Environmental Humanities, 2017–2018

 The Cogut Institute for the Humanities presents the environmental humanities as a focus for the 2017–2018. The annual theme catalyzes energy across several lecture series and programming initiatives.

November 3, 2017

Film Pre-Release Screening and Conversation
Symbiotic Earth: How Lynn Margulis rocked the boat and started a scientific revolution (2017, 144 mins., in English)
4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Life Sciences Building, Marcuvitz Auditorium, 185 Meeting Street
Free and open to the public
"Symbiotic Earth" explores the life and ideas of Lynn Margulis, a brilliant and radical scientist, whose unconventional theories challenged the male-dominated scientific community and are today fundamentally changing how we look at our selves, evolution, and the environment.  This film examines the worldview that has led to climate change and extreme capitalism and offers a new approach to understanding life that encourages a sustainable and symbiotic lifestyle. The film screening will be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker John Feldman and writer Dorion Sagan.

John Feldman, a critically acclaimed and highly original award-winning filmmaker, met Lynn Margulis when he was making his documentary: EVO: Ten Questions Everyone Should Ask about Evolution (2011, CINE Golden Eagle Award).
Dorion Sagan, son of Lynn Margulis and Carl Sagan, worked closely with Lynn Margulis as coauthor of many books including Microcosmos, What is Life? and Dazzle Gradually.

December 7, 2017

Lida Maxwell, Queer/Love/Bird Extinction: Rachel Carson and the Politics of Environmental Desire
This event is part of the PITH (Politics in the Humanities) series. Read more >

January 26, 2018

Author and conservationist Terry Tempest Williams in Conversation with Mark Cladis, Brooke Russell Astor Professor of the Humanities and the Chair of the Department of Religious Studies.
The event will be followed by a book signing and is presented as part of the Greg and Julie Flynn Cogut Institute Speaker Series. Read more >

February 23, 2018

Writing Climate Change: A Roundtable of Public Scholars
3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Pembroke Hall 305, 172 Meeting Street
Free and open to the public
What are the implications of climate change for life on earth? How can we make sense of those changes if we are not trained scientists? Can we do something to slow — and ideally stop — the extinction of life forms as amateur members of the public? Moderated by Iris Montero, the panel will feature Cornelia Dean (Against the Tide: The Battle for America's Beaches, 2005; Making Sense of Science, 2017); Mary Ellen Hannibal (Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction, 2017), and Elizabeth Rush (Rising: The Unsettling of the American Shore, forthcoming, 2018). 

April 6–7, 2018

Earth(ly) Matters: New Directions in Environmental Humanities
Pembroke Hall 305, 172 Meeting Street
Free and open to the public
The conference convenes participants from a wide variety of fields that encompass Comparative Literature, Cultural Studies, English, Gender Studies, History, New Media Arts, Philosophy, Political Theory, Religious Studies, and Social Sciences. Speakers include Stacy Alaimo (University of Texas, Arlington), Branka Arsić (Columbia University), Katherine Behar (Baruch College), Vera Candiani (Princeton University), Mark Cladis (Brown University), Gregory Cushman (University of Kansas), Amitav Ghosh (novelist and essayist), Macarena Gómez-Barris (Pratt Institute), Dale Jamieson (New York University), Sharon Krause (Brown University), Astrida Neimanis (University of Sydney), Adrian Parr (University of Cincinnati), and Kyle Powys Whyte (Michigan State University). 

April 16, 2018

Isabelle Stengers, Thinking with Resurgence
5:30 – 7:00 pm
Pembroke Hall 305, 172 Meeting Street
Free and open to the public
This talk will relay Anna Tsing's proposition that we have to face the question of livability in capitalist ruins and this may mean, for us, academics, to accept that we are in a situation calling for William James' speculative pragmatism, casting our lot with what might be possible against the probability of barbarity. The notion of resurgence, very different from a utopic return to a lost wisdom, offers no warrant, as witnessed by its reference to ecological but also to epidemiological studies. It signals however the way a new generation of activists invents new possibilities of living and thinking which might demand that we suspend our critical gesture and learn how to relay them with our own means, accepting what William James defined as the 'great question' associated with pragmatism: does what we relay with our additions, rise or fall in values? Are the additions worthy or unworthy? 

Isabelle Stengers, professor of the Université Libre de Bruxelles, has written numerous books, among which have been published in English translation Order out of Chaos with Ilya Prigogine, A Critique of Psychoanalytical Reason with Léon Chertok, A History of Chemistry with Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent, Power and Invention: Situating Science, The Invention of Modern Science, Capitalist Sorcery: Breaking the Spell with Philippe Pignarre, Thinking with Whitehead, Cosmopolitics I and II, Women who Make a Fuss with Vinciane Despret and Catastrophic Times. Starting with the defence of the passionate adventure of physics against its enrolment as model of rationality and objectivity, she has developed the concept of an ecology of practices affirming a speculative constructionism in relation with the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, Alfred North Whitehead and William James, and the anthropology of Bruno Latour.