January 1, 2022

In 2022, we are now two years in.

This second year, we started editing what we wrote in the first.

As separate islands, we started to expand ...

“intimacy without proximity ... ” — Donna Haraway

Back in 2020, as you might remember, we originally ended our annual letter with the above quotation.

It was a strange coincidence that we chose this in early 2020, as mere months later, “intimacy without proximity” became a priority within our new world amidst a global pandemic.

It was around this time that we became curious about the original source of the quote, and after some digging, we realized it wasn’t exactly a Donna Haraway quote. Instead, it was the title of an environmental ethics paper about the relationship between grizzly bears and humans, written by a graduate student named Jacob Metcalf. In the paper, which is titled “Intimacy without Proximity: Encountering Grizzlies as a Companion Species,” Metcalf cited and thanked both of his teachers—Karen Barad for suggesting the title “Intimacy without Proximity,” and Donna Haraway for the term that appears in the subtitle, “Companion Species.” (Donna Haraway subsequently cited Metcalf, using the phrase “intimacy without proximity” in her essay “Staying with the Trouble.”)

We felt slightly embarrassed that we mis-cited at first. Although no one really seemed to notice, it felt important to amend this in order to reflect the complex relationship of authors linked to the single phrase. Over the summer, we quietly updated our CSS website with all three names, trailing off into the distance…

“intimacy without proximity ... ” . Donna Haraway
                                     . Jacob Metcalf
                                        . Karen Barad
which later evolved into…
“intimacy without proximity …” — Karen Barad ⋱ Jacob Metcalf ⋱ Donna Haraway

With this gesture, our symbol ⋱ became what we’ve taken to calling “multidimensional citation,” a way of tracing not only the source of a quote but the learning trail supporting and surrounding it. We believe that a citation should not be singular but rather connected to the lineage of research that came before it, and therefore also inspiring research that will someday extend it further. We hoped our ⋱ would be understood as a gesture towards this truth.

We are excited to share more about ⋱ in a piece of published writing later this very year. Looking forward to all this and more, on the horizon …

Laura, Laurel, Mindy