“Archived Rivers and Political Forests: Literary Interventions in the Anthropocene.” The 2024 Marilyn Rose Lectures on February 15, 2024

“Archived Rivers and Political Forests: Literary Interventions in the Anthropocene.” The 2024 Marilyn Rose Lectures.

Thursday, February 15, 2024, 17:30-19:30

Studio C (MWS251), Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Brock University.

This year’s event will feature Julia Fiedorczuk and Lisa Robertson, two distinguished writers at the forefront of contemporary literary practice. Their work offers provocative interventions into ongoing conversations about the nature of stories and storytelling in the Anthropocene / Capitalocene by interrogating and reframing the politics of aesthetic forms, the practice of literary production, and the complex entanglements of social and ecological temporalities.

Julia Fiedorczuk will discuss how her recent novel and poetry are increasingly concerned with the Białowieża Forest and the Podlasie region in eastern Poland, a unique reservoir of biodiversity and the complicated site of an unfolding humanitarian crisis for migrants seeking to enter Europe. She will discuss how her work, and the work of other Polish writers, has responded to political and environmental challenges in the Anthropocene by remaking traditional forms, narratives, and images.

Lisa Robertson will discuss her novel in progress and her interest in constructing an “unfaithful” description of a polluted and buried river in Paris (the Bièvre), using as her sources the river’s documentation in period literature ranging from Rabelais to Hugo, the Goncourt Brothers and Huysmans, to Violette Leduc, including in this description the history and sociology of labour as well as transformations in habitats and geography. For Robertson, the Bièvre is a dirty textual and archival intrusion in the Capitalocene.

Julia Fiedorczuk is a Polish Professor of American Literature at the University of Warsaw, a pioneering scholar of ecocriticism, and an acclaimed author. Her work has received the Wisława Szymborska Award – Poland’s most prestigious poetry prize. She is co-editor of the recently published Routledge Companion to Ecopoetics.

Lisa Robertson is a Canadian poet, essayist, translator, and novelist. Her work has often focused on architectural histories and urbanism. She has worked widely as a visiting writer and professor at institutions including Cambridge University, Piet Zwart Institute, and Princeton University. She lives in France.

This event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided.

Sponsors of this event include: The Humanities Research Institute at Brock University, The Office of the Vice-President of Research, The Posthumanism Research Institute, and The Department of English Language and Literature. Additional support provided by the Polish Institute in New York and the Non-Anthropocentric Human Subjectivity Center at Warsaw University.

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