Public lecture by Jennifer Wenzel –
Hosted by Goldsmiths' Critical Ecologies research stream
This talk situates the Anthropocene and the recent revival of interest in "world literature" as instances of broader dynamics of world-imagining. It offers an expanded narrative of globalization, by looking back to moments of capitalist expansion that precede neoliberalism and by recognizing the environment (particularly in colonial peripheries) as globalization's material condition of possibility and its product. The talk also argues for the relevance of the literary to environmental thought and practice. Far beyond the domain of literary study, our ideas about nature are mediated by literary tropes and narrative forms and genres in way that precede and exceed representation in any particular text: cultural logics shape what "counts" as nature or crisis. A supple understanding of the workings of cultural imagining and narrative logics, therefore, might foster more robust accounts of global inequality, in order to energize movements for justice and livable futures.
Jennifer Wenzel is an Associate Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature and the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies at Columbia University. She is the author of Bulletproof: Afterlives of Anticolonial Prophecy in South Africa and Beyond (Chicago and KwaZulu-Natal, 2009) and co-editor (with Imre Szeman and Patricia Yaeger) of Fueling Culture: 101 Words for Energy and Environment (Fordham, 2017).
Image: Alejandro Durán, Rayo (Ray), 2011
Dates & times
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