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Dipesh Chakrabarty–Climate of History Events–Feb. 25-Mar. 3, 2015

Dr. Chakrabarty is the Lawrence A. Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor of History at the University of Chicago; many of you may know him from his landmark 2000 book Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference.  Prof. Chakrabarty’s more recent articles on the “Climate of History” use perspectives from the environmental humanities to explore how our vision of humanity is changing in the age of global warming.  His visit to the University of South Carolina includes a public lecture, smaller seminars, and a symposium featuring invited scholars from a variety of disciplines and institutions.  More detailed information see here.

CFP: Animal Suffering: Inter-Disciplinary Investigations in Animal Studies

Southwestern College – Winfield, KS, USA

October 22 and 23, 2015

We are seeking proposals for a conference on the question of animal suffering.  Papers might examine (but are not limited to):

•       Representations of Animals and animal suffering in Literature, Philosophy, and Religion
•       Animals in Disability, Gender, and Postcolonial studies
•       Animal Rights and/or Virtues
•       Animals as Wildlife and Household Pets
•       Farming, Fishing, and Hunting Practices
•       Treatment of Animals in the Mid-West
•       Animals and Theories of Environmental Justice
•       Human-Animal Studies
•       Companionship, Cooperation, and/or Friendship with Animals

Proposals not exceeding 350 words to be sent to and jacob.goodson@sckans.eduby May 7th 2015.

Southwestern College is AASHE (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education), ACUPCC (American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment), KACEE (Kansas Association for Conservation & Environmental Education), and the Kansas Green Schools Network.

CFP: Spaces of Attunement: Life, Matter & the Dance of Encounters

Venue: Glamorgan Building, Cardiff University, UK
Date: March 30th & March 31st, 2015

Organisers: Julian Brigstocke (Cardiff University) & Tehseen Noorani (Johns Hopkins University)

Plenary speakersBen Anderson (Reader in Human Geography, Durham University); Deborah Dixon(Professor of Geography, Glasgow University); Kevin Hetherington (Dean of Social Sciences, The Open University); Mara Miele (Reader in Human Geography, Cardiff University); Kim Tallbear(Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Texas).

As the alarming consequences of the dominance of anthropocentric forms of thinking and politics on environmental, social and mental ecologies (Guattari, 1986) become ever more apparent, there has been a surge of interest in inventing new ways of collaborating with, listening to, and granting authority to new kinds of voices, including more-than-human life and forms of material agency. In this symposium, we invite participants to explore practices, politics, histories and futures of attunements to voices, temporalities, and material processes that exceed the human subject. In doing so, we ask participants to consider the ways in which matter and more-than-human life can make demands for human ethical and political response (Jackson, 2012).

Practices of attunement are associated with various traditions of thought including: phenomenological ideas of dwelling and worlding (Heidegger, 1923); post-phenomenological and neo-vitalist theories of encounters, affect, and hybridity (Bennett, 2009; Haraway, 2008; Anderson, 2014; Ash & Simpson, 2014); sensory methodologies (Evans & Miele, 2012; Spinney, 2015); spiritual practices (Oosterbaan, 2008); feminist materialisms (Braidotti, 2002); speculative modes of theory and politics (Whitehead, 1967; Stengers, 2011); and indigenous traditions of responsibility to the natural world, which have arguably been marginalized in recent debates (Tallbear, 2015).

Attunements strive to attain greater familiarity or intimacy with more-than-human worlds. In doing so, they experiment with creating more sustainable and egalitarian social forms. However, when attunement starts to invoke normative ideals of being ‘in harmony’, those who appear ‘out of tune’ (strangers, outsiders) can be registered as dangerous and threatening (Ahmed, 2013). Nevertheless, attunements can also affirm difference and be receptive to non-human ‘qualities, rhythms, forces, relations and movements’ (Stewart, 2011). Post-human attunements generate monstrous aesthetic forms (Dixon, Hawkins & Straughan, 2012) and require inventive practices of listening (Hetherington, 2013).  When objects, forces and spirits that exceed the spaces and times of human experience press themselves upon us with increasing force, attunements can be strange, uncanny and uncertain. They bring us into contact with lost futures and haunted presents (Fisher, 2014).  In fact, attuning to non-human or post-human worlds may require actively distancing our enquiries from the intimacy of the organic body and its lived experiences and affects (Colebrook, 2014).

This symposium invites participants to explore ‘attunement to the world in all its particularity, strangeness, enchantment and horror’ (Anderson et al., 2012). In doing so, we aim to contribute to recent efforts to recalibrate notions of authority, voice, and objectivity in ways that work towards more egalitarian, sustainable worlds.

Topics that will animate the discussion may include:

  • Practices of attunement that aim to facilitate deeper collaborations between humans, more-than-human life, and material agency;
  • Materialisms (old and new);
  • Intersections or tensions between new materialisms and indigenous standpoints;
  • Attunements, spirituality and ritual.
  • The role of attunements in (re)distributing power and authority;
  • Attunements and aesthetics;
  • How attunements affect the quality of experience and encounters;
  • Narrative and non-narrative forms for expressing experiences and practices of attunement;
  • Material/semiotic figures of attunement (stranger, diplomat, monster, guide, alchemist…);
  • Biopolitics, the anthropocene, and the inorganic.

Apply to attend / present a paper.
Researchers from across the arts, humanities and social sciences are warmly welcome. If you wish to attend, or to give a 20-minute paper, please complete the form at: before 1800, February 13th, 2015. 
Proposals for alternative presentation formats, artworks, performances, films, sound art etc. are encouraged. We will do everything we can to help with this in terms of technology, time, and potentially some extra financial resources. Please get in touch.

Julian & Tehseen

DAAD German Studies Seminar: Nature in Thought and Image

Nature in Thought and Image: The Ecological Imagination from Romanticism to the Present  

University of Chicago: July1-August 12, 2015

Deadline: March 1, 2015

The atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen (Max Planck Institut für Chemie, Mainz) has famously argued that the earth and its denizens now dwell in the anthropocene: the era of decisive human impact on geological history. With this term, Crutzen brought to expression a “green” awareness that has had widespread political and theoretical consequences, especially, but not exclusively, in Germany. The 2015 DAAD Summer Seminar will address the consequences of this development within the field of German Studies.

Our approach will be interdisciplinary and historical. We shall examine three phases in the modern “history of nature,” attending to crucial artistic, literary, and theoretical contributions within each phase. Our starting point will be the period around 1800, the age of Romanticism in a broad sense of the term, acknowledged both by historians and by contemporary ecologists as a crucial source of holistic ecological concepts. A primary point of reference will be the work of Alexander von Humboldt, with readings in his Kosmos as well as his report on his South American journey. But we will also examine selected scientific writings by Goethe, Schelling, and Ritter. Our artistic or visual case study for this period will center on the landscape paintings of Caspar David Friedrich. The second phase of the Seminar will consider the representation of nature in roughly the first half of the twentieth century.  Here the thought of Umwelt as formulated by the theoretical biologist Jakob von Uexküll as well as its reception in philosophical anthropology (Plessner, Jonas, Portmann) will provide one major point of reference, but we shall also attend to the rethinking of the notion of physis and the critique of technology in the work of Martin Heidegger. Our major artistic example for this phase of the seminar will be Paul Klee, whose work is rooted in an encompassing view of natural-artistic processes. Finally, we shall turn to the “contemporary” situation. Here our starting point will be the political-ecological-artistic enterprise of Joseph Beuys. Another topic will be the “aesthetics of nature” as developed by philosophers such as Martin Seel and Gernot Böhme. On the political front, we shall consider Das grüne Manifest (1978) and the difficulties of “ecological communication” (Niklas Luhmann) in modern society. We will conclude with a discussion of the possibilities of “ecocriticism.”

The major aim of the seminar is to foster reflection on the concept and image of “nature” among literary scholars, historians, art historians, and philosophers working in the area of German Studies. A secondary purpose will be to create a web-based archive of texts, images, and bibliographical references that can usefully be drawn on for future teaching and research.

Application forms and further instructions are available at Needless to say, I would be glad to answer questions regarding the seminar itself. (

Middlebury Summer School of the Environment recruiting faculty

The Middlebury Summer School of the Environment is currently recruiting faculty to teach in the summer of 2015:

Environmental Humanities:  Primary teaching responsibilities are (a) team-teaching with a natural scientist a course that focuses on an interdisciplinary environmental understanding of “place,” and (b) an elective of your choosing on some aspect of the environmental humanities with an explicitly global perspective.  Preference will be given to applicants whose curricular interests include issues related to environmental justice, ethics, or cross-cultural perspectives.

Environmental Social Sciences: Primary teaching responsibilities are (a) a practicum course that focuses on issues related to sustainability, and (b) an elective of your choosing on some aspect of environmental social science that includes a global perspective.  Preference will be given to applicants whose teaching experience includes the pedagogy of student-led research teams, and whose interests emphasize international issues, environmental justice, or rural environmentalism.

Environmental Art: Primary teaching responsibilities are (a) team-teaching with a natural scientist a practicum course that focuses on understanding, envisioning, and communicating to others how environmental systems function and (b) an elective of your choosing on some aspect of the environmental art, preferably with an explicitly global perspective.  Preference will be given to applicants whose curricular interests include issues related to media, communications, or public engagement with the arts.

Environmental Science: Primary teaching responsibilities are (a) team-teaching with an environmental humanist a course that focuses on an interdisciplinary environmental understanding of “place,” and (b) an elective of your choosing on some aspect of the environmental science that emphasizes field/lab experiences and global relevance.  Preference will be given to applicants whose curricular interests take advantage of the field opportunities available in Vermont, which include extensive and diverse terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems (including Lake Champlain) embedded within an agricultural landscape.

More details about these positions and the application process are available at the links associated with the position descriptions above.  Applications will be accepted until the positions are filled.  Additional questions that are not answered on the positions’ web pages can be directed to me (

CFP for GSA “Flows: Material, Energy, Narrative in the Ecological Humanities”

Flows:  Material, Energy, Narrative in the Ecological Humanities (Sponsored by the GSA Environmental Studies Network)

Washington, DC, October 1-4, 2015

Organized by Katharina Gerstenberger (U of Utah) and Scott Moranda (SUNY Cortland)

“Flows” serve to explore how biophysical changes link to social changes or disruptions.  Flows can refer to the movement of energy or raw materials through an economic system. Human interventions can redirect the flow of minerals and nutrients through ecological systems, with consequences for climate change, soil health, and biodiversity. Flows call to mind commodity chains and the circulation of goods to satisfy consumer desires. They also refer to the movement of people/migrants/wildlife across political, social, economic, and ecological boundaries.  Texts create flows through narrative continuity but also disruption and rechanneling.  They also circulate through cultural contexts over the course of time, in the process changing meaning and direction.

We invite papers in the environmental humanities, environmental history or the social sciences that explore the themes of mobility and barriers, fluidity and permeability, energy flows and transformation, entropy, decline and disorder, from a variety of disciplinary and methodological approaches, using a variety of texts, case studies, and other source materials.

Please send abstracts of 250 words and a short CV to both Katharina Gerstenberger ( and Scott Moranda ( by January 15, 2015.  We expect to create a sequence of 2-4 panels.