Miles Sarvis-Wilburn

Writer, researcher, and independent scholar at the juncture of critical theory and ecology.

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About My Work

With an academic background in critical theory and political philosophy, I approach beekeeping and ecology from a less traveled perspective.  Much of the current work regarding pollinators and their habitats looks through the lens of so-called hard sciences such as entomology.  While these studies are vital, they are necessarily limited in their scope and require support from other fields as we strive towards a totality of theory and practice. 

My work falls into three main categories: fieldwork with North Coast Apiaries and the Perone hive, critique of contemporary beekeeping, and research into how we can incorporate apiculture into a larger and more sustainable ecological domain.  These three categories are not distinct in practice, but fully integrated residing at that loosely defined articulation between critical theory and ecology.

 
 
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North Coast Apiaries

I founded North Coast Apiaries in 2016 as North America's first and sole research organization dedicated to the practice of PermApiculture.  PermApiculture is a form of non-invasive, sustainable beekeeping coined by Argentinian master apiarist Oscar Perone and involves the use of his hive design, known as the Perone hive.  Mr. Perone writes that this "is a system of beekeeping designed to imitate the bees' habitat in nature as closely as possible."  We build our hives by hand and contract with local, organic and biodynamic farms to research the viability of this hive along the northern California coast.  For more information please visit: www.permapiculture.com.


A Critical Approach

I view beekeeping as a practice and industry in crisis.  Beyond external factors such as colony collapse disorder, mites and diseases, and habitat destruction and degradation, beekeeping suffers internal crises as well.  It is time beekeepers thought deeply about what it means to keep bees in the first place.  In doing so, space must be made for native bees and other pollinators, restraint must be exercised in propagating honey bee colonies, and our entire philosophy on beekeeping must be evaluated.  Towards this end, I write critique for local, national, and international publications on a variety of topics related to the honey bee and beekeeping.  I also give talks and presentations at meetings, seminars, and conferences.  If you would like to discuss potential presentation opportunities, please see the contact form at the bottom of this site.


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Beyond Beekeeping

One fatal issue with modern industrial beekeeping is, ironically, its focus on the honey bee.  The honey bee is the world's most studied insect and yet, in spite of generations of intense research into this tiny creature, we cannot provide adequate theories to grasp the difficulties at hand.  In contrast, it is simplistic but accurate to state that the honey bee is integrally tied to the flower, the flower to the top soil, and the top soil to the watershed.  Thinking of the honey bee in isolation, then, betrays its life-world and encourages short-term solutions to larger complex problems.  We must broaden our scope of research and strive towards a totality of theory encompassing not only the bee itself, but its neighboring creatures, habitat, and finally, ourselves.  I endeavor to situate beekeeping within a larger ecological perspective whereby beekeepers evolve beyond their apiaries and become stewards of their environments.

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Curriculum Vitae

Education

M.A., Critical Theory and Creative Research - Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, OR, 2015

  • Thesis: Theater of Resignation: Functionalism and Posthistorical Politics

B.A., Political Science - Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo, MI, 2008

  • Minor in Philosophy, Focus in Creative Writing

International Baccalaureate Bilingual Diploma - International High School, San Francisco, CA, 2004

High School Diploma of Completion - International High School, San Francisco, CA, 2004

Diplome National Du Brevet - French American International School, San Francisco, CA, 2001

 

Professional Development

Columnist - The Extractor, Sonoma County Beekeepers Association, CA, 2017 to present

Organizational Representative - Western Apiculture Society Convention, Davis, CA, 2017

Panelist/Presenter - Media Ecology Association Eighteenth Annual Convention, Moraga, CA, 2017

Organizational Representative - North Coast Forest Convention Conference, Santa Rosa, CA, 2017

Writer in Residence - Sterling Room for Writers, Portland, OR, 2016

Contributor - The Leonid Project, Portland, OR, 2016

Artist and Scholar in Residence - Caldera Arts Center, Sisters, OR, 2015

Researcher in Residence - International Sustainable Development Studies Institute, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2006-2007

Mentor/Facilitator - Helping Youth Through Personal Empowerment (HYPE), Kalamazoo County Juvenile Home, Kalamazoo, MI, 2005-2008

Publications

In addition to critiquing contemporary apiculture and its relationship to ecology, I also write poetry and prose.  Below is a list of previously published material.

Essay:

Honey Bees and The (new) Endless Drought, The Extractor, May 2018

The Dystopian Bees of Blade Runner 2049, Bee Culture Magazine, April 2018

Why Honey Bees Don't Have Problems, Bee Culture Magazine, BEEkeeping: Your First Three Years, Spring 2018

Too Many Bees Too Little Forage, The Extractor, March 2018

Seeing Past Scorched Earth, The Extractor, December 2017

Poetry:

Sermon at Balch Creek, Birdland Journal

The St. John's Bridge, Light: A Journal of Photography and Poetry

[my home is at low tide], Light: A Journal of Photography and Poetry

[this is how it begins-], Gravel: A Literary Journal

Soldier Boy, Untitled, with Passengers

[Where could anyone], Inner Art Journal

[lame… she said: and changed the channel. blackness cuts the color], DEAD FLOWERS: A Poetry Rag

I Stood, Passage 2007-2008

Traveling Once, Passage 2007-2008

Fiction & Creative Nonfiction:

In The Mountains Of Mae Hong Son, Outside In Literary & Travel Magazine

The Crow Congress, Danse Macabre

On the Motorbike, Anak Sastra

Weather Premiums, *82 Review

Summer Evening Slalom, Vector Press

The Truth About The Toilet, The Casserole Art & Literary Magazine

Buried On Route, The Pavilion Literary Magazine

The Tiny Penis Brigade, Gravel Literary Journal

A World Of Boxes, Workers Write! More Tales From The Cubicle

[The drunks stumble around like sick bees...], 100 word story

Airport Asthma. Airplane Reading

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Contact

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