The Posthumanities Hub Seminar “Ingesting the Hydrocene” with Bronwyn Bailey-Charteris

When: 9 December, 13:15-15:00 (Swedish time)

Where: Online. In order to take part in the seminar, please register by sending an email to the.posthumanities.hub@gmail.com by 7th Dec 2020 at the latest.

Bronwyn Bailey-Charteris, Penelope and Lucinda, film still, 2016

Bronwyn Bailey-Charteris. Photo: Emmeli Person

Meet Australian/Swedish curator, writer and lecturer Bronwyn Bailey-Charteris! Bronwyn is based in Stockholm, a current PhD student at UNSW Art & Design researching water and art in her thesis entitled ‘Ingesting the Hydrocene: Watery thinking for artistic response-ability in the climate crisis’. She is employed at Stockholm University, based at Accelerator and leading the Art+Research program, as well as a Lecturer in Department of Culture and Aesthetics for the Masters of Art Curating. Bronwyn was previously Curator at Index – The Swedish Contemporary Arts Foundation. Research interests are focused upon processes of ecology in contemporary art, water as social metaphor and feminist methodologies. Working with practical learning platforms, artistic research, publications, and exhibitions, she works internationally as a curator and lecturer.
https://bronwynbc.com/
https://su-se.academia.edu/BronwynBaileyCharteris

Ingesting the Hydrocene

The Hydrocene is a curatorial theory and practice Bronwyn has created to amplify the pioneering ways some artists and curators are collaborating with water. The Hydrocene argues for artistic methods of thinking with water in the age of accelerating climate crises. The Hydrocene is embodied and relational. It amplifies unexamined perspectives on the interrelation of art, climate, water and intersectional feminisms. By arguing for water-centered artistic practices, the Hydrocene offers up a model for engaging with embodiment, hydrofeminism, transcorporeality and response-ability in the interconnected zone of natureculture. The presentation will offer a short introduction to the Hydrocene and then expand upon artist Latai Taumoepeau – specifically her work with ice, water torture and the climate crisis.

“A Sea Change in the Humanities”: joint KTH and The Posthumanities Hub Seminar with Prof. Cecilia Åsberg

Welcome to the joint event hosted by KTH Higher Seminars and The Posthumanities Hub Seminar series:

the seminar with Prof. Cecilia Åsberg (KTH/Linköping University) on:

A Sea Change in the Humanities

The seminar takes place on 28th September 2020 at 13:15 – 15:00.

For more how to access the online event, see: https://www.kth.se/en/abe/inst/philhist/historia/2.78498/hogreseminarium

Photo: Marietta Radomska

Abstract:

All through the extended history of Earth, the coast line has been a zone of unrest where waves and tides have forged life and land on this planet. Despite sudden changes to our oceanic environments, the wrack zone by the edge of the sea with its kelp forests, mussel beds, flotsam and jetsam, remains a strange and beautiful place (as noted by Rachel Carson). This is one of the starting points for the research in the oceanic (environmental) humanities project, Sea Change. Another starting point is the possibilities for cooking, curing and curating with kelp explored at Lofoten International Arts Festival in 2019, the artistic duo Cooking Sections (and their exhibition 2021 at Bonniers Kunsthall), and that we are now entering the declared UN Decade of the Oceans (2021-2030). Sea Change  is a knowledge- and capacity-building project for feminist posthumanities, aiming to connect science with art, humanities and local people so to catalyze societal transformation on low trophic ways of eating, socializing and thinking, together. 

Bio:

Cecilia Åsberg, PhD, Guest Professor of STS, Gender and Environment at KTH Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm; Professor of Gender, Nature, Culture at Linköping University, and since 2008 founding director of the Posthumanities Hub. In 2005 she was the first to defend a PhD in Gender Studies in Sweden (a feminist science study on the popular imaginary of the new genetics), and in 2013 she inaugurated environmental humanities in The Seed Box (Mistra-Formas) research programme as Founding Director. Åsberg has attracted over €6 million in grants for her team; supervised 14 PhD students; published extensively (in Swedish, Dutch, English); given talks and taught gender studies, EH, STS, and posthumanities to BA-MA and PhD students in various positions at a range of international universities, incl Lancaster U, Utrecht Utrecht, NL, and as Fellow of Rachel Carson Centre, LMU, Germany. 

Recent publications (in 2020) include: 

The Posthumanities Hub Seminar “A Critical Cartography of New Materialist Constellations & Interventions in Times of Terror(ism)” with Dr. Evelien Geerts

When: 5 November, 13:15-15:00 (Swedish time)

Where: Online. In order to take part in the seminar, please register by sending an email to the.posthumanities.hub@gmail.com by 3rd November 2020 at the latest.

As part of The Posthumanities Hub Seminar Series, we are exited to present Dr. Evelien Geerts (PhD UC Santa Cruz), a multidisciplinary philosopher and postdoctoral researcher at the University of Birmingham (UK), working on the ERC-funded ‘Urban Terrorism in Europe (2004-19): Remembering, Imagining, and Anticipating Violence’ project. Her research interests include new materialisms, critical epistemologies, political philosophical questions of identity, difference, and violence, and critical & diffractive pedagogies. She has published in Philosophy Today, Women’s Studies International Forum and Rhizomes: Cultural Studies in Emerging Knowledge, is furthermore an avid philosophy meme-creator, and part of the Dutch Journal of Gender Studies’ editorial board.

Dr. Evelien Geerts

A Critical Cartography of New Materialist Constellations & Interventions in Times of Terror(ism)

Abstract:
This paper anticipates on my monograph project on critical new materialist theories and the idea of “theorizing from the ground up” during times of global crisis (such as the COVID-19 crisis we are currently experiencing; see Geerts 2020) and terror(ism) in particular.

Using (and commenting on) the new materialist methodologies of critical cartography and diffraction, this paper first of all wishes to reflect upon what it means to “theorize from the ground up” in a feminist philosophical manner by offering a situated critical cartography of contemporary new materialist thought. It is then argued that such a critical cartography is not only a novel but also much needed undertaking, as we, more than almost two decades after the Habermas-Derrida dialogues on terror(ism) (Borradori 2003), are in need of a Zeitgeist-adjusted conceptual framework that takes the more-than-human seriously. Such a “grounded”, critical new materialist framework could assist us with painting a more holistic picture of the complex ontological, epistemological, and eco-ethico-political entangled aspects of global crises, and, specifically, terrorist events, such as the Paris 2015 and Brussels 2016 attacks; the actual terror they produce; and the bio-/necropolitical repercussions they often engender.

CLIMAVORE – How We Eat as Humans Change Climate 

Cooking Sections: CLIMAVORE On Tidal Zones, 2018.
Performance part of Meetings on Art, La Biennale di Venezia – Biennale Arte 2019, November 2019. Credit Marco Franceschin. Courtesy Delfina Foundation and Arts Council England.

As part of The Posthumanities Hub Seminar Series, we are exited to present Cooking Sections (Daniel Fernández Pascual & Alon Schwabe), a duo of spatial practitioners based out of London exploring how forms of extraction and intensive agriculture and aquaculture can be approached through other forms of eating. Don’t miss this opportunity to cross the boundaries between visual arts, science, architecture, ecology and geopolitics with us!
Curator Caroline Elgh Klingborg from Bonniers konsthall will also join the discussion.

When: 4th March, 13:15-15
Where: in the big seminar room at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH (Teknikringen 74 D, Level 5, Stockholm).
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Also, another event 4th March, 18:00 at Bonniers konsthall: Cooking Sections in conversation with Daniel Lindvall and Caroline Elgh Klingborg.
Read more the talk at Bonniers konsthall


ABOUT THE SEMINAR:
How We Eat as Humans Change Climate 

CLIMAVORE is a long-term project initiated by Cooking Sections in 2015. It sets out to envision seasons of food production and consumption that react to human-induced climatic events and landscape alterations. Different from the now obsolete cycle of spring, summer, autumn and winter, CLIMAVORE rethinks the construction of space and infrastructure by focusing on how climate alterations offer a new set of clues to adapt our diet to them. Unexpected climatic phenomena, like subsidence, flash floods or drought, may span minutes, days, months, years or centuries. CLIMAVORE is then proposed as a form of devouring following their effects on anthropogenic landscapes. Unlike carnivore, omnivore, locavore, vegetarian or vegan, CLIMAVORE is not only about the origin of ingredients, but also about the agency that those ingredients have in providing spatial and infrastructural responses to human-induced climatic events for a certain period of time. At the core is to embrace a flexible form of eating, shifting, for instance, to drought resistant crops in a period of water scarcity or filter feeders during times of polluted or acidified waters.

For the upcoming exhibition at Bonniers Konsthall, Cooking Sections will continue to explore how forms of extraction and intensive agriculture and aquaculture can be approached through other forms of eating. Building on the work developed on the Isle of Skye in the past years CLIMAVORE is seeking to divest away from intensive salmon farming and develop regenerative aquacultures. The exhibition will be an opportunity to explore the role of salmon in the Scandinavian context, the construction of salmon as an invented synthetic colour and artificial species, and the toll its farming and production of feed pellets takes on communities in countries such as Peru, Chile and Senegal. Furthermore a new project will look into histories of runoff and expand the understanding of eutrophication of the Baltic Sea, as a way to address the changing relations between the human and the non-human, the natural and the cultural.

To learn more about CLIMAVORE click here or watch a short film.


About Cooking Sections Cooking Sections (Daniel Fernández Pascual & Alon Schwabe) is a duo of spatial practitioners based out of London. It was born to explore the systems that organise the WORLD through FOOD. Using installation, performance, mapping and video, their research-based practice explores the overlapping boundaries between visual arts, architecture, ecology and geopolitics. In 2016 they opened The Empire Remains Shop, a platform to critically speculate on implications of selling the remains of Empire today. Their first book about the project was published by Columbia Books on Architecture and the City.

Cooking Sections was part of the exhibition at the U.S. Pavilion, 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. Their work has also been exhibited at the 13th Sharjah Biennial; Manifesta12, Palermo; Lafayette Anticipations, Paris; Serpentine Galleries, London; Atlas Arts, Skye; Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin; Storefront for Art & Architecture, New York; Peggy Guggenheim Collection; HKW Berlin; Akademie der Künste, Berlin; and have been residents in The Politics of Food at Delfina Foundation, London. Their work has been featured in a number of international publications (Lars Müller, Sternberg Press, Volume, Frieze Magazine amongst others). They currently lead a studio unit at the Royal College of Art, London. They have recently been awarded the Special Prize at the 2019 Future Generation Art Prize and are nominated for the Visible Award.

The Posthumanities Hub Seminar with Prof. Patricia MacCormack, 30th January 2020, 13:15-15:00, KTH

Manifesto

Welcome to the first Posthumanities Hub event in 2020 – the seminar with Prof. Patricia MacCormack (Anglia Ruskin University, UK) on A Joyful Apocalypse: Activism for the End of the Anthropocene.

When: 30th January, 13:15 – 15:00

Where: the seminar room at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm (Teknikringen 74 D, Stockholm).

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OBS! Please REGISTER FOR THIS EVENT by sending an email to: the.posthumanities.hub[at]gmail.com

Abstract:

To end the anthropocene  is a call to activism at a time where ways of living seem impossible to proscribe and the world’s many urban and natural environments and organisms are increasingly transforming, some becoming more vulnerable while others increase their exertion of power over global systems of information and control. During these ages it can be difficult to imagine new and multiple ways of existing where hopelessness and imagination exist simultaneously. Beyond the Posthuman, but firmly within this world, my concept of the Ahuman acknowledges we aren’t nonhuman, but devalues the term human and its thus far devastating consequences for the world in order to suggest vitalistic, perhaps even optimistic, ways to negotiate some of the difficulties in thinking and acting in a world where meaning and reality are tentative but material actuality and lives (of all varieties) are in need of novel modes of intervention and interaction for the liberation and creative freedom of all organisms and the ecology of the Earth as a whole. Collapsing activism, artistic practice and affirmative ethics, while introducing some radical contemporary ideas such as human extinction and vegan abolition this paper navigates the ways in which we must compose the human differently, specifically beyond nihilism and post – and trans-humanism and outside human privilege. This is in order to actively think and live with connectivity (actual not virtual), viscerally, with passion and grace, toward a new world. The irony of the apocalypse is that the world continues nonetheless.  How can we live more ethically? How can the end of the human (even the posthuman) mean the end of human privilege as that which assists in opening the world to all life and to the human apocalypse being the birth of the world through deep ecology?

Bio:

Patricia MacCormack is Professor of Continental Philosophy at Anglia Ruskin University. She is the author of Cinesexuality (2008), Posthuman Ethics (2012) and The Ahuman Manifesto (2020), the editor of The Animal Catalyst: Toward Ahuman Theory (2014) and the co-editor of Deleuze and the Schizoanalysis of Cinema (2008), Deleuze and the Animal (2017) and Ecosophical Aesthetics (2018). She publishes extensively in the posthuman, queer theory, animal studies, horror film, and Continental Philosophy.

The event is organised in collaboration with the Konstfack Research Week 2020 – see the detailed programme here.

 

The Posthumanities Hub Seminar with Isabelle Doucet and Hélène Frichot on 23rd Oct, 13:15-15:00

Welcome to The Posthumanities Hub Seminar with Prof. Dr. Isabelle Doucet (Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, and Hélène Frichot, Professor of Architecture in Critical Studies and Gender Theory (KTH, Sweden) on To Care is To Resist: Situated Perspectives on Architecture

When: 23rd October, 13:15-15:00
Where: in the seminar room at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH (Teknikringen 74 D, Stockholm).

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Abstract:
In this joint seminar Doucet and Frichot will discuss overgrowth, care and resistance while drawing inspiration from Isabelle Stengers and Maria Puig de la Bella Casa’s work, as well as share reflections from Doucet and Frichot’s jointly edited journal issue Resist Reclaim Speculate. Situated Perspectives on Architecture and the City, Architectural Theory Review, 2018, Vol. 22/1 https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/ratr20/22/1?nav=tocList

Isabelle Doucet is professor of theory and history of architecture at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden. At the department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, Isabelle acts as the coordinator for the Chalmers-wide Gender Initiative for Excellence (Genie) initiative. Her research focuses on the relationship between architecture, (urban) politics, and social responsibility; and since joining Chalmers, Isabelle initiated research on women architecture graduates after 1968. Her books include The Practice Turn in Architecture. Brussels after 1968 (2015).

Architectural theorist and philosopher, writer and critic, Professor Hélène Frichot (PhD) is the director of Critical Studies in Architecture, School of Architecture, KTH (Royal Institute of Technology) Stockholm, Sweden. Her research examines the transdisciplinary field between architecture and philosophy, with an emphasis on feminist theories and practices. In 2020 she joins the Faculty of Architecture, Construction and Planning, University of Melbourne, Australia as Professor of Architecture and Philosophy. She is the author of Creative Ecologies: Theorizing the Practice of Architecture (Bloomsbury 2018) and How to Make Yourself a Feminist Design Power Tool (AADR 2016).

The Posthumanities Hub Seminar with Myra Hird (Queen’s University, Canada) on 18th October, 10:15-12:00

Welcome to The Posthumanities Hub Seminar with Myra Hird on Iqaluit’s Dumpcano and the Indeterminate Material Politics of Waste.

When: 18th October, 10:15-12
Where: in the seminar room at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH (Teknikringen 74 D, Stockholm).

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Abstract:
Iqaluit, Nunavut Canada’s capital city, became a center of controversy when its main ‘West 40’ dump spontaneously caught fire on May 20th 2014. This presentation argues that Iqaluit’s ‘dumpcano’ may be usefully understood as a virtuality that temporarily condensed a set of relations between the dump as a material object (or more specifically a multi-species bio-geology) and a number of economic, cultural, political, and social conditions. Drawing upon archival sources and primary interview data with a range of local respondents, my presentation examines how scientific and government discourses attempted to convey to the public a uniform ‘message’ of scientific certainty concerning levels of contamination and threats to human health and the environment. For their part, concerned residents and emergent activist groups engaged with official and unofficial ‘messaging’ in terms of material uncertainty. As such, the discourses that developed around the dump fire differentially made visible and registered, or obscured and attempted to displace, the shifting material properties of the dump. I make the case that non-expert local residents were able to effectively mobilize scientific uncertainty to draw attention to the links between the dump fire and issues of social justice.

Bio:
Myra J. Hird is Professor, Queen’s National Scholar, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in the School of Environmental Studies, Queen’s University, Canada (www.myrahird.com). Professor Hird is Director of Waste Flow, an interdisciplinary research project focused on waste as a global scientific-technical and socio-ethical issue (www.wasteflow.ca).  Hird has published nine books and over seventy articles and book chapters on a diversity of topics relating to science studies. Hird’s forthcoming book is entitled Canada’s Waste Flows and will be published by McGill-Queen’s University Press.

The Posthumanities Hub Seminar with Adam Wickberg (KTH) on 5th June, 10:15 – 12:00

Welcome to The Posthumanities Hub Seminar with Adam Wickberg on Coloniality, Media and the Anthropocene in Early Americas.

The seminar takes place in the seminar room at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH (Teknikringen 74 D, Stockholm).

When: 5th June, 10:15 – 12:00

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Abstract:

This talk will address historiography and layers of time based on a decolonial understanding of modernity and its relation to the Anthropocene. The point of departure for my critical discussion of history is the geological evidence for an Anthropocene golden spike proposed by Lewis & Maslin (2015) known as the ”Orbis hypothesis”, as well as the discourse on futurity built into current policy on climate change. The aim is to develop a critical temporality for the Anthropocene, drawing on work by historians on the contemporary crisis of time (Assmann 2013, Hartog 2016) as well as insights from environmental and media history. I argue that the emergence of global political expansionism and extractionist politics with the Spanish Empire in the latter part of the 16th century marked the beginning of an era which is still affecting policy and politics, particularly in relation to climate change. Particularly, I argue that the systematic use of media and information technology for extractionist purposes is integral to what has been understood as modernity (Latour 2017, Haraway 2017, Moore 2015, Mignolo 2015, Sloterdijk 2015). At the same time, the established way of addressing climate change sustains coloniality and projects the cost of carbon intense living a century into the future, as most models end with 2100. The insights of what might then be termed Anthropocene historiography challenges traditional linear conceptions of time by highlighting how the present eco crisis is an effect of past political actions, just as current inability to properly address these issues will come into effect and cause damage in the future.

Bio: 

Adam Wickberg is a Postdoctoral fellow in media history at the Environmental Humanities Lab and a visiting scholar at the Max Planck Institute for History of Science in Berlin (MPWIG I). His current research concerns the Early Modern media history of the Anthropocene, where he traces the global changes of long distance governing of nature brought about by early Spanish colonialism. The project studies the human-nature relationship of Iberian colonial history using the critical aspects of media and anthropogenic altering of natural habitats as a material and discursive practice. The bureaucratic use of paper – documents, files, maps, surveys, orders – as a form of governance of nature over great distances is a focal point of the study and are conceptualized as environing media. Recent publications include Pellucid Paper: Poetry and Bureaucratic Media (Open Humanities Press 2018) and “Plus Ultra: Francisco Hernández and the Mapping of American Natureculture” in Necsus: European Journal of Media Studies (2018:2).

The Posthumanities Hub Seminar with Nina Lykke and Camila Marambio: 4th June, 10:15 – 12:00

Welcome to The Posthumanities Hub Seminar with Nina Lykke and Camila Marambio on Decolonialising Mourning Through Speculative Wonder and Unthinkable Questions? On the Selk’nam ‘Hain’ and Its Layers of Lostness.

The seminar takes place in the seminar room at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH (Teknikringen 74 D, Stockholm).

When: 4th June, 10:15 – 12:00

Cementerio grupo

Abstract:

This lecture investigates multi-layered meanings of mourning, death and loss in the context of decolonialising endeavours to learn from indigenous cosm-onto-epistemologies.  In focus is the so-called Hain, an initiation ceremony of the Selk’nam people of Tierra del Fuego. As described by Austrian ethnologist and Christian priest Martin Gusinde (1886-1969), it is recorded as having been performed for the last time in 1923. Gusinde’s research was later revised by US anthropologist Anne Chapman (1922-2010) and her Selk’nam research participant Lola Kiepja (died 1966). Since the ceremony is no longer performed, it is ‘lost’ as lived spiritual experience. Accordingly, Gusinde and Chapman embed their accounts in a context of white Western melancholia (cf. reoccurring phrases such as ‘the last Selk’nam’, ‘the last Hain’ etc). The lecture aims at critically analysing these ways of sustaining coloniality through mourning, and exploring other critically-affirmative, decolonialising approaches, and caring ethics. It builds on one author’s (Marambio) longtime fieldwork in Tierra del Fuego, carried out together with Fuegans, and on both authors’ joint work to organise Hain-workshops, using speculative wonder (Stengers 2011) and creative analytical practices to ask unthinkable questions and engage participants in collective endeavours to approach the Hain and mourn its layers of lostness otherwise.

Bio:

Camila Marambio is curator of Ensayos, and her work with the program has been represented in exhibitions and performances at the Kadist Art Foundation, Paris; the Institute for Art and Olfaction, Los Angeles; BHQFU, New York; Puerto de Ideas, Valparaíso; Festival Cielos del Infinito, Puerto Williams, CL; Kurant, Tromsø, NO; and Psi #22, Melbourne, AU. Currently a PhD Candidate in Curatorial Practice at MADA in Melbourne, Australia, Marambio received an M.A. in Modern Art: Critical Studies at Columbia University and a Master of Experiments in Art and Politics at Science Po in Paris; attended the Curatorial Programme at de Appel Arts Center in Amsterdam; and was Head Curator at Matucana 100 (Santiago, CL) and Assistant Curator at Exit Art (New York, NY).

Nina Lykke, PhD, Professor Emerita, Gender Studies, Linköping University, Sweden. Has participated in the building of Feminist Studies in Scandinavia and Europe more broadly since the 1970s. Co-founder of International Network for Queer Death Studies, and International Network for ECOcritical and DECOlonial Research. Current research interests: queering of cancer, death, and mourning in posthuman, queerfeminist, materialist, decolonial and eco-critical perspectives; autophenomenographic and poetic writing. Recent publications:  Queer Widowhood. Lambda Nordica. 2015:4; Assisted Reproduction Across Borders (co-ed. Merete Lie, Routledge 2016); Academic Feminisms: Between Disidentification, Messy Everyday Utopianism, and Cruel Optimism. Feminist Encounters.  2017:1(1); When death cuts apart: On affective difference, compassionate companionship and lesbian widowhood. T.Juvonen & M.Kohlemainen (eds): Affective Inequalities in Intimate Relationships. (Routledge 2018). She has served on numerous international editorial boards, among others for European Journal of Women’s Studies; currently she is in the advisory board of Signs. Journal of Women in Culture and Society, and co-editor of the book series Routledge Advances in Feminist Studies and Intersectionality.

 

 

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.