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"Eco-Philology: Literary Studies in a Collapsing World."

Eric Gidal

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 - 3:30pm
CMU 202

The next meeting of the UW Material Texts Colloquium. In collaboration with the Anthropocene Research Cluster, will be welcoming Eric Gidal (Iowa) for his lecture "Eco-Philology: Literary Studies in a Collapsing World."

Abstract: Literary studies need to contend with the “emergent unreadability” of texts whose mimetic practices across a range of aesthetic norms and rhetorical conventions are no longer tenable in an age of mass extinctions, biotic degradations, and atmospheric transformations.  Both the planetary scale of anthropogenic environmental changes and the temporal scale of geological history informing assessments of their significance require new models of literary history.  This presentation will reflect on possible directions for an “eco-philology” that combines textual and digital studies in relation to environmental history.  With examples from eighteenth and nineteenth century Scottish literature, I will ask how descriptive bibliography and geospatial semantics can contribute to ecological reflection at a moment of precipitous decline.

Eric Gidal teaches courses in poetry, aesthetics, and the visual arts, and in eighteenth-century and romantic-era literature, particularly in reference to media studies, information theory, and environmental concerns. He is the author of the recent book, Ossianic Unconformities: Bardic Poetry in the Industrial Age (2015) and the Editor of Philological Quarterly. 

This talk is co-sponsored by the Simpson Center for the Humanities. Reception to follow. 



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