“Earth, Sea, Sky” is an international environmental humanities research network (http://torch.ox.ac.uk/earth-sea-sky). Our central aims are 1. to examine the varied and contested medieval and early modern approaches to the natural world, and 2. to consider how this premodern archive resonates with environmental degradation and global warming in our current moment. In three linked symposia we will focus on each domain of “Earth, Sea, Sky.” We commence at Oxford on “Earth,” the most anthropocentric, localized, and thereby familiar of the domains. We will consider how premodern texts and visual culture configure earth in proximity to various vantage points: local, regional, and national as well as theological, cultural, human, non/human, and creaturely. Although growing out of our home disciplines in English literary studies and art history, we imagine the event to be an opportunity to reanimate forgotten perspectives – those that have vanished – in scholarship and conversation that productively traverses disciplinary and period boundaries.
For “Earth,” we invite workshop participants to dwell on one or more of the following areas:
• Excavating earth (mines, resources, fossil fuels and other energy sources, appropriation)
• Picturing earth (maps, globes, diagrams)
• Perceiving / Delimiting earth (borders, limits, perspectives)
• Covering earth (urban/rural, vegetation and crops, weather)
• Saving / Leaving earth (preservation, seed banks, travel, transcendence, catastrophe)
The symposium will combine a series of research presentations and three workshops. Two workshops will focus on the conceptual provocations listed above, the other (which will run twice so that everyone who wants to attend it can do so) will address the rise of the Environmental Humanities as a career trajectory and an employment category. These workshops are organized to give postgraduate and early career researchers the chance to present work-in-progress and to discuss themes arising from the research presentations.
Prospective workshop participants are invited to send an expression of interest comprising a short statement of current research or practice (300-500 words) and a onepage CV to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com by 2nd April. Workshop leaders may ask each participant to share short papers or presentations that engage these conceptual provocations; there will also likely be shared reading for them. If you have any accessibility requirements, please let us know in your expression of interest.
The second and third symposia, “Sea” and “Sky,” will take place in 2020 and 2021 at the University of California, Davis and the University of British Columbia, respectively. We aim to build an ongoing research network and to foster opportunities for knowledge exchange and research collaboration across the three events.
Environmental Humanities, TORCH Programmes