Eva Maria Korsisaari
Ph.D., Postdoctoral Researcher
Member of the research group Representing and Sensing Nature, Landscape and Gender from the 1st of September 2009
On Encountering Flowers: Affect, Intention and Wonder
My research project, with its working title On Encountering Flowers: Affect, Intention and Wonder, explores both philosophical and literary depictions of encounters between humans and flowers. I analyse the nature of these encounters by concentrating especially on the themes of affectivity and intentionality. The background of my research is in the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, which asserts that the objects we perceive affect us actively: Merleau-Ponty, for example, argues that all experience is constituted on the basis of affective perception, and that we connect to the world and communicate with it in a mode which can be compared to erotic experiencing.
My project follows and continues two different discussions. One is to be traced between Buddha, Martin Buber and Luce Irigaray, who all emphasise affect in the experiences and perceptions. The other vital discussion for my research is between Immanuel Kant, Jacques Derrida, Hélène Cixous and Clarice Lispector. In their writings and commentaries on each other’s writings they contemplate intentionality in encountering flowers: are the encounters coloured by interest or wonder, and how do these different attitudes influence the encounter?
The aim of my research is to explore the sensing and conceptualizing of nature by concentrating on one special case, namely flowers and our ways of perceiving them. By discussing literary sources I wish to rethink the meanings and significance of nature. At the same time, my research unsettles the notion of flowers as feminine objects of admiration: both in the conversations I study and in my own discussion nature is not seen as passive or static. Rather, flowers are powerful, dynamic and energetic creatures.
Eva Maria Korsisaari
P.O. Box 59
Unioninkatu 38 E
00014 University of Helsinki