Eco-Humanities Online Lecture Series
Thursday, 2nd December, 5.00 p.m. - 6.15 p.m. Irish time
Jason Groves, University of Washington
Implicated Language, Implicated Ecologies: Paul Celan and the Eco-Poetics of Memory
When Paul Celan declares in his most famous text on his poetics, “the poem remains open to time, time can enter, time participates,” he also offers an early articulation of an Anthropocene poetics. Beginning with his 1959 Sprachgitter (Language Mesh) collection, Celan’s poetry increasingly demonstrates an openness to deep time and a receptivity to the ways in which the Shoah is registered not only in various landscapes but also in geological processes. My talk will attend to the ways in which this poetry collection accounts for and performs the making-present of the past that is constitutive of memory, namely with an understanding of memory and commemoration as an ecological and multispecies practice. Additionally, I will consider how Celan’s ways of commemorating the Jewish and anti-Jewish ecologies of Auschwitz—environmentally, ecologically, geologically, biogeochemically, planetarily, and linguistically—bear methodological and poetic similarities to recent studies by contemporary Black poets and theorists, including Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Tiffany Lethabo King, and Christina Sharpe, of how the longue durée of the Middle Passage is mediated through oceanic archives and the element of water.
Jason Groves is Associate Professor of German Studies at the University of Washington. His research areas include ecocriticism, interdisciplinary nineteenth-century studies, and the environmental humanities. His monograph, The Geological Unconscious: German Literature and the Mineral Imaginary, appeared with Fordham University Press in July 2020. From 2016-2019 he co-organized the Cross-disciplinary Research Cluster on the Anthropocene, and he currently co-organizes the Colloquium on Transcultural Approaches to Europe, both at the Simpson Center for the Humanities.
University College Cork Eco-Humanities Research Group
Agency, Onto-Epistemology and the ‘more-than-human’
Wednesday 12 January 2022 (online workshop), 9.45am – 4pm GMT
The University College Cork Eco-Humanities Research Group is delighted to host an online inter-disciplinary workshop to explore diverse notions of the agency, ontology and epistemology of the non-human, or ‘more-than-human,’ in the context of contemporary ecological crisis.
All are welcome at this workshop. Attendance at the workshop is free but advance registration is required – please register for the Workshop through Eventbrite here:
University College Cork Eco-Humanities Research Group Workshop: Agency, Onto-Epistemology and the ‘more-than-human’ - Wed 12 Jan (online)
The full programme (including schedule and abstracts) can be accessed here
Eco-Humanities lunchtime seminars
Date: 3 February 2022
Time: 1-2 pm (Irish Time)
Number of speakers: 2
Laurence Davis (Government and Politics, email@example.com)
Title: "Gustav Landauer, Revolutionary Romanticism, and Utopia"
The social philosophy and revolutionary praxis of Gustav Landauer (1870-1919) is paradigmatic of socialist revolutionary romanticism, understood as a worldview combining aspects of socialist theory and romantic anti-modernism, and committed to the more-or-less explicit belief that communist socialism must break fundamentally with industrial/bourgeois civilisation in the name of premodern social, cultural, ethical, or religious values. In this short presentation I elucidate Landauer's critique of the ideology of progress and consider some of its radical political implications in the context of global ecocide.
Miranda Corcoran (English, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Title: "Dark-Uncanny and Dark-Sweet: Dark Ecology in We Have Always Lived in the Castle and Elizabeth: A Novel of the Unnatural"
This paper focuses on two gothic novels, Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1962) and Ken Greenhall’s Elizabeth: A Novel of the Unnatural (1976), that imagine the interconnection between the human and the nonhuman as dark, sinister, and even deadly. Here, I draw on philosopher Timothy Morton’s conception of “dark ecology”, the idea that ecology is “dark” because it requires us to consider how we, as humans, are intimately connected with all sorts of nonhuman entities, from trees and flowers to insects, fungi and decaying matter. Ecology, in this sense, does not privilege the human, nor is it necessarily beautiful. I argue that rather than romanticising the relationship between their characters and the natural world, these novels evoke some of the ways in which humanity’s imbrication with the more-more-than-human world can be “dark-depressing”, “dark-uncanny”, and “dark-sweet” (Morton 5).
Eco-Humanities lunchtime seminars
Date: 3 March 2022
Time: 1-2:15 pm (Irish Time)
Number of speakers: 4
Crystal Addey (email@example.com)
Title: Ancient Greek Philosophy and Contemporary Environmental Crisis: Relational Philosophy, Late Antique Theurgy and Contemporary Indigenous Traditions
Abstract: Are ancient Greek philosophy and religions useful for thinking through and dealing with contemporary environmental crises? Environmental philosophers have examined the ethical, political and cosmological dimensions of the current environmental crises we face. However, ancient Greek philosophy is often blamed for instigating anthropocentric worldviews, ethics and cosmologies. Plato and Neoplatonist philosophers such as Plotinus are often charged with contributing to this anthropocentrism by ontologically separating humans from other animals and the natural world through their metaphysical dualism. Yet some scholars have argued that a more ecocentric perspective in line with – and prefiguring – some of the concepts and frameworks evident within deep ecology can be found in the works of Plato and Plotinus. However, to date, theurgy (a type of religious ritual used by Neoplatonist philosophers in late antiquity) has been almost entirely overlooked within these debates, in line with its broader marginalisation within the history of philosophy. Turning the lens on Neoplatonic theurgy and the practices and worldview exemplified by it, I consider if theurgic frameworks may have any relevance for the current environmental crises we face, by examining: (1) the ecocentric nature of the theurgic worldview and the relationship it envisages between human beings and animals, plants, and the natural world in relation to the divine; and (2) the parallels and points of contact between theurgic/ancient polytheistic-philosophical worldview(s) and contemporary indigenous worldviews.
Jenny Butler (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Title: Guardians of the Earth: Eco-Cosmology and Contemporary Paganism
Abstract: Contemporary Pagan cosmology is holistic, resting on the fundamental notion that a spiritual energy infuses all that exists and as such this religious movement has been described by some scholars as a form of modern animism. Based on ethnographic research with practitioners of witchcraft and druidism, this presentation explores the special status of the natural world in contemporary Irish Pagan discourse and practices, and the connection between environmental activism, “Earth healing” rituals, and spiritual worldviews.
Gert Hofmann (email@example.com)
Title: Prolegomena for a Poetics of the Body as a Theory of Eco-human Writing
Abstract: The Poetics of the body conceives of a poetic theory of subjectivity which reflects critically on cognitive science and eco-science as the lead sciences of our age. I call this theory “eco-human”, because it hopes to offer an alternative to the discourses of transhumanism and posthumanism. The Poetics of the Body is an ethically marked poetic which, based on an elementary body-awareness, aims at overcoming the fundamental anthropocentrism of all prevailing human traditions of scientific knowledge and philosophical understanding. It is a theory that shows affinities and sympathies with Emmanuel Lévinas’ humanistic ethics of “the other human”, but expanding it to the presence of the other life as the other subject – not as another object of cognitive appropriation.
Kian Mintz-Woo (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Title: On the Importance of Climate Civilization Collapse
Abstract: In this paper, we consider the implications of anthropogenic climate change driven civilization collapse (climate collapse, for short) for climate ethics. First, we argue that climate collapse is a real possibility: many experts believe that 4°C could lead to collapse, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest (2021) assessment report’s high-emission socioeconomic pathways include that level of warming in their very likely (66-100%) range by 2100. Second, we argue that taking the risk of climate collapse seriously challenges two longstanding assumptions in climate ethics: (a) stable governance capable of promoting justice will exist in the long-term, and (b) current generations receive little or no benefit from climate change mitigation. This paper then argues that rejecting these assumptions matter, because their rejection explains how urgent climate action can be practically justified, or even required, for currently living people.
Date: 7th April, 2022
Time: 17:00 - 18:30 p.m. (Irish Time)
Title: "Some Precious Dream": Energy Futures in Contemporary Irish Fiction
Speaker: Sharae Deckard, Associate Professor in World Literature, UCD
Sharae Deckard is Director of the UCD Environmental Humanities research strand, and a member of the Environmental Humanities Steering Group for the Irish Humanities Alliance. Her research interests intersect environmental criticism and world-systems approaches to world literature, ecology, and culture. In Autumn 2020, she joined Upamanyu Pablo Mukherjee as academic Series Editor of Palgrave's New Comparisons in World Literature series. Her books include a monograph, Paradise Discourse, Imperialism and Globalization (Routledge 2010) and Combined and Uneven Development: Towards a New Theory of World-Literature (co-authored with the Warwick Research Collective, Liverpool UP 2015; translated into Portuguese for Unicamp, 2020). With Rashmi Varma, she is co-editor of Marxism, Postcolonial Theory, and the Future of Critique: Critical Engagements with Benita Parry (Routledge 2018), and with Stephen Shapiro, she is editor of World Literature, Neoliberalism and the Culture of Discontent (Palgrave 2019), winner of the BACLS Edited Collection Prize.
This paper takes a first step toward theorizing “the energy unconscious” of post-1970s Irish culture, by exploring the “material relating to energy forms that can be mined and discerned throughout the history of literature.” I follow Graeme Macdonald’s call for energy criticism that examines the relationship between culture and environmental history in order to “advance our understanding not only about the present and future energy crises we face, but also the manner in which we (fail to) envisage and conceive energy as a matter for culture as much as it is cultural matter.” Taking a broad approach to “energy futures” across a range of genres, I analyze the ways in which energy imaginaries feature in a range of contemporary Irish fiction, focusing on how these novels imagine unevenness, spatialized inequality, and dependency as constitutive features of the neoliberal energy regime in its Irish manifestation.