Published 25 January 2021
Congratulations to Dr Astrida Neimanis as she leaves her post as Associate Professor in the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies to take up an exciting new position in environmental feminist studies at the University of British Columbia Okanagan.
Since joining the University and the Sydney Environment Institute in 2015, Astrida has been an incredibly original, generative, collaborative feminist presence. Her research on the body and embodiment, on water and queer blue humanities, and on ecofeminist interpretations of planetary flows, toxicities, weathers and alter-futures has all been absolutely central to the development of a new generation of feminist ecologies.
Emulating the bodies of water that flow through her research, Astrida’s thinking is simultaneously local and global, consciously fluid, generous and gestational. Her work feels at home in art galleries as much as conferences, and indeed, Astrida routinely leads her colleagues, audiences and students out of familiar lecture halls to feel the significance of being in place – from Clovelly Beach to Lithgow’s mines, from the banks of the Cooks River in Marrickville to quarries in Hawai’i.
As a Key Researcher at the SEI, Astrida has been a prolific collaborator, contributing to dozens of workshops, panels, performances and conference events, and leading many research projects and events including the Everyday Militarisms collaboratory, Making Space, and the HumanNature environmental humanities lecture series.
“Astrida has an infectious collaborative spirit that can elevate those voices who sit at the fringes of academic knowledge and understanding.”
– Michelle St Anne, SEI Deputy Director
Her projects consistently yoke together multidisciplinary constellations of poets, choreographers, ecologists, philosophers, activists, Indigenous leaders and emerging scholars, co-creating tight-knit generative communities where immersion in the world and each other are at the centre. This focus on constructed relationality has created both unique communities of scholars and a range of creative outputs that have brought science and the humanities into conversation.
“Astrida brought to the SEI not simply the brilliance of her work as a feminist environmental theorist, but her infinite creativity and unfailing commitment to opening the windows of the academy to let all the elements of the world blow in. Her dedication to emerging scholars, to ensuring that a range of voices and perspectives shape how we think and act, and to living in her own practice the ethical principles that we seek has left us all with a model to emulate.”
– Danielle Celermajer, SEI Deputy Director
Through it all is Astrida’s absolute passion and enthusiasm for the work and the world – and the way that she generates that same enthusiasm in her students and collaborators. While we hope the University will hire more feminist environmental scholars, SEI is dedicated to keeping both the ecofeminist critiques and methodologies Astrida has forged as part of our own practice.
In keeping with the long-standing feminist legacy of confronting and dissolving binaries, Astrida has taught many of us that it is more than possible to maintain an unfalteringly critical eye towards hierarchies of power that perpetuate systemic injustice, whilst still practicing fierce compassion. In fact, it is both these qualities that are absolutely and mutually necessary in imagining and constructing alternative futures.
“Astrida’s seminal work in the blue humanities and environmental feminisms has helped to forge central themes of the SEI’s research, and her research embodies so many of the Institute’s own values of collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and unrelenting demands for intersectional social and environmental justice.”
– David Schlosberg, SEI Director
We are so thrilled for Astrida and we wish her and her family all the best as they move across to British Columbia. No doubt Astrida would be the first to recognise that the ocean is not what stands to separate Canadian and Australian shores, but what will keep us joined. Astrida will remain a cherished member of the Institute’s research family, and we look forward to trans-Pacific collaborations in the future.