Speaking the Predicament: Words and Stories for the Anthropocene

                                                      (photo credit: Ben Jones)

Geologists have proposed the name ‘Anthropocene’ for the current epoch, in which human activity is having an increasingly destabilising impact on the Earth’s systems. This project taps into the insights and possibilities of literature – particularly poetry and fiction – to explore what it means to inhabit the time of the Anthropocene. Literature – whether read in solitude or explored together with others – can help to cultivate keener awareness of the environmental threats we face and of how these threats are mediated and narrated. The project develops critical perspectives on these modes of narration and mediation through shared reading, which allows a holding space for the difficult or overwhelming emotions – including a seeming absence of emotion or powerlessness – which knowledge of the Anthropocene can unleash. In a series of events with Friends of the Earth Ireland, focussing on poetry, fiction and art film, we seek to empower deeper responsiveness to contemporary environmental crises and to foster closer links between academic and activist communities.


Speaking the Predicament:   

Empowering Reflection and Dialogue on Ecological Crisis   

Webinar 6-8 pm (GMT), 21st February  

Interactive webinar with UCC Department of German and Friends of the Earth  

In this interactive session, we explore shared reading and open dialogue as practices that can help to build resilience, clarity and purpose in the face of ecological crisis. We’ll be joined by poet Seán Hewitt and the Klimakollektiv, a collective working for system change through education, creating alternative structures, debate and action. Seán Hewitt is Teaching Fellow in Modern British and Irish Literature at the School of English, Trinity College Dublin, and a poetry critic for The Irish Times. His debut collection of poems, Tongues of Fire (Jonathan Cape, 2020) won The Laurel Prize in 2021. We’ll also hear from the group KlimaKollektiv about how graphic design and visual art are used by climate activists. Speaker Alex Wernke has been active against coal mining in the Rhineland for a decade and helped build the "Alle Dörfer Bleiben" alliance, a local organization against forced displacement for coal mining. This session highlights shared reading and dialogue as effective tools that can help us to process ecological loss, enabling us to think forward together.   

To join us, simply go to:  

6pm-8pm GMT  

Meeting ID: 883 3611 8567  

or visit the Friends of the Earth Ireland Learning Hub to register.  

These events are part of the Irish Research Council-funded project 'Speaking the Predicament. Words and Stories in the Anthropocene', led by Caitríona Ní Dhúill and Hanna Bingel-Jones (UCC), in cooperation with the Environmental Research Institute and Friends of the Earth Ireland.   


Caitríona Ní Dhúill: Anthropocene Austria (forthcoming 2022), volume 30 of MHRA peer-reviewed journal Austrian Studies (co-edited with Nicola Thomas)

Caitríona Ní Dhúill, ‘Fuelling Lockdown: Marlen Haushofer’s Die Wand as a text of the Great Acceleration’. In: Andrea Capovilla (ed), Marlen Haushofer: New Perspectives. Amsterdam: Brill, 2022 (forthcoming).

Hanna Bingel-Jones: ‘“Niemals weiß ich verlässlich, was trägt und was nicht“. Poetische Selbstreflexion und religiöse Transzendenzsuche in der Lyrik Christian Lehnerts‘. In: Germanistik in Irland / Yearbook of the German Studies Association of Ireland, volume 16 (2021), (in press).

Hanna Bingel-Jones: Natur als spiritueller Erkenntnisraum in Gedichten von Christian Lehnert [working title], (current research project, planned publication 2022) 


Anthropocene consciousness and environmental humanities


Quick Facts





Funded By

Irish Research Council


Prof. Caitríona Ní Dhúill Dr. Hanna Bingel-Jones


Climate Action