Emma Plowe


Project Title: A New Case for Love: Decreasing Alienation in the Anthropocene

Project Description: Alienation, or estrangement, occurs when we are not making connections with family & friends, communities, the objects around us, nature, or ourselves. The Anthropocene, or the time in which humans rule over the wilderness, created walls between humans, between humans and nature, and thus within humans themselves. This age encourages wall building at each layer of possible sentient nourishment, with social media substituting the exploration for spiritual and/or psychological cultivation.

I theorize that seemingly excessive attention to and acknowledgement of love, in a love-ethic, may heal the alienation caused by the harm of colonialism, the Digital Age, the sixth extinction, and the traumas of the past 500 years. But alas, what is love? Love is a verb; love is an ongoing, daily commitment to our own and each other’s spiritual (or personal, “deep down”) growth. Love is forming connections for the sake of mutual betterment. Love is in our cells, in the professor’s oak desk, in the ground. I continue the conversation around bell hooks’ love-ethic, examining it alongside information and experiences from Animistic cultures, religions which highlight love like Mahayana Buddhism and mystical Sufism and Christianity, to understand how we can create a more harmonious and connected inner and outer world. I also place great weight on our community’s and society’s current understanding and praxis of love.

Most Important Accomplishment: Writing prose that moves.

Reflections on the College Scholar Program: To find a place at Cornell which nourishes out-of-the-box thinking is quite a privilege. To be able to study things which are interdisciplinary, which require head scratching and heart pounding, is to truly study truth.