This article makes a case for a ‘buddy system’ approach to research and scholarship, or a kind of ‘caring with’ our colleagues, as feminist praxis and as an intentional, politicized response to the neoliberalization of the academy. Through autoethnographic writing on our travels together into farmed animal auction yards, we explain the buddy system as a mode of caring, solidarity, and love that differs from collaborative research, focused as it is on caring for and about our colleagues and their research even (or especially) when we have no direct stakes in the research being conducted. We contribute to three feminist conversations with this approach: feminist care ethics in geography; emotional geographies; and critical perspectives on the neoliberalization of the academy. We advocate the buddy system as an extension of feminist care ethics, enriching how feminists think about ‘doing’ research. We draw on feminist geographies of emotion and our own emotions (grief especially) experienced while witnessing processes of nonhuman animal commodification to politicize the act of researching and to develop a more caring way of inhabiting the academy. This is particularly important, we argue, in the context of deepening neoliberal logics that turn the academy into a place where care and love become radical acts of resistance and transformation.
Keywords: Feminist praxis, care ethics, witnessing, ‘buddy system’, emotional geographies, grief