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Ecologies and the Arts

Environmental approaches to cultural studies have gained in visibility in recent years as they were moving beyond the exclusive focus on "wild" nature. An emphasis on the interconnections of environmental, social, cultural, political and economic issues is certainly not new: it builds on a whole body of works from a variety of traditions (eco-socialist, anti-colonial, materialist, eco-feminist and indigenous). While these traditions tended to be sidelined within mainstream genealogies of (Anglo-American) eco-criticism, the understanding of nature as limited to "wild" spaces is now again being questioned from many different directions. This research group seeks to historicize the way in which the arts have articulated and thought through nature-society relations. Its discussions do not limit themselves to cultural artefacts that explicitly deal with "nature" (although these remain relevant). Romantic or environmentalist poetry is as appropriate a topic for discussion as novels that deal with energy regimes, financial crises, or artworks conceptualizing 'waste'.

For more information, please contact:
Kerstin Oloff ( or
Laura Chuhan Campbell (

Events Term 2, 2018:

January 24 2018, 4-5 in ER154 POSTPONED _ NEW DATE TBA: Ecologies Reading Group, Essays ("The Climate of History" and "Capital and Climate" by Chakrabarty (organised by Dr William Schaefer). If you want to become part of the reading group please email William Schaefer.

Feburary 20 2018, 4-5 pm room tbc: Dr Sarah Knuth (Geography), title tbc

March 13 2018, 4-5 pm: Dr Lesley Wylie (Leicester), "Nacido de arboles: Alejo Carpentier's vegetal baroque"

May 3, time and room tbc: Workshop and talk with Prof Kate Rigby, co-organised by Daniel Finch-Race

May 16, 11-1pm, reading group with Prof Peggy McCracken. Reading materials: Nicole Seymour, "Introduction: Locating Queer Ecologies," in Strange Natures: Futurity, Empathy, and the Queer Ecological Imagination (Urbana: U of Illinois P, 2013), pp. 1-34; Alexis Shotwell, "Complexity and Complicity: An Introduction to Constitutive Impurity," in Against Purity: Living Ethically in Compromised Times (Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2016), pp. 1-19.

June 22, 'Nineteenth-Century Poetics of Place', a conference organised by Dr Dan Finch-Race (Durham). It will take place at Hatfield College between 9:00 and 17:00. Keynote address by Robert St Clair. Poetry performance by Anne Portugal. Speakers include Caroline Ardrey, Samuel Bootle, Thomas Bristow, David Evans, Mina Gorji, Sarah Gubbins, Patrick McGuinness, Davide Messina, Stephen Regan, Mark Sandy, Seth Whidden, and Heather Williams. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. The event will be open to attendees who register in advance. Please email

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