CFP Extended Deadline Tomorrow! 42nd UBC Medieval Workshop: Medieval and Renaissance Oecologies

OecologiesDownload the call for papers (CFP)

Call for Papers *extended deadline*: 1 February 2014

Workshop dates: 7-9 November 2014

The Œcologies Project, along with the Committee for Medieval Studies at the University of British Columbia, solicits contributors for the 42nd annual UBC workshop, to be held from 7-9 November 2014 at Green College, University of British Columbia, Vancouver.

Medieval and Renaissance Œcologies seeks to interrogate premodern understandings of the natural world and ecological thinking. A prevailing attitude within modern Western culture has imagined the natural world as “out there,” a distinct realm upon which humans import subjective meaning. More recently, ecocritics and theorists of the new materialism(s) have challenged this conception of nature. This workshop takes up these challenges by investigating the idea of “œcology,” an older and defamiliarizing spelling of the modern concept “ecology.” The spelling is retained in an effort to rethink “ecology” through the study of premodern natural history, taxonomy, hierarchy, and categorization, and to ask what conceptual or metaphorical resources might help us – as located moderns – reorient our perceptions about the premodern past and our present and future moments. In an effort to define complex terms such as “environment,” “landscape,” and “ecology,” we ask where do these terms come from? What came before them? What do they mean here and now? What did conceptions of Nature and “œcology” look like in the Medieval and Renaissance periods and how did different discourse communities define their meanings?

We welcome papers from any discipline, and especially encourage interdisciplinary approaches. Please send paper proposals, questions, and / or expressions of interest to:

Vin Nardizzi or Robert Rouse by 1 February 2014.

This conference is part of the ongoing multi-year research project Œcologies (oecologies.com), supported by the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University.

Today! Daniel Heath Justice, “Being a Good Relative, Becoming a Good Ancestor: Other-than-Human Kinship and the Decolonial Imperative”

Please join us for the second talk of the Oecologies Speaker Series at Green College at UBC:

Dr. Daniel Heath Justice
(First Nations Studies Program and English, University of British Columbia)
“Being a Good Relative, Becoming a Good Ancestor: Other-than-Human Kinship and the Decolonial Imperative”
5-6:30pm, Wed Jan 29, Coach House, Green College, UBC

Daniel Heath JusticeSummary: From the nineteenth-century decimation of prairie bison herds and imposition of patriarchal farming techniques to the contemporary decline of coastal fisheries and narrowed concerns of familial obligations, a consistent pattern in Eurowestern political and economic colonialism worldwide has been the targeted suppression of Indigenous kinship relations with the other-than-human. While variously dismissed by colonial agents as “pagan,” “primitive,” or illusory, such expansive familial relations are in fact substantive to and expressive of Indigenous political, ceremonial, and intellectual practices of self-determination and cultural and political distinctiveness. This presentation will consider a few illustrative examples of the other-than-human as a vital concern in Indigenous decolonization and resurgence politics today, while critically engaging the potential consequences of an absence of such considerations in contemporary activism and scholarship.

Speaker information: Daniel Heath Justice is a Colorado-born Canadian citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He is Chair of the First Nations Studies Program and Associate Professor of First Nations Studies and English at UBC on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Musqueam people. His work includes Our Fire Survives the Storm: A Cherokee Literary History, the Indigenous epic fantasy The Way of Thorn and Thunder: The Kynship Chronicles, and the co-edited anthologies Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature and, with James H. Cox, the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Indigenous American Literature. Current projects include a cultural history of badgers and a study of critical kinship in Indigenous literature.

Oecologies: Inhabiting Premodern Worlds is a new Speaker Series sponsored by Green College that gathers scholars from the humanities living and working along the North American Pacific coast to investigate the idea of “oecology,” an older spelling of the modern concept “ecology.” For event details, abstracts, and speaker information, please visit oecologies.com or view the event poster. Also follow us on Twitter (@Oecologies) and “Like” us on Facebook (facebook.com/oecologies)! If you have other questions about Oecologies, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Vin Nardizzi or the project assistant, Carmel Ohman.

Updated talk schedule! Wed Jan 29: Daniel Heath Justice, “Being a Good Relative, Becoming a Good Ancestor: Other-than-Human Kinship and the Decolonial Imperative”

The Oecologies Speaker Series has an updated talk schedule! The series will continue on Jan 29, 2014 with Daniel Heath Justice’s presentation, “Being a Good Relative, Becoming a Good Ancestor: Other-than-Human Kinship and the Decolonial Imperative.” Dr. Louisa Mackenzie’s talk, “Don’t Panic: The Unknowability of Early Modern Nature,” has been cancelled for the time being, but we hope to reschedule it. (Stay tuned for updates!)

Dr. Justice’s Jan 29th talk will take place from 5-6:30pm in the Coach House at Green College, University of British Columbia, 6201 Cecil Green Park Road, Vancouver BC V6T 1Z1.

Daniel Heath JusticeSummary: From the nineteenth-century decimation of prairie bison herds and imposition of patriarchal farming techniques to the contemporary decline of coastal fisheries and narrowed concerns of familial obligations, a consistent pattern in Eurowestern political and economic colonialism worldwide has been the targeted suppression of Indigenous kinship relations with the other-than-human. While variously dismissed by colonial agents as “pagan,” “primitive,” or illusory, such expansive familial relations are in fact substantive to and expressive of Indigenous political, ceremonial, and intellectual practices of self-determination and cultural and political distinctiveness. This presentation will consider a few illustrative examples of the other-than-human as a vital concern in Indigenous decolonization and resurgence politics today, while critically engaging the potential consequences of an absence of such considerations in contemporary activism and scholarship.

Speaker information: Daniel Heath Justice is a Colorado-born Canadian citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He is Chair of the First Nations Studies Program and Associate Professor of First Nations Studies and English at UBC on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Musqueam people. His work includes Our Fire Survives the Storm: A Cherokee Literary History, the Indigenous epic fantasy The Way of Thorn and Thunder: The Kynship Chronicles, and the co-edited anthologies Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature and, with James H. Cox, the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Indigenous American Literature. Current projects include a cultural history of badgers and a study of critical kinship in Indigenous literature.

Oecologies: Inhabiting Premodern Worlds is a new Speaker Series sponsored by Green College that gathers scholars from the humanities living and working along the North American Pacific coast to investigate the idea of “oecology,” an older spelling of the modern concept “ecology.” For event details, abstracts, and speaker information, please visit oecologies.com or view the event poster. Also follow us on Twitter (@Oecologies) and “Like” us on Facebook (facebook.com/oecologies)! If you have other questions about Oecologies, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Vin Nardizzi or the project assistant, Carmel Ohman.

Oecologies Reading Group: call for participants!

You are invited to participate in the Oecologies Reading Group, which takes place in advance of each talk in the Oecologies Speaker Series (see talk announcement below).

The next meeting of the reading group will take place on Wednesday, January 15th in room HC2235 of the SFU Harbour Centre (555 W Hastings St, Vancouver, BC) from 6pm to 8pm. Readings will be disseminated electronically to those who express interest in participating. Please send expressions of interest to Dr. Robert Rouse.

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Jan 29: Louisa Mackenzie, “Don’t Panic: The Unknowability of Early Modern Nature,” Oecologies Speaker Series at Green College, UBC

Please join us for the second talk of the Oecologies Speaker Series at Green College at UBC:

OecologiesDr. Louisa Mackenzie
(French and Italian Studies, University of Washington)
“Don’t Panic: The Unknowability of Early Modern Nature”
5-6:30pm, Wed Jan 29, Coach House, Green College, UBC

Abstract: The use of the word “nature” in this talk’s title deliberately and anachronistically references a post-Romantic ideal of a non-human world absolutely beyond culture, including what we now call wilderness. Contemporary environmental thinking, especially in Anglophone contexts, often holds that experiencing wild(er)ness is restorative, even spiritually enriching. Many scholars have started to question the assumptions and to reveal the privileges that make this ideal thinkable: I will argue that early modern cultures can help us further these critiques. Working with texts from sixteenth-century France, in particular the long “scientific poem” La Savoie by Jacques Peletier which describes the landscapes of this mountainous and often wild part of France, I will show that early modern mentalities considered wildness to be not just frightening but literally unrepresentable by human knowledge systems. Wild areas, like unmitigated contact with the divine, inspired a kind of epistemological panic. This reminds us that the etymology of the word panic, from the Greek πανικός pertaining to Pan the god of wild places, gestures towards the fear inspired by environments devoid of human activity, and perhaps invites us to a more humble appraisal of the limits of our cognition of the non-human.

Speaker Info:  Louisa Mackenzie is Associate Professor of French at the University of Washington. Her research focus is primarily on early modern French culture, which she reads through various contemporary critical lenses including ecocriticism and, more recently, animal studies. Her book The Poetry of Place: Lyric, Landscape and Ideology in Renaissance France (University of Toronto Press, 2010) is an interdisciplinary study of how a subjective and affective sense of place was produced by poetry in dialogue with cartography, land use history and other knowledge spheres. She is currently starting a book-length project on animals as “queer bodies of knowledge” in 16th-century France.

All those attending talks in this series are invited to stay for dinner at Green College with the speaker. Those interested in attending dinner are asked to make a reservation at least by noon the business day before. Contact 604-822-8660 or visit the Green College website for details.

Oecologies: Inhabiting Premodern Worlds is a new Speaker Series sponsored by Green College that gathers scholars from the humanities living and working along the North American Pacific coast to investigate the idea of “oecology,” an older spelling of the modern concept “ecology.” For event details, abstracts, and speaker information, please visit oecologies.com or view the event poster. Also follow us on Twitter (@Oecologies) and “Like” us on Facebook (facebook.com/oecologies)! If you have other questions about Oecologies, please contact Carmel Ohman.