***WEATHER UPDATE: The schedule is slightly revised due to shifted travel schedules from our speakers. Please click here for the schedule updates.***
Join us March 22 – 23, 2018
What does it mean to think about environment in the twenty-first century? Recent work across the humanities and social sciences has begun to destabilize our idea of the environment as a singular, universal, and natural context for life. As scholars envision a more radically interdependent relationship between the human and nonhuman, the meanings ascribed to terms like environment and environmentalism are shifting in ways linked to practices of capitalism and imperialism; dynamics of race, class, gender, sexuality, ability, and religion; and intensified digital networks and proliferating media objects.
“Environments of Modernity” brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to assess the cultural, historical, and political affordances of the environment concept for contemporary thought. As we come to appreciate the interdependence of humanity and environment, scholars are called upon to rethink the conditions of political and historical agency in the modern world. If the idea of a singular environment depends on the untenable idea of a singular humanity, then how can humanists and social scientists theorize environmentalisms responsive to the conflicting needs of individuals, communities, and species?
The symposium aims to develop new approaches that re-conceptualize both of its central terms, environment and modernity. What kinds of structures and phenomena comprise an environment—the natural world, media technologies and infrastructures, a mood or a feeling in the air? How do culture and aesthetic representation shape our understanding of environmental forces, and to what extent do cultural practices not only represent but also produce the environments of modernity?