College News

Elemental Ecocriticism

English Department Hosts 30th Lit Symposium

The College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of English and the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies will host the 30th Alabama Symposium on English and American Literature April 25-27, 2013. This year’s symposium is titled “Elemental Ecocriticism.”

Sharon O’Dair, Hudson Strode Professor of English and director of the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies, said the event will focus on ecocriticism, “a field of inquiry that examines literary representations of the natural world and the effects of these representations on that world.”

Interest in ecocriticism, O’Dair said, is increasing as individuals become more environmentally conscious: “Motivating these scholars is what motivates the millions of people who, since the 1960s, have grown more and more concerned about the environments in which they live: how best to live in our world. In just over 20 years, ‘ecocriticism’ has become an exciting environment of its own, one especially appealing to students and one negotiating its theoretical and institutional growth.”

The symposium will feature a variety of distinguished guests — writers, professors, journalists, and others well recognized in their fields — who will speak and lead discussions during the course of the three-day event. A schedule of speakers follows; a schedule of events is available at english.ua.edu/life/symposium.

For more information about the symposium, contact the UA Department of English at (205) 348-5065 or email Sharon O’Dair at sodair@bama.ua.edu.

Thursday, April 25

8 p.m.: Keynote Address, Cary Wolfe, “The Biopolitics of Human and Animal Bodies.” Greensboro Room at the Bama Theater, downtown Tuscaloosa. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Free and open to the public.
Cary Wolfe is the Bruce and Elizabeth Dunlevie Professor of English at Rice University, where he is also founding director of 3CT: The Center for Critical and Cultural Theory. His books include Animal Rites: American Culture, the Discourse of Species, and Posthumanist Theory (Chicago, 2003), What Is Posthumanism? (Minnesota, 2010), The Other Emerson (Minnesota, 2010), and Before the Law: Humans and Other Animals in a Biopolitical Frame (Chicago, 2012).

Friday, April 26

9 a.m.–5:15 p.m.: Lectures, Bryant Conference Center, Birmingham Room. These lectures are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided.

9:00–10:15 a.m.: Lowell Duckert, “Earth.”
Lowell Duckert is an assistant professor of English at West Virginia University.

10:30–11:45 a.m.: Karl Steel, “Creeping Things, Matter’s Own Life.”
Karl Steel is an assistant professor of English at Brooklyn College, CUNY.

1:00–2:15 p.m.: Valerie Allen, “Airy Something.”
Valerie Allen is a professor of English literature at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY.

2:30–3:45 p.m.: Jeffrey Cohen, “The Sea Above.”
Jeffrey Jerome Cohen is a professor of English and director of the Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute at the George Washington University.

4:00–5:15 p.m.: Julian Yates, “Wet.”
Julian Yates is an associate professor of English and Material Culture Studies at University of Delaware.

Saturday, April 27

9:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m.: Lectures, Bryant Conference Center, Birmingham Room. These lectures are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided.

9:30–10:45 a.m.: Sharon O’Dair, “Muddy Thinking.”
Sharon O’Dair is Hudson Strode Professor of English and director of the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies at The University of Alabama.

11:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m.: Steve Mentz, “Phlogiston.”
Steve Mentz is a professor of English at St. John’s University.

2:15–3:30 p.m.: Anne Harris, “Pyromena, Fire’s Doing.”
Anne Harris is an associate professor of art history at DePauw University.

3:45–5:00 p.m.: Chris Barrett, “The Quintessence of Wit: Ether and the Material Joke.”
Chris Barrett is an assistant professor of English at Louisiana State University.