This website is all about alternatives to Empire—including feminism, anarchism, permaculture, decolonization, antiracism, and other movements and practices.
I’m a PhD student writing on (and working in) these movements and the ways they are cultivating healthier forms of social, political, and ecological relationships.
I’m going to use this blog to write about the people I talk to and the stuff I read over the course of my PhD (I hope to finish by 2017 or so). I’m trying to tag and categorize my posts so it’s organized:
The Audio page contains links to podcasts, lectures, audio documentaries, and other resources
that I’ve found in my research.
The Video page has lectures, documentaries, and other video resources.
The Reading Summaries page has summaries, analysis, and questions from books and articles I’m reading for my research.
The Writing page has posts of my own writing about all this stuff.
The News & Reblogs page has reblogged content from other sites.
All over the world, people are recovering and cultivating alternative ways of living (and inventing new ones) in the shadow of Empire. I use ‘Empire’ to refer to the complex of colonialism, capitalism, bureaucracy, racism, ecocide, heteropatriarchy, and other interlocking processes of domination and control. My own research is focused on alternatives connected to permaculture and anarchism, and the ways these alternatives can be deepened and radicalized by decolonization, feminism, antiracism, and other movements that create and sustain radical, alternative ways of living and relating. I’m interested in what’s going on at the “edges” of all these movements–what new practices and ways of living become possible when they come into contact and inform each other? How do these movements prefigure new and old ways of living that are convivial and support thriving ecosystems and communities? How can place-based movements be radical, joyful, and responsible at the same time? How can permaculturalists and anarchists build networks of resistance and resilience, in ways that challenge colonialism, white supremacy, and patriarchy? What are the potentials of these movements, and what are some common pitfalls? What does it mean for settlers to create place-based communities on colonized land? What makes movements transformative, and what leads to their co-optation? How are communities defending themselves and their lands against enclosure and exploitation? What are the common challenges, lessons, or practices to learn from? How are folks developing alliances and networks across struggles and communities?
This research is also personal: I’m trying to figure out how to do food and land politics in conversation and solidarity with other movements resisting the dominant order, and to think and write in ways that are relevant beyond the academy. From what I’ve encountered, women, people of colour, and indigenous peoples are leading the way in creating alternatives to Empire. They are at the forefront of radical departures from the dominant order partly because they’re often the most oppressed, but also because they’ve refused to give up the traditions, practices, and lifeways that Empire has tried to colonize and eliminate. I’m rooting my research in permaculture and anarchism not because these are the most promising or radical movements (in fact, they’re often dominated by white men like me), but instead because I want to work within them to find their edges, and help forge connections to other radical movements.
Plenty of people are already asking these questions, so I am really just trying to find them and join the conversation, learn what I can, and hopefully contribute something useful.
If any of this interests you, and you’re working on related questions (in academia or in your community, or both), I would love to hear from you.
You can reach me at cultivatingalternatives[at]gmail.com
My name is Nick Montgomery and I’m doing my PhD in the Cultural Studies program at Queen’s University, in Kingston, Ontario. I’m sometimes there, but I mostly live on the other side of the continent in Lekwungen territory (Victoria, British Columbia).