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Reconsidering the Human and Humanism in the Environmental Humanities


22 mars 2024


Chen Cui UNIL

Prof. Agnieszka Soltysik Monnet, UNIL


Assoc. Prof. Mike Bintley, University of Southampton (UK)

Prof. Johan Höglund, Linnaeus University (SE)


Nowadays, human beings are living through what seems to be an ongoing paradigm shift, with the dichotomous distinction between human and nonhuman being replaced by a new configuration emphasising the symbiosis and intersectional co-presence between biological creatures and the all-encompassing terrestrial nature. Epistemologically, the new paradigm challenges the Anthropocene and casts doubt to the validity of "binary opposition" as the methodological underpinning of human categorisation of the nonhuman. And moreover, this also invites cultural-linguistic (re-)consideration of not only the position of human within the overarching ecosystem, but also the modern Western concept of humanism which has an indelible anthropocentric undertone since its inception. Across the English departments of Suisse Romande, quite a few PhD candidates are actively researching the eco-matters. While the eco-linguists are examining the environmental contexts in which language operates and, in turn, how language and discourse construct the human narratives subjectively superimposed upon nature, literary scholars are investigating such issues as the function of eco-narrative, the evocative agency of nature, as well as the rhetorical mechanism and political significance of contemporary eco-writing. Certain medievalists are also looking at medieval nature eco-critically, in view of both intellectual history and the neurocognitive potentials in the visionary and devotional texts where metaphysical nature abounds, which extends the discussion of nature from the earthbound realm to the celestial and supernatural ambits. With these matters in mind, we propose to organise a 1-day CUSO doctoral event in 2024 themed on the Environmental Humanities for doctoral researchers working on the eco-matters, especially to have literary studies, medieval studies, and preferably also linguistics mutually illuminate one another. This event will feature two transdisciplinary keynotes concerning modern/contemporary literature and medieval studies, possibly to be followed by an eco-linguistic intervention. We will provide PhD candidates with ample time for presentation and cross-fertilising discussion. We will also organize workshops with the speakers and open only to doctoral students (no senior scholars) in order to create genuine opportunities for students to speak free





Deadline for registration 22.03.2024
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