Five Desires, Five Demands

Jennifer Hamilton and Astrida Neimanis

We propose that feminist studies are particularly well-situated to analyse the paradox of what ‘we humans’ want as we gaze into the eyes of planetary catastrophe.

The contributions in the special issue evoke tensions between a capitalist imperative to consume, activist calls for resistance, and queer feminist figurations of sex and longing.

Asking in turn what we as editors want from the project of feminist environmental humanities, we respond: (1) we want to spark new relations between desire and demand from within environmental crisis; (2) we want a fulsomely feminist environmental humanities; (3) we want to inhabit the difficult and necessary articulation of ‘feminism’ and ‘environment’; (4) we want multiple, situated, perversely scaled and historically awkward genealogies for environmental humanities; and (5) we want ‘to take up the burden of remaking our world’.

We contextualise these demands via a series of examples: the drought and bushfires currently gripping the places we are writing from; Betty Grumble’s performance LOVE AND ANGER; an origin story of feminist environmental humanities as told from our particular perspectives; and a 1943 short story, ‘Dry Spell’, by Australian writer Marjorie Barnard. We argue for the feminist potency of holding desire in tension with demand.

Keywords: feminism, environmental humanities, desire, climate change, environment


Jennifer Mae Hamilton & Astrida Neimanis (2019) Five Desires, Five Demands, Australian Feminist Studies, 34:102, 385-397, DOI: 10.1080/08164649.2019.1702875

Full text download: Here