The Year in Review (2013-2014)

OecologiesThe “Oecologies” research cluster has enjoyed an exciting first year! At Green College, we hosted six speakers who introduced us to object-oriented philosophies and medieval culture (Allan Mitchell); to the intersection of environmental justice and Indigenous epistemologies in the figure of the more-than-human “relative” (Daniel Heath Justice); to two divergent and yet related models of “nature” in early modern European philosophy (Lisa Shapiro); to the vexed matter of a free sea (Renisa Mawani); to the history of “oeconomy” (Margaret Schabas); and to the inability to comprehend “wilderness” in sixteenth-century France (Louisa Mackenzie). These speakers have focused our collective attention on the long, intertwined, and multidisciplinary histories of ecology, economy, environment, and social justice. Individually and collectively, our speakers have demonstrated intellectual gameness and generosity. They have helped us to think through why we do the scholarly work that we do from here, on the North American Pacific Coast.

In 2014, members of the “Oecologies” research cluster also convened elsewhere, specifically the Renaissance Society of America (RSA) Annual Meeting in New York City, to discuss some of the cluster’s keywords – “composting,” “forest,” “environs,” “scale,” “animal,” and “ecology.” Our roundtable speakers were Frances Dolan (University of California, Davis), Carla Freccero (University of California, Santa Cruz), Jeffrey Todd Knight (University of Washington), Peter Mancall (University of Southern California, Dornsife), Vin Nardizzi (UBC), and Tiffany Jo Werth (Simon Fraser University); Patricia Badir (UBC) was the chair of our session. The roundtable was a resounding success: it was well attended, and its audience members asked the panelists engaged questions. We look forward to holding similar intellectual gatherings at conferences and colloquia next year.

Looking Ahead to 2014-15

In the upcoming year, “Oecologies” hopes to build upon its successes at Green College and at other scholarly venues. Our GC speaker series theme for 2014-15 is “The Histories of Sustainability,” and we have invited a roster of excellent speakers from a range of disciplines and faculties to discuss with us this vital environmental keyword. Stay tuned for updates about the final schedule of speakers.

UBC’s Medieval Studies Program will also be hosting the 42nd Medieval Workshop (7-9 November 2014) at Green College. The theme for this gathering is “Medieval and Renaissance Oecologies,” and its confirmed plenary speakers are Laurie Shannon (Northwestern University) and Jonathan Hsy (George Washington University). We have accepted wonderful proposals for this workshop and will circulate very soon a draft schedule of events.

“Oecologies” members will also be sponsoring and/or participating in events at the 3rd Biennial Meeting of the BABEL Working Group (16-18 October 2014), the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference (22-25 October 2014), the RSA (26-28 March 2015), the Shakespeare Association of America (2-4 April 2015), and the 50th International Medieval Congress at Kalamazoo (14-17 May 2015).

Thank you!

In addition to ours speakers, we are grateful for the support and generosity of Mark Vessey, Alan Gumboc, John Corry, and Simone Goguen at Green College. We must also thank the person who is single-handedly responsible for our online presence and communications network, Carmel Ohman, without whom our pursuits would have gone unrealized. Finally, and most deeply, we thank you, our audience of students, faculty members, and residents of Green College, for attending these talks with dedication and for engaging our series and its speakers with a curiosity about multidisciplinary and transhistorical matters and methods.

Vin Nardizzi
Tiffany Jo Werth
Patricia Badir
Robert Rouse

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

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

Today at 5pm! Margaret Schabas, “European Concepts of Nature and Economic Growth in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries,” Oecologies Speaker Series at Green College, UBC

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

Margaret Schabas
Dr. Margaret Schabas

(Philosophy, University of British Columbia)
“European Concepts of Nature and Economic Growth in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries”
5-6:30pm, Wed Apr 16, Coach House, Green College, UBC

Abstract: In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the word ‘oeconomy’ was used to denote frugality in the management of one’s household. Only in rare instances was it conjoined with the state or polity. The concept of an economy as we know emerges only gradually, arguably by the early nineteenth century. Until then economic phenomena were studied as part of the natural order. This talk will trace the historical trajectory by which the economy as we now know it came into existence as a theoretical construct.

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 questions about Oecologies, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Vin Nardizzi or the project assistant, Carmel Ohman.

May 22: Vancouver the Greenest City? A Social Justice Perspective

Ecologies of Social Difference Social Justice @ UBC
Evening panel: Vancouver the Greenest City? A Social Justice Perspective

Vancouver is moving rapidly towards becoming the ‘Greenest City’, but what are the implications and opportunities to integrate social justice in these long-term visions of sustainability? What examples are there to date of missed opportunities or key successes towards this end? More broadly, what tools are available to us to better connect social justice and environmental sustainability aims?

This panel is organized by the Ecologies of Social Difference Social Justice @ UBC Thematic Network. Our network is interested in promoting insights, research, and networking at the intersection of nature/environment, social justice and difference/inequality.

Our panelists include:

Jordan Bober is a New Economist who devotes himself to the evolution of a regenerative, socially just economy by convening events, speaking and teaching, and even by running a Vancouver-based community currency called Seedstock.

Melanie Conn is a long-time activist with women, co-operatives and community economic development. She is also a founding director of the Women’s Economic Council.

Stephanie Lim is the coordinator of the Renfrew Collingwood Food Security Institute, a founding member of the Neighbourhood Food Network Working Group.

Robert Vanwynsberghe is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Studies at the University of British Columbia. His research expertise is in sustainability and the related areas of social movements and capacity building.

Time: May 22, 2014, 6-9pm
Venue: C680 – HSBC Hall, UBC Robson square
Address: 800 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 3B7
Panel discussion, Q&A, and a reception following the event
Snack and drinks are provided
Please RSVP with esd.ubc@gmail.com by May 15th
Organizers: Ecologies of Social Difference Social Justice Network,
Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice, University of British Columbia

Wed Apr 16: Margaret Schabas, “European Concepts of Nature and Economic Growth in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries,” Oecologies Speaker Series at Green College, UBC

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

Margaret Schabas
Dr. Margaret Schabas

(Philosophy, University of British Columbia)
“European Concepts of Nature and Economic Growth in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries”
5-6:30pm, Wed Apr 16, Coach House, Green College, UBC

Abstract: In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the word ‘oeconomy’ was used to denote frugality in the management of one’s household. Only in rare instances was it conjoined with the state or polity. The concept of an economy as we know emerges only gradually, arguably by the early nineteenth century. Until then economic phenomena were studied as part of the natural order. This talk will trace the historical trajectory by which the economy as we now know it came into existence as a theoretical construct.

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 questions about Oecologies, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Vin Nardizzi or the project assistant, Carmel Ohman.

Today at 5pm! Renisa Mawani, “‘Rule Britannia! Rule the Waves’: The World of the Ship and the Quest for Global Time,” Oecologies Speaker Series at Green College, UBC

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

Renisa Mawani
Dr. Renisa Mawani
(Sociology, University of British Columbia)
“‘Rule Britannia! Rule the Waves’: The World of the Ship and the Quest for Global Time”
5-6:30pm, Wed Mar 26, Coach House, Green College, UBC

Abstract: Recent accounts of the creation and imposition of a global and standardized time – through nineteenth-century developments, most notably the railway and telegraph – have only reinforced the primacy of land. Written at the juncture of law, science studies, and empire, this talk shifts optics from land to sea, and in so doing tells a different history of global time that centres on the world of the ship and on imperial and maritime struggles over longitude. Ultimately, it argues that the standardization of time, to which naval naviga­tion and the ship were central, formed a crucial register of British imperial governance.

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 questions about Oecologies, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Vin Nardizzi or the project assistant, Carmel Ohman.