Times of Nature

deadline for submissions: 
March 16, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Times of Nature - an //ASIA symposium / School of the Art Institute of Chicago

This year’s ASIA// symposium, held on April 23 at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, will deal with nature’s pasts, presents and futures, as they are remembered, synthesized, and prefigured in Asia. We live at a time where the environment seems to have been made to be understood by constructs far larger than us, distilled into phrases ready for debate on mass media, cut up into financial inventions like Chinese green bonds and Indonesian carbon offsets. This isn’t the first time or place ‘nature’, or ‘climate’ have been reimagined—diverse cosmologies have long featured the two in various capacities and entanglements. How are these belief systems operationalized politically in relation to real climate change, and how does the climate changing affect these cosmologies? What can speculative ecology tell us of the contours of a landscape amenable to climate migrants, both human and non-human animals? How does the non-human, in both animal and earthly registers, animate our fears and hopes around what nature does in Asia? It’s time to look at nature, and natural to look across its times—across drowning archipelagos, slash-and-burned jungles, state co-opted environmental movements, air-conditioned cities, typhoon-struck coasts, and missed harvests.


Our two wonderful keynotes are:

Chia-ju Chang - Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures, Brooklyn College, NY

Jun Mizukawa - Lecturer in Anthropology, Lake Forest College, IL



1. Remembrance – This panel is loosely grouped around the past, or the idea of it. Topics could include but are not limited to: role of the archive in preserving ecological memory, colonial terraforming projects, nature and nation building, pluralistic reinterpretations of preceding environmental movements as well as modes of environmental subsistence.

2. Synthesis – This panel is concerned with present happenings. Topics could include but are not limited to: Activist responses to environmental crises in recent years, analysis of the discourse surrounding climate change (eschatological language and its political uses, etc), the aporias of green industrialization, environmental heritage and fictions of state, exchange between indigenous ecologies and climate science.

3. Prefiguration – This panel is for the speculative mode. Topics could include but are not limited to: Ecosophy, geoengineering projects, ecological governance, the environment as grounds for art (e.g the Animal Works of Xu Bing and Liang Shaoji, the Osaka based “Happeners”, etc), nonhuman climate justice in general.


Panelists, please submit to timesofnature2020@protonmail.com by March 16:

● A 300-word abstract or summary of your presentation (including which panel, if applicable)

● A 100-word brief bio

Moderators, please submit a 100-word brief bio and which panel you’d be interested in moderating to timesofnature2020@protonmail.com by March 16.

Some funds will be available to aid participants in traveling to the conference.


Sponsored by School of the Art Institue of Chicago Department of Visual & Critical Studies, Department of Liberal Arts, Graduate & Undergraduate Divisions, Student Government, Multicultural Affairs.

Hosted by Hapa, Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islanders @ SAIC.



April 23 2020, 10AM - 7PM (exact timing tba) 


School of the Art Institute of Chicago Ballroom

112 S Michigan Avenue

Chicago IL 6603