Wed Apr 30: Louisa Mackenzie, “Don’t Panic: The Unknowability of Early Modern Nature,” Oecologies Speaker Series at Green College, UBC

Please join us for the sixth talk of the Oecologies Speaker Series at Green College at UBC!

Louisa Mackenzie
Dr. Louisa Mackenzie

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

Abstract: Post-Romantic Anglophone ideals of nature include an absolute “beyond” of culture, including what we now call wilderness. Many scholars have started to question the assumptions that make these ideals thinkable. Mackenzie argues that early modern cultures can help us further these critiques. Working with texts from sixteenth-century France, she will show that early modern mentalities considered wildness to be not just frightening but literally unrepresentable. Wild areas inspired a kind of epistemological panic. This etymologically-understood “panic” (pertaining to Pan the god of wild places) perhaps invites us to a more humble appraisal of our cognition of the non-human.

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 or view the event poster. Also follow us on Twitter (@Oecologies) and “Like” us on Facebook (! If you have questions about Oecologies, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Vin Nardizzi or the project assistant, Carmel Ohman.

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