an “eco-erosic love” and thus inspire students who can protect the fragile relationship of their human communities to the ecosystems upon which we depend.
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