In 2016 Amitav Ghosh threw down a gauntlet: realism, he asserted, is not adequate to the task of representing climate change. As per the subtitle of The Great Derangement, it is “the unthinkable” both in our recent Holocene past and in the genre of realism. Shortly after, Jesse Oak Taylor called out Ghosh’s dismissal of realism on b2o’s blog while advocating other kinds of serious fiction, like modernism and magical realism, as capable of representing climate change. Most recently, Elizabeth DeLoughrey has asserted that allegory is the form par excellence for representing the Anthropocene.
science and culture
From news and documentaries to TV drama and major media franchises, science has become a firm fixture in contemporary media culture. Across these diverse formats, a fascination with the perceived capacity of science – whether in the guise of medicine, criminology, space science or engineering – to transform life in wonderful and fearful ways endures. The figure of the scientist is science made manifest and, though different variants have evolved over the centuries, the scientist has remained a constant presence in Western culture. The last hundred years or so has seen many developments in science and technology and popular culture has kept abreast of these, portraying scientists that respond to the shifting hopes and fears of eager audiences.
With the invention of photography in the mid-19th century, reality no longer depended on the autonomous interpretation of the subject's view, but was instead objectively perceived and recognizable. Contrary to painting, photography fueled changes in perception and perceived reality by realistically reproducing the object as it exists. Now, the 21st century stands under the aegis of the image, a culture dominated by pictures, visual simulations, illusions, copies, and reproductions—creating an inflection point where visual paradigms compete with and even threaten traditional practices.
Deadline for Proposals: 20 October 2019
CFP: Past Forward: New Ways of Looking at Old Things
MEST Symposium, Indiana University Bloomington
March 6-7, 2020
Keynote: Dr. Michelle Warren (Dartmouth College)
Proposals for 20-minute papers should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by October 4, 2019.
Medieval animal studies has tended to privilege literary and encyclopedic texts, viewing animals within Aristotelian hierarchies of rationality, while research on animals in medieval medicine has focused on their use as ingredients, rather than their potential status as patients. There have been few discussions of animals and humans in relationships of care, or of animals as the recipients of medical treatment. In this panel, we seek to expand these conversations by centering veterinary medicine, including treatment manuals (e.g., hawking handbooks), literary representations of veterinary practices (e.g., romance heroes caring for horses), and other genres that concern the (un)ethical, (il)legal, or (im)proper treatment, training, or keeping of animals.
In our modern world, which some have argued to be disjointed while immersing itself ever deeper in crisis, the turning back towards “the olden days” and the ensuing nostalgia constitute a noticeable phenomenon, both individually (the memory of biography) and collectively (the memory of History). Another important – and seemingly also quite noticeable – phenomenon is the longing for something vague, indefinite or never existent.
Pirandello and Scientific Revolution