August 5-10, 2019
Colby will host its inaugural Summer Institute in Environmental Humanities in August, 2019 at the new Bill and Joan Alfond Main Street Commons in downtown Waterville, Maine. The aim of this Mellon Foundation funded institute is to engage with contemporary issues in the environmental humanities through participatory, interdisciplinary events, including seminars and workshops. It will provide the occasion to collectively explore how this developing field contributes to the theorization, imagination, and practice of socially just and ecologically hopeful futures for humans and nonhumans in a global collective yet to be cooperatively defined.
Please click here for information on how to apply. Applications are due Feb. 1
Lecture: The Futures of the Public Lands: Case Study, Oregon
Seminar: Rethinking the Commons: Climate, Posthumanism, Decolonization
In this seminar we’ll revisit the idea of the commons from several angles, considering instantiations of “commons” in US public lands and in atmospheric trust litigation, as well as radical expansions or critiques of Eurowestern “commons” practicefrom posthumanisms that emphasize non- human personhood and from advocates of decolonization. Key starting questions will be: Does the commons function as a generative political and environmental concept? Can the concept be thought alongside decolonization?
Stephanie LeMenager is Barbara and Carlisle Moore Professor of English and Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Oregon, where she co-directs the Center for Environmental Futures with Professor Marsha Weisiger. Her publications include the books Living Oil: Petroleum Culture in the American Century, Manifest and Other Destinies: Territorial Fictions of the 19th C United States, and the co-edited collections Environmental Criticism for the Twenty-First Century and Teaching Climate Change in the Humanities. Her current book projects include a multi-volume collection of the “100 best” articles to be published in the environmental humanities (forthcoming, Bloomsbury), a co-authored book on the future of Oregon’s public lands, and a meditation on rural life in the US in the shadow of climate change.
Lecture: Climate Aesthetics at the Moraine
Seminar: The Ecological Postures of Contemporary Art
This seminar considers the ways that contemporary art generates aesthetic sensibilities and ethical practices in global environmental cultures. We will approach contemporary art by considering its postures: the positioning of subjects, gestures, attention and affects by which it opens new distributions of sensation. Further, we shall consider how such distributions become forceful interventions in the systemic operations of economy and energy use, the epistemic functions and dysfunctions of biopower, and the ontological expressions of the geosphere. In taking up contemporary art through its postures, we are making an etymological connection to the Latin positura, designating an “artificial mental position”. Yet in its contemporary iteration as art, the posture is more than a prosthesis of cognition—a virtual intelligence or artificial ignorance—that could easily defect to techniques of performance and experience management. Rather, the posture works against the premediation of sensation in order to embody, exteriorize, and reincorporate the affordances and recalcitrance of environments. The postures of art exceed cognition and make these excesses collectively available as propositions for ethical inquiry.
Amanda Boetzkes is Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory at the University of Guelph. Her research focuses on the intersection of artistic practices with the life sciences and global systems of energy use. She is the author of The Ethics of Earth Art (University of Minnesota Press, 2010), Plastic Capitalism: Contemporary Art and the Drive to Waste (MIT Press, 2019) and co-editor of Heidegger and the Work of Art History (Ashgate 2014).
She has published in the journals Postmodern Culture; Art Journal; Art History; Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture; Antennae: The Journal of Nature and Visual Culture; and Eflux among others. Recent book chapters appear in Materialism and the Critique of Energy (MCM’, 2018); Petrocultures: Oil, Energy, Culture (McGill-Queen’s Press); Fueling Culture: 101 Words for Energy and Environment (Fordham University Press, 2016); The Edinburgh Companion for Animal Studies (Edinburgh University Press, 2017); and Art in the Anthropocene: Encounters Among Politics, Aesthetics, Environments and Epistemologies (Open Humanities Press, 2015).
Her current project, Ecologicity, Vision and Art for a World to Come considers modes of visualizing environments with a special focus on Arctic landscapes. Professor Boetzkes is a member of the Society of Fellows at the Rachel Carson Center in Munich, Germany.
Lecture: Indigenous Environmental Justice, Wilderness and Parks: Anti-Colonial Criticism and Liberatory Futures
Seminar: Critical Resilience and Futurity: Introducing Indigenous Research for the Environmental Humanities
The seminar provides an introduction for environmental humanities researchers to the diverse contributions of Indigenous persons to topics like resilience, environmental justice, decolonization, futurity and sustainability. While the seminar focuses on contributions from Indigenous North Americans over the last several hundred years, connections will also be made to Indigenous peoples globally. The seminar focuses on overturning problematic assumptions about Indigenous environmentalism, and moves toward showing the originality of Indigenous expression and thought, which can transform how environmental humanities teach and research.
Kyle Whyte holds the Timnick Chair in the Humanities at Michigan State University. He is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Community Sustainability. His primary research in Indigenous philosophy addresses moral and political issues concerning climate policy and Indigenous peoples and the ethics of cooperative relationships between Indigenous peoples and climate science organizations. This research covers Indigenous philosophies of sustainability and resilience and connects with theoretical literatures on decolonization and Indigenous resurgence. He is an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.
Kyle is involved in a number of projects and organizations that advance Indigenous research methodologies, including the Climate and Traditional Knowledges Workgroup, Sustainable Development Institute of the College of Menominee Nation, Tribal Climate Camp, and Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence. He has served as an author on the U.S. National Climate Assessment and is former member of the U.S. Federal Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science.