Environmental Humanities Reading Group

One of the initiatives pitched at our Birthday Event last year is a new Environmental Humanities Reading Group. Their next meeting is on 21 February on the VU Campus.

The Environmental Humanities Reading Group organises monthly meetings in Leiden or Amsterdam to share humanities perspectives on mankind’s relationship to the environment, as well as contemporary discourses surrounding climate change. Our angles include environmental history, ecocriticism, environmental philosophy, environmental art criticism and more. Check out their blog, which serves as a record for past meetings. On January 18th, for example, the group read Annie Dillard’s chapter Fecundity from her Pulitzer prize-winning book Pilgrim on Tinker Creek, using Timothy Morton’s notion of dark ecology as a theoretical framework.

The next meeting is planned for February 21, 7pm on the VU Campus. It will be directed by Leiden alumna Giulia Baquè who will be introducing the notion of ecoambiguity with regards to East Asian traditions of environmental thought and practice. East Asia is generally perceived by the western world as the realm of a complete harmony between the human and the non-human. Nevertheless, East Asian literary productions often feature themes of environmental pollution caused by human carelessness or greed. In this session we will look at a concept coined by Karen Laura Thornber, called “ecoambiguity,” which looks at the “complex, contradictory interactions between people and environments with a significant nonhuman presence.”

For questions about the group, the reading material, and future meetups, email Laura op de Beke: lauraodbeke at hotmail dot com.

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