Postgraduate Forum 2013

Logo Ecocriticism and Globalization, Photo (c) Hanna Straß

June 21-22, 2013, Frankfurt a. M.

The postgraduate forum “Environment, Literature, Culture” (ELC) conducted their first workshop titled “Ecocriticism and Globalization” from June 21 – 22, at Goethe-University Frankfurt/Main, Germany. The workshop discussions and poster presentations thematically dealt with issues at the intersection of ecocriticism and globalization studies. In a lively and dynamic atmosphere 17 participants, PhD students and post-docs from Germany, Sweden and Austria, discussed questions such as: in how far is ecocriticism increasingly concerned with topics of global relevance, what terminologies might be useful to discuss literature from an ecoglobal perspective, do we see the emergence of new genres and finally how are issues of environmental justice taken into consideration in recent eco-global discussions.

On Friday afternoon, the workshop started off with a keynote lecture on “Ecocriticism, Economic Globalisation, and Disaster” by Anthony Carrigan (University of Leeds, RCC Munich), which highlighted the interconnections between environmental issues and the global distribution of wealth, especially in the context of postcolonial societies. The subsequent discussion was opened by responses by Kylie Crane (Mainz University) and Roman Bartosch (Köln University). In the poster session that followed, the workshop participants had the opportunity to present their current research projects and to continue to discuss some of the issues raised during the keynote in smaller groups. Poster topics ranged from how early depictions of the Earth from space shaped our relationship to it (Sybille Machat, Flensburg), to local instances of indigenous irrigation methods, water misuse, questions of belonging and environmental injustice in Chicano communities and literature (Isabel Perez, Stockholm) and how Louie Psihoyos’ documentary The Cove translates the experience of ambiguity in Beck’s “world risk society” into narrative strategies (Michaela Castellano, Bayreuth). On the second day, the workshop participants discussed theoretical papers by David Harvey, Dipesh Chakrakabarty, Erik Swyngedouw and others, which dealt with conceptual questions and terminology (the global, place/space, the Anthropocene, post-humanism) as well as with the political and ethical implications of globalization for ecocritique and how these are reflected in literary works. Moreover, Matthias Klestil (Bayreuth) and Anne Pusch (Heidelberg) used the chance to present and discuss chapters of their own doctoral research projects on the African American Pastoral and the relationship between humans and dogs from a posthumanist perspective, respectively. The workshop concluded with a session in which the postdocs very generously shared their experiences concerning academic career planning, such as publishing the dissertation, applying for jobs and writing applications for third party funding.

All participants profited greatly from this networking opportunity and found the format to be very fruitful. They have agreed that the ELC forum should aim at organizing such a workshop annually and in the meantime use the Blog and email listserv as a basis for further exchange.

The organizers would like to thank all the participants for their engaged contributions as well as the sponsors: the Rachel Carson Center, GRADE – Goethe Graduate Academy, the Department of New English Literatures and Cultures, Goethe University, and EASLCE.

Karsten Levihn-Kutzler (Goethe University, Frankfurt), Antonia Mehnert (RCC, LMU), Hanna Straß (LMU)

Sponsors and Supporters:

Department of New English Literatures and Cultures, Goethe-University | European Association for the Study of Literature, Culture and the Environment | GRADE – Goethe Graduate Academy | Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, LMU Munich

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