Conference Announcement; Religion, Materialism and Ecology;15 -17 May 2020; The University of Manchester, UK; Speakers include Bruno Latour

The European Forum for the Study of Religion and Environment in association with the Lincoln Theological Institute

is pleased to announce its sixth international conference

Religion, Materialism and Ecology

Friday 15 May to Sunday 17 May 2020

to be held at The University of Manchester, UK

Confirmed speakers include:

Whitney Bauman (Florida International University, and Berlin)

Bruno Latour (Sciences Po, Paris)

Linn Tonstad (Yale)

A Call for Papers and further information will be published in 2019.

On behalf of the Conference committee:

Peter Scott, The University of Manchester

Sigurd Bergmann, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim

Whitney Bauman, Florida International University, and Berlin

Roberto Chiotti, Larkin Architect Limited, Toronto

Catherine Rigby, Bath Spa University

Religion, Materialism and Ecology
Because of changes brought about by, among other things, a warming climate, there has been a revival in materialism. Although there is little agreement on what ‘materialism’ means, this revival is certainly a reaction against a widespread instrumentalism regarding ‘dead matter’. At the very least, its resurgence relates to the return of non-human nature—if indeed nature ever left. The core aim of many of these materialisms is to understand matter in more animated and active ways—a sort of Romantic turn or an undoing of the postmodern end of nature. Options here include the “new materialism” (Bennett, Barad), speculative realism (Morton), and ‘actor-network theory’ (Latour). This has led to many objections from the ‘old’ materialists (i.e. Marxists) who understand nature more in terms of a factor in production and may be more cautious about ascribing agency to nature (Malm). There have also been constructive developments regarding materialism within Marxism such as metabolic rift theory (John Bellamy Foster, Paul Burkett). Feminist theorists (Haraway, for example) have been addressing the issue of materialism already especially in relation to animal and technology studies. At issue are a range of issues, including hierarchy, the nature of relationality, the relation between nature and society, human and other agencies, and ‘world picture’. The conference will aim to explore some of these new developments, including how materialist issues impinge upon religious traditions and the extent to which religions are already materialist and so have a creative contribution to make to debates about ecological materialisms.

https://www.religion-environment.com/news-and-events/

http://lincolntheologicalinstitute.com/efsre-vi/

Bath Spa University Environmental Humanities Research Centre, Free Public Lecture: Eschatological Imagination in an Age of Extinctions; Stefan Skrimshire (University of Leeds); Wednesday 12th December, 18:00 – 20:00

Eschatological Imagination in an Age of Extinctions 

Wednesday 12th December, 18:00 – 20:00

Bath Spa University, Newton Park,

Commons (NP.CM.107)

Drinks and snacks and chat after the talk

Abstract

It is increasingly recognised that ethical and cultural responses to the prospect that humans have triggered the ‘sixth mass extinction’ are shaped by environmental imagination in various ways: how lost or endangered species are mediated and represented, and how these are related to narratives of future planetary loss, including loss of human life. In this talk I will explore some of the insights that can be gained from theological and philosophical debates about eschatological (‘end-time’) imagination in Christian traditions – thinking particularly of their critical ethical functions in the past and present. Hopefully this can spark broader discussion about the future role of theology and religious studies within the environmental humanities.

Eschatological Imagination in an Age of Extinctions

About the speaker

Stefan Skrimshire is Associate Professor in the School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science at The University of Leeds where he teaches in Religion and Politics, and Continental Philosophy. He is running two AHRC research projects that focus on the implications of the Anthropocene and global extinction discourses for religion, philosophy and ethics, and a doctoral network on ‘Imagining and Representing Species Extinction’.

Free to attand but you can book a place via Bath Spa Live

CFP and info about; Forming the Future, An interdisciplinary conference at Plymouth University, 2-3 Sept 2019

We are happy to shate this info on behalf of  Dr David Sergeant; Lecturer in English post-1850 & AHRC ECR Leadership Fellow (2018-20), Plymouth University


Thinking about the future often focuses on its ‘content’: what might happen. Similarly, thinking about ‘future studies’ often concentrates on its goals, concepts and methods. But what about the forms in which the future comes couched? 

How does the medium in which the future is presented – its genres, structures, conventions – shape or influence what the future might include? What forms do representations of the future currently take in different disciplines and fields of practice – from fiction to non-fiction, the visual to the textual, science to politics – and to what effect? Can we make our representations of the future more efficacious, with a view to the current world situation? And what might different fields learn from each other, or how might they combine, in order to do this?

This conference sets out to investigate these and related questions, and to trigger dialogue within and across different areas in which the future is being ‘formed’. Proposals are welcome from researchers across the humanities, social sciences and STEM disciplines, as well as from those working outside the university sector.


 For all details and CFP see here

 

Lecture and poetry reading: From Aesop to Kafka: Talking Animals in Children’s Literature and Writing for Adults; Bath University; 4 December 2018

The Bath University Politics of Culture & Memory Cluster would like to invite you to the following afternoon event:

The Politics of Culture & Memory Cluster seminar

From Aesop to Kafka: Talking Animals in Children’s Literature and Writing for Adults

4 December 2018, 16.15-18.45, Room 1W 2.103

Two papers will be presented, by Lorraine Kerslake Young (University of Alicante/ GIECO-Instituto Franklin) and by Axel Goodbody (University of Bath/ Bath Spa University). The event will end by a poetry reading by Terry Gifford, chair of the event, from his collection of poems A Feast of Fools (2018). Refreshments including wine and nibbles will be served. All are welcome, free tickets have to be booked on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/from-aesop-to-kafka-talking-animals-in-childrens-literature-and-writing-for-adults-tickets-53010808756

Lorraine Kerslake Young (University of Alicante/ GIECO-Instituto Franklin) Raising Ecological Awareness through Talking Animals in Children’s Literature

The tradition of over-enthusiastically attributing physical human forms to real or imaginary creatures is a practice frequently encountered in children’s stories today. The fascination of children with anthropoid dressed-up creatures led by Peter Rabbit, Toad, Winnie the Pooh, Paddington Bear, Barbar, Rupert Bear and a long list of other quadruple creatures is indeed one of the most interesting developments in the history of children’s literature. But where has the genre come from and why do we think it is so suitable for children?

This paper offers an overview of the history of talking animals in children’s literature by placing the study of talking animals inside a wider literary tradition in order to consider the different uses of anthropomorphism and raise questions such as the following: Can anthropomorphism be seen as a useful tool in children’s literature for understanding animals? Could it be seen as a step towards “eradicating” anthropocentricism by educating through environmental awareness in animal stories of children’s literature? Can it be justified and even seen as necessary in order to create environmental imagination and empathy towards the other, non-human, in the child from an early age?

Axel Goodbody (University of Bath/ Bath Spa University) Undermining Human Exceptionalism in Franz Kafka’s Animal Stories

Talking animals are mainly found in children’s literature. Lorraine has argued that far from trivialising animals, annexing them to the human sphere and depriving them of their otherness and autonomy, having animals talk and look like little people can serve to arouse empathy with non-human Others in young readers and viewers, and enable them to understand animals better, thereby promoting environmental awareness and furthering environmental education. In my paper I think about what functions talking animals serve in writing for adult readers, using Kafka’s animal stories as an example. ‘Metamorphosis’ and ‘A Report to an Academy’ are classics of literary modernism, enigmatic but haunting parables which continue after a century.

Lorraine Kerslake is doctor in children’s literature and ecocriticism.  In 2013, she co-edited a special issue of the review Feminismo/s (CEM) on Ecofeminism: Women and Nature. She is an active member of the ecocriticism group GIECO and in 2018 she published The Voice of Nature in Ted Hughes’s Writing for Children: Correcting Culture’s Error (Routledge).

Axel Goodbody is Emeritus Professor of German and European Culture at the University of Bath, UK. His publications include, as co-editor, Ecocritical Theory: New European Approaches (2011) and Climate Change Scepticism (2019)

Terry Gifford is Visiting Research Fellow in Environmental Humanities at Bath Spa University and Profesor Honorifico at the University of Alicante. Author of eight collections of poetry and author/editor of seven books on Ted Hughes, his research interests also include post-pastoral theory, John Muir, new nature writing and ecopoetics. He is the author of the poetry collection A Feast of Fools.

with best wishes,

Christina & Jorge

Dr Christina Horvath

Senior Lecturer in French

Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies

University of Bath

1 West North  4.25, Bath BA2 7AY

+44 (0)1225 383272

c.horvath@bath.ac.uk

www.banlieuenetwork.org

https://co-creation-network.org

 

Call for papers: Inside Festival Cultures: Fields, Bodies, Ecologies. A Conference organised by the University of Birmingham; 16th and 17th May 2019

Call for papers

Inside Festival Cultures: Fields, Bodies, Ecologies

A Conference organised by the University of Birmingham

Untitled

https://blog.bham.ac.uk/festivalcultures/

16th and 17th May 2019

Preliminary online workshop scheduled for the 18th of February 2019 (4.00 pm to 6.00 pm), which will consider a proposal for an edited collection and contribute towards the design of the conference.

Convened by: Dr Jeremy Kidwell and Dr Maria Nita

Confirmed speakers:

Dr Marion Bowman (The Open University), Prof. François Gauthier (University of Fribourg), Prof Sharif Gemie (The University of Chichester), Prof Graham Harvey (The Open University).

Inside Festival Cultures

The key concern of the proposed conference is to investigate important developments in a growing transatlantic modern festival culture. We will ask how have festivals made use of traditional cultural practices? Are festivals acculturative hubs, thus assisting society to make sense of change? Are festivals laboratories for cultural change and innovation? Might festivals present us with opportunities for ‘an ecological reconciliation’?

The conference will investigate the forces shaping festivals, such as tradition, commemoration, commercialisation, globalisation and innovation. In particular, this event will focus on the role festivals have in processes of cultural transmission in the contemporary world. Modern festivals emerged in the context of significant social and cultural change in the 1960s. Over the past five decades, festival networks have developed a model based on oral traditions, drawn from the memorialisation of the free festivals of the 1960s. Woodstock’s and Glastonbury’s iconic naked festival bodies signalled a profound societal change, whilst displaying a nostalgic re-enactment of and yearning for a simpler past and community. In recent years, trans-national festival networks, like the Burning Man festival, have consciously promoted community-oriented spiritual practices. Our proposed conference wishes to illuminate the facets of these varied dynamics inside festival cultures.

Modern festivals represent a new and exciting area of study reflected by both the rising scholarly interest and the continuous growth of this phenomenon in the West during the past five decades. This era of late modernity or postmodernity was marked by important cultural, social and environmental changes, such as increased globalisation, and the environmental and societal effects of anthropogenic climate change. Modern festivals have to be considered in conjunction with these developments. Hence the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert is seen by some scholars as an experiment in community resilience in response to climate change, whereby the arid climate of the desert represents a projection of the future of mankind. Perhaps following the earlier transatlantic route of the 1960s, that of Woodstock and Glastonbury, Burning Man is currently extending in Europe.  Such developments should be investigated against the backdrop of other significant global trends, such as the decline of institutionalised religious traditions as well as political, economic and socio-cultural changes. The conference will develop a scholarly conversation around the wider implications of festival culture in Britain and abroad.

More specifically the conference will explore the interplay between two areas of investigation, namely the development and transmission of tradition/s on one hand and, and on the other, the roles festivals have in showcasing innovation and experimentation with cultural change. Many scholars have argued that increased mobility and globalisation in our contemporary world is impacting on the established channels for cultural transmission, thus leading to increased secularisation and a loss in traditional cultural values. Others have shown that festivals can represent important commemorative spaces, and that the transmission of religious and other cultural elements may continue despite decline or disruptions in such institutions as the church, communities of place, the traditional family and so on. At the same time we increasingly live in a world dominated by change, uncertainty and risk, and scholars recognised that the implications of living with unprecedented global risk in a detraditionalised society involve the development of new types of subversive social movements. Festivals appear to have developed in this context and against such global trends, yet during the past five decades they have themselves changed significantly, with some public and academic voices deploring their decline into an increasingly corporate ethos.

We expect the conference will attract broad interdisciplinary participation, which will help us explore broader themes in this field of research and begin a dialogue on the role festivals have in shaping an emerging global culture, as well as their role in mediating change and promoting cultural innovation.

We welcome 20-minute papers that could include but are not limited to the following topics:

(1) ‘Festival fields as sites of commemoration’;

(2) ‘Music, orality and tradition in global encounters’;

(3) ‘Festival bodies: change and cultural transmission’

(4) ‘Greening and consumerism at festivals.’

Proposals of about 200 words together with a short biographical note (50 words) in Word or PDF format should be sent to M.Nita@bham.ac.uk by February 1st, 2019. 

Call for papers: Towards Extinction, To Ward Off Extinction An International Conference organised by CECILLE (Centre d’Etudes en Civilisations, Langues et Lettres Étrangères) 7-9 November 2019 Université de Lille SHS, France

We are sharing this CFP via Sarah Jonckheere <sarah.jonckheere(at)univ-lille.fr>


Call for papers:  Towards Extinction, To Ward Off Extinction

An International Conference organised by CECILLE (Centre d’Etudes en Civilisations, Langues et Lettres Étrangères)

7-9 November 2019 Université de Lille SHS, France

Convened by: Thomas Dutoit (CECILLE), Sarah Jonckheere (CECILLE/IdA), and Laura Lainväe (EMMA)

Keynote speakers:
Sarah Wood, co-editor and advisory board of OLR and Angelaki, UK

Jesse Oak Taylor, University of Washington, USA

Towards Extinction, To Ward Off Extinction

More than 99 percent of all species that have inhabited the Earth are estimated to be extinct (Beverly Peterson Stearns and Stephen C. Stearns). Hence, extinction cannot be reduced to futuristic scenarios only: it is at same time present (species are going extinct right now), present in absence (with the traces left behind by past extinctions), and awaiting in the future (extinction of multiple species and their habitats because of the human-caused climate change). Those past, present, and future extinctions construct a complex web of life and death, of coexistence and coextinction.

Extinction is thus an event that is complex, multiple, and haunting, if only because of the ambivalent responses it draws forth. On the one hand, doomsayers express a self-annihilating desire for extinction and consider that humanity is fast-set on a fateful, timely death-course. On the other hand, eco-minded people still hope to find that railroad switch which would allow for a last-minute alteration of mankind’s trajectory. This desire for the quenching out of the human race, along with the concomitant attempts at averting the end, might be symptomatic of the very uncanniness and plurality of extinction itself.

More generally, this attraction/repulsion reaction towards extinction might in fact point to the way one can approach it: to make the unavoidable avoidable, one ought to think about it; in other words, it is necessary to extend one’s thoughts towards extinction in order to ward off extinction. Thought radiates at the core of extinction.

One might argue that it is lack of thinking, and more importantly lack of thinking otherness (i.e. non-human species), coupled with a sinister capitalistic greed, that brought about the Anthropocene: indeed, as early as the Industrial Era, man’s inherently constitutive role in the fashioning of the then-discovered geological record became evident. Extinction was thereby written into our modern concept of time. Even as the concept of anthropogenic agency emerged, mankind’s invention of modern science, and especially evolution, had a gory impact upon animals, violently translating them into species and media through brutal processes of killing, excoriating, eviscerating, etc. (Jesse Oak Taylor).[1]

As humans, we need to be aware of our power to rewrite the earth with pollution, overfarming, deforestation etc.; but we should not forget that we are not only the infamous influencers of the earth, but also the readers of the earth: reading the geological strata, reading fossils, reading animal traces, and reading the consequences of climate change.

One might even aver that the next great extinction is a literary event: it can always only, and by definition, be imagined because if it were to happen actually, there would be no humans left to do the imagining.

This conference will attempt to open up new avenues to alter our ways of thinking about the earth and thinking about otherness in a more eco-responsible way: instead of wounding, the emphasis will be put on caring, on caring for the other, and with the other. Underlying this conference is the urgent need to undermine and decentre all anthropocentric views of human exceptionalism in order to reassess such notions as empathy and responsibility: how can one (take) care and be responsible for the earth? How can we implement an environmental ethics in order to stave off extinction? How does extinction force us to be responsible, not only for present-day non-human species but also to take responsibility and respond for dead species? How can literature make us more responsible readers and writers of the earth?

We welcome 20-minute papers that could include but are not limited to the following topics:

  • thinking extinction, extinction as possibility of impossibility, or impossibility of possibility
  • ambivalence of extinction
  • records and traces of extinction
  • sensationality of extinction
  • extinction and cinema
  • climate change and extinction
  • extinction and repetition
  • literature, responsibility, and extinction
  • extinction and responsibility

Proposals of about 300 words together with a short biographical note (50 words) in Word or PDF format should be sent to towards.extinction.lille2019@gmail.com by February 1st, 2019. Files should be named and submitted in the following manner:

Submission.FirstNameLastName.docx (or .doc or .pdf)

Example: “Submission.JaneDoe.docx”

[1] As Jesse Oak Taylor explains, “[i]n order for species to take shape, animals first had to become specimens. The “type” had to be abstracted from the individual life as that life was converted physically and violently into a sign (“Tennyson’s Elegy for the Anthropocene: Genre, Form, and Species Being.” Victorian Studies 58.2 [2016]: 224-233).

Photos of Bath Spa University’s MA Environmental Humanities field trip to Lower Woods Nature Reserve; Inglestone Common and Hawkesbury Church; South Gloucestershire

Thanks to Neil Lodge of Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust for a great guided tour of the woods.

We had various encounters with place, landscape, plants and animals, and heard about a range of ecological issues and challenges faced by the woods and commons, and some history of this ancient landscape. We discovered that Saint Wulfstan (c. 1008 – 20 January 1095), patron saint of vegetarianism, is commemorated in the nearby Hawkesbury Church, as he was one of its priests before becoming Bishop of Worcester in 1062. Professor Kate Rigby read the poem ‘The Mores’ by John Clare, a critical commentary and lament on the enclosures of the common lands where he lived. It was fascinating to see the wide open spaces of Hawkesbury and Inglestone Commons, remnants of pre-enclosure landscapes.