Two distinguished writers at the forefront of contemporary literary practice will explore the role of storytelling in the Anthropocene, a proposed new geologic era reflecting the impact of humans on the planet, during an upcoming public lecture.
“Archived Rivers and Political Forests: Literary Interventions in the Anthropocene” takes place at Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) on Thursday, Feb. 15.
Organized by Brock English Professor Adam Dickinson, the free event is part of the Marilyn Rose Lecture series, an ongoing research colloquia series launched in 2017 to honour the legacy of Marilyn Rose, a distinguished Professor of English Language and Literature and founding Dean of Brock’s Faculty of Graduate Studies who passed away in 2015.
The lecture will welcome Julia Fiedorczuk, a Professor of American Literature at the University of Warsaw, scholar of ecocriticism and award-winning author, and celebrated Canadian poet Lisa Robertson, Governor General’s Award nominee and 2014 Bain-Swiggett Lecturer in Poetry at Princeton University.
Their work offers provocative insight into ongoing conversations about how stories are told in the Anthropocene by examining various practices of literary production.
Dickinson said the Anthropocene is a concept of increasing interest for those in a range of academic fields who are curious to learn what the Anthropocene might reveal about the relationships of humans and non-humans of the past, present and future.
“What new modes of philosophical thinking, creative writing and artistic creation can be developed to explore and provoke a larger public and political response to the biological, geological and cultural “writing” of the Anthropocene?” Dickinson said.
The talk builds on a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Grant, funded by the Government of Canada, that Dickinson is part of led by Christine Daigle, Professor of Philosophy and Director of Brock’s Posthumanism Research Institute, along with Brock Earth Sciences Professor and Anthropocene expert Francine McCarthy.
The research project, “Bomb Pulse: Cultural and Philosophical Readings of Time Signatures in the Anthropocene,” focuses on interpreting layers of sediment in Halton’s Crawford Lake collected by McCarthy and her team.
Their research explores how philosophical thinking, creative writing and artistic explorations can help society reflect on how human activities have impacted the Earth and provoke discussions on environmental sustainability, extinction and the collective future.
Dickinson said that guest speakers Fiedorczuk and Robertson are very engaged with these kinds of environmental, aesthetic and political questions critical to this time in history, and that these questions would have mattered greatly to Rose.
“Julia and Lisa are doing the kind of work that would have interested Marilyn Rose a great deal. Marilyn was part of the development of ecocriticism in Canada, and she was also an important scholar of women’s writing,” Dickinson said.
The free lecture is open to the public and takes place at the MIWSFPA, located at 15 Artists Common in downtown St. Catharines. For more information, please visit ExperienceBU.