Crosscuts: Stockholm Environmental Humanities Festival for Film & Text, on the theme Ruptured Times, 22-24 Nov

Where: Bio Rio, Hornstulls Strand 3, Stockholm

The second edition of Crosscuts is here! This year the Annals of Crosscuts, a new peer-reviewed publication format for film-based research, will be introduced. The festival’s honorary guests are the urban scholar and sociologist Saskia Sassen and the filmmaker and postcolonial writer Trinh T. Minh-ha. Additionally, the festival will feature readings by Athena Farrokhzad and Jennifer Hayashida as well as conversations with researchers, activists and artists from all over the world.

Crosscuts is organized by the KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory (EHL) at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment in collaboration with the Department of Media Studies at Stockholm University, the Situated Ecologies Platform and Bio Rio. Program and tickets at https://crosscuts.se/program/  
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A Roundtable Session on Teaching Environmental Humanities, with the Posthumanities Hub and Environmental Humanities Lab

When: Thursday 14 Nov, 13:15-14:45
Where: in the big seminar room at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH (Teknikringen 74 D, Stockholm).

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In the pilot project “Popularizing environmental humanities: Film and media resources for young adults pondering the stakes for the future”* (Formas communication grant), the challenge of “popularizing” was approached through integrative learning and co-storytelling in the classroom. Instead of creating media resources for the students to digest, they were asked to critically engage with environmental issues through creative storytelling and film making. In this Roundtable session, the project will be introduced and some key questions concerning teaching and communicating EH addressed. Another approach to teaching and communicating has been practiced by Marco Armiero in his open-air classes during Fridays for Future climate strikes, and through this Roundtable we wish to share and compare experiences from these two approaches.  

Participants: Marco Armiero, Janna Holmstedts, Jesse Petersen, Lotten Wiklund and Cecilia Åsberg.
Chair: Roberta Biasillo.

*”Popularizing environmental humanities”, a collaboration between Professor Cecilia Åsberg (pi), the Posthumanities Hub, KTH, and Lotten Wiklund (co-pi), science journalist at Kajman Media, was implemented mainly during spring 2019 together with researchers affiliated with the Posthumanities Hub, and a group of third grade students attending Samhällsvetenskapsprogrammet at Bromma gymnasium in Stockholm. Janna Holmstedt, PhD, acted as facilitator for the workshops. Participating researchers were Christina Fredengren, Jesse Petersen, Vera Weetzel, Janna Holmstedt and Cecila Åsberg.

The Posthumanities Hub Seminar with Dr. Lauren LaFauci

Welcome to the Posthumanities Hub seminar with Dr. Lauren LaFauci (Linköping University, SE) on “Histories and Perceptions of Climate in Early American Literature and Culture”.

The event takes place on 8th April 2019 at 13:15 – 15:00 in the big seminar room at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Teknikringen 74D, level 5, SE-114 28 Stockholm).

Histories and Perceptions of Climate in Early American Literature and Culture

Abstract:

This society [British America before the Revolution] . . . does not afford that variety of tinges and gradations which may be observed in Europe, we have colours peculiar to ourselves. For instance, it is natural to conceive that those who live near the sea must be very different from those who live in the woods; the intermediate space will afford a separate and distinct class.
Men are like plants; the goodness and flavor of the fruit proceeds from the peculiar soil and exposition in which they grow. We are nothing but what we derive from the air we breathe, the climate we inhabit, the government we obey, the system of religion we profess, and the nature of our employment.
. . .Whoever traverses the continent must easily observe those strong differences, which will grow more evident in time. The inhabitants of Canada, Massachusetts, the middle provinces, the southern ones, will be as different as their climates; their only points of unity will be those of religion and language.
—J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur, Letter III, Letters from an American Farmer (1782)

In this passage from Crèvecoeur’s famous essay, “What is an American,” he offers a defining imagination of Americans growing alongside and in harmony with their environments. Importantly, he considers the social, political, cultural, and ecological as all part of the “environment” shaping the individual, and ultimately, the collective in the nation that was then taking shape. While Crèvecoeur himself fled the “New World” upon outbreak of Revolution to return to the Old, his collection of Letters from an American Farmer defined for many Europeans and Americans alike a way of understanding the citizen as an ever-evolving constellation of multivalent forces acting upon the body.

How did early Americans imagine, perceive, and interpret their climate? How did these formulations change over time, between first European contact and the turn of the 20th century? This talk will provide an overview of some of the ideas and assumptions about weather and climate common to early Americans. The place-based ontology Crèvecoeur theorizes here was not in itself a new way of understanding human development, but his formulation opened up the space for an enormous variety of regional and local human peculiarities as varied as the climates (and weathers) associated with them. The resultant environmental determinism became, in the United States at least, the dominant way of theorizing embodiment—including physical and mental disease and health—until the advent of germ theory at the turn of the 20th century.

A second, broader concern of this talk is to discuss the role of historicist environmental humanities work in an age of climate change. Much environmental humanities research is, understandably, presentist: we face a daily barrage of environmental crises, local and global, as well as the longer-term, slower violences of climate change at large. Amidst these imminent crises, the presentist focus is not only understandable; it may also be desirable. But where does such a focus leave those of us who spend our days teaching and researching in pre-Anthropocenic periods? What is the relevance and significance of environmental humanities research before the Anthropocene? What does such work have to contribute to environmental humanities at large? This second focus of my talk will, I hope, generate discussion about the theoretical concepts, empirical materials, and/or historiographical interventions that are significant to EH research today.

Bio:

Lauren LaFauci is assistant professor of environmental humanities in the Unit of Gender Studies, Department of Thematic Studies at Linköping University in Sweden, where she also directs the “Multispecies Stories” research area of the Seed Box Environmental Humanities Collaboratory and serves as an international liaison for ASLE, the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment. She is part of the interdisciplinary team behind the citizen humanities website, Herbaria 3.0 (www.herbaria3.org), which collects stories about the intertwined relationships between plants and people. Her research and teaching are wide-ranging, focusing on histories of racial formation, medicine, and the body; US literature, history, and culture from to 1900; Scandinavian cultural studies; and multispecies story-telling. Lauren’s talk with the PH Hub will form the basis of a short article in preparation for a Cambridge UP volume on Climate in American Literature.

The Posthumanities Hub Seminar with Dr. Line Henriksen (University of Copenhagen)

Welcome to The Posthumanities Hub Seminar with Dr. Line Henriksen (University of Copenhagen, Denmark) on “Weird Ecologies – Stories from the Void and the Web”!

The seminar takes place on 12 March 2019 at 10:15 – 12:00 in the room HYPATIA at the Department of History and Philosophy (a corridor opposite to the usual seminar location at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment), KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Teknikringen 74D, level 5, SE-114 28 Stockholm).

 

Weird Ecologies – stories from the void and the web

Line Henriksen

Abstract

In the podcast series Welcome to Night Vale, the host of the show – Cecil Palmer – warns his listeners about the night sky: behind the stars there is nothing at all, he says, and who knows what might be staring back at us from this nothingness? Who knows what will arrive from out of the void? “Fear the night sky!” he concludes, for it is unfathomable. Disregarding Cecil’s impossible but otherwise excellent advice to avoid the night sky at all cost, this seminar explores portrayals of the void in contemporary digital storytelling, focusing especially on the speculative sub-genre of ‘the weird’. In digital weird fiction, the nothingness of the void seems to hint at the limits of human thought and imagination, which makes it a favoured antagonist – but perhaps there is also a promise to the void, as it reminds us that the world is always much more complex than we can possibly know, and the ecologies we form part of much weirder than we can ever imagine? In other words, perhaps what is arriving from out of the void of the night sky is not something to fear, but a promise that the impossible (something arriving from out of nothing) is possible, including – maybe – a more just world?

Bio:

Line Henriksen is a lecturer in Gender Studies at the University of Copenhagen. She holds a BA in Comparative Literature and an MA in Modern Culture and Cultural Communication, both from the University of Copenhagen, as well as a PhD in Gender Studies from The Unit of Gender Studies at Linköping University. She is the author of the monograph In the Company of Ghosts – Hauntology, Ethics, Digital Monsters (2016), and she has published on the subjects of monster theory, hauntology, creepypasta, speculative fiction and digital storytelling. She is the author of award nominated speculative fiction and a founding member of The Monster Network as well as Queer Death Studies Network.

Who are the feminist environmental and environmental justice heroes currently MISSING from Wikipedia?

Recognizing that Wikipedia is the first point of entry for curious people everywhere, we are launching a new project to increase the representation of key environmental figures on the Wikipedia platform. We are especially interested in women, people of color, and social justice activists, as well as in terms, concepts, or key historical events in the realms of environmental justice and feminist environmental practices.

Who are the people, concepts, or events you have found missing from Wikipedia? Who is there, but needs a more up-to-date or more nuanced entry?

Please feel free to consult either the Swedish or English-language sites, and specify below from which Wikipedia your person, concept, or event is missing. For example, perhaps the English site has a person the Swedish site does not, or vice versa. We aim to update pages for both audiences.

Over the next few months, we’ll be focusing on adding and revising entries within the broad areas of environmental justice and feminist environmental studies, and we’ll keep you posted about our results.

8th Biennial Conference of the European Association for the Study of Literature, Culture and Environment (EASLCE): “The Garden – Ecological Paradigms of Space, History, and Community”

The Garden Conference poster

Join the 8th Biennial Conference of the European Association for the Study of Literature, Culture and Environment (EASLCE): “The Garden – Ecological Paradigms of Space, History, and Community” at the University of Würzburg (Germany) from September 26 -29, 2018.

For more info click HERE.

Early bird registration until 31st Augst!

 

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: EASCLE Webinar on ‘Toxic Embodiment’ by Prof. Cecilia Åsberg and Dr. Marietta Radomska

Photo: Cecilia Åsberg

Join us for the EASCLE Webinar on ‘Toxic Embodiment’ – for more info click HERE.

Webinar: ‘Toxic Embodiment’

By Prof. Cecilia Åsberg and Dr. Marietta Radomska

Sat, Aug 25th, 10:30-12:00 CEST.

REGISTER HERE

Existential concerns around environmental health today involve a much wider set of issues (and a wider set of bodies) as we intra-act with antibiotics, nanoparticles, and untested chemical cocktails through the food we eat, the make-up we wear, the new sofas we sit on, or the environments we dwell in. We are more acutely aware today of how we are in nature, and nature – polluted as it may be – in us. With the recognition of the ecological crisis and its gravity, we have – according to some scientific experts – entered a new geological period: the Anthropocene, in which it is the human who constitutes the biggest threat to the survival of the earth and its human as well as more-than-human inhabitants.

Through the proliferation of plastics and chemical pollution more generally, petrochemicals constitute in effect forms of social, material, and biological writing of toxic embodiment. This makes toxic embodiment an urgent concern for environmental humanities and for environmental literacies at large.

Advancements in genetic engineering, the chemicalization of food production, and the rapid growth of the pharmaceutical industry have made human, animal, and plant embodiments simultaneously enhanced and debilitated. They become ‘toxic bodies’, ‘pharmaceutical subjects’, and they leave a toxic footprint in the world.

By approaching the theme of ‘toxic embodiment’ from a broad and transdisciplinary perspective (eco-cultural studies; body and gender studies; medicine and life sciences; posthumanities; science, technology, and society; and, especially, the environmental humanities), this webinar will explore the risks and the opportunities that these changes may bring.

More specifically, the session will engage with the topic of toxic embodiment as our always-already environed technobodies, and how they/we are shaped by health norms and toxic realities that put into question the notions of health and disease, vulnerability and well-being, as well as life/death, and the dis/ability of the ‘natural’ human body. Here, the ‘human’ emerges as a set of toxic embodiments – ones that are radically tethered to, or shaped by, their milieus, including their more-than-human companions (synthetic molecules, microbes, fungi, plants, and animals), and the ways they/we all come together.

 

Inspirational questions:

  1.  How do questions of toxicity and its impact on both human and nonhuman bodies influence environmental discourses? How do they influence the articulation of environmental problems? What kind of imaginaries do they mobilise and what futures do they seek to envision?
  2. What conceptualisations of the body emerge from the present narratives on toxicity? What are the understandings of the subject that are (re)produced through these narratives?
  3. Environmental discourses that engage with the issues of toxicity often put emphasis on the ideas of the natural and the anthropogenic, the normal and the abnormal, as well as health and illness. How are these notions understood in the context of the webinar readings? Are they reworked or abandoned? What does the enquiry of toxic embodiment do to their conventional understandings?
  4. What new approaches, methodologies, and methods does the work on toxic embodiment offer?

Primary literature:

Ah-King, Malin and Eva Hayward. 2013. ‘Toxic Sexes: Perverting Pollution and Queering Hormone Disruption’. O-zone: A journal of object-oriented studies 1: 1-12. Available at: https://www.academia.edu/6368781/Toxic_sexes_Perverting_pollution_and_queering_hormone_disruption

Alaimo, Stacy. 2016. ‘Conclusion’ in Exposed. Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press. Available at: https://dearchivecollaboration.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/alaimo-from-exposed.pdf

Chen, Mel Y. 2011. ‘Toxic Animacies. Inanimate Affections’. GLQ 17(2-3): 265-286. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1215/10642684-1163400

Davis, Heather. 2015. ‘Toxic Progeny: The Plastisphere and Other Queer Futures.’ philoSOPHIA 5 (2): 231-250. Available at: http://heathermdavis.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Philosophia_Davis.pdf

Additional readings:

Zahara, Alexander R.D. and Myra Hird. 2015. ‘Raven, Dog, Human: Inhuman Colonialism and Unsettling Cosmologies’. Environmental Humanities 7: 169-190. Available at: http://environmentalhumanities.org/arch/vol7/7.9.pdf

Giovanna DiChiro (2010) ‘Polluted Politics? Confronting Toxic Discourse, Sex Panic, and Eco-Normativity’ in Queer Ecologies, eds. C. Sandilands & B. Erickson. Bloomington: Indiana University Press: 199-230.

Haraway, Donna. 2016. ‘Awash in Urine: DES and Premarin in Multispecies Response-ability’ in Staying with the Trouble. Durham: Duke University Press: 104-116.

Call for Applications: Residencies at the Seed Box Environmental Humanities Collaboratory

The Seed Box now invites applications for three one-month residencies at Department of Thematic Studies, Linköping University, Sweden. We will appoint one residency for a PhD-candidate, one associate professor (or mid-career scholar) and one artist. The purpose of this call for applications is to foster the work of promising and established scholars and artists in the field of environmental humanities.  

The application deadline is August, 17, 2018.

The advertisement and the full profile description can be found at the following pages: 

for PhD-candidates and mid-scholars: https://theseedbox.se/call-for-applications-residencies-at-the-seed-box-environmental-humanities-collaboratory-linkoping-university-sweden-2/

for artists: https://theseedbox.se/call-for-applications-artist-residency-at-the-seed-box-environmental-humanities-collaboratory-linkoping-university-sweden/

 

CANCELLED: Eco-Poetry Reading with Professor Ann Fisher-Wirth at KTH.

Unfortunately, this event had to be cancelled.

Eco-Poetry Reading with Professor Ann Fisher-Wirth (University of Mississippi, USA)
15 May, 13.00-15.00
Teknikringen 74D, Plan 5/5th floor
 

American eco-poet Ann Fisher-Wirth will visit the Environmental Humanities Lab at KTH on Tuesday, 15 May, when she will read poems and show images from her most recent book, Mississippi, a collaboration with photographer Maude Schuyler Clay. Photographs and letterpress poems from this project are presently on exhibit throughout Mississippi, and a performance piece involving six actors has been created from two dozen of the poems. All are warmly welcome to her premier reading from Mississippi in Sweden!

Ann Fisher-Wirth has published several other books of poetry, including Dream CabinetCarta MarinaFive Terraces, and Blue Window. With Laura-Gray Street, she co-edited the groundbreaking Ecopoetry Anthology (Trinity UP 2013, 2014). Ann has received numerous awards for her work, including the Mississippi Arts and Letters Poetry Award and two Mississippi Arts Commission poetry awards. Ann has had residencies at The Mesa Refuge; Djerassi Resident Artists Program; Hedgebrook: Women Authoring Change; and CAMAC/Centre d’Art, Marnay, France, and she was the Anne Spencer Poet-in-Residence at Randolph College in Virginia in 2017. She is a Fellow of the Black Earth Institute (2015-2018) and has held Fulbright fellowships in Switzerland and Sweden, where she held a Distinguished Chair at Uppsala University. She is also past president of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE). Ann directs the Environmental Studies Program and teaches US literature and poetry at the University of Mississippi, USA, and she teaches yoga at Southern Star in Oxford, Mississippi.

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