In our ongoing effort to highlight the work of undergraduate students, this post features the work of students in my English 381: Ecocinema course taught this past spring quarter at the University of Oregon.
For this assignment, I asked students to create Annotated Keywords that would define and apply key terms in ecomedia studies. By creating these visual platforms, students engaged not just in linguistic learning but as much in visual learning. There are some editing errors here and there and the citations could have been clearer in some cases but I think these representative examples present a good start toward combining a traditional annotated bibliography with visual representation and analysis. These selections represent close readings of the keywords and some skill in graphic design.
I was inspired by Douglas Gayeton and Laura Howard-Gayeton’s Lexicon of Sustainability, Raymond Williams’ classic Keywords for cultural studies, and a forthcoming project co-edited by Joni Adamson, William Gleason, and David N. Pellow, entitled Keywords for Environmental Studies to be published by NYU Press. Given the time limit of about two weeks for students to complete this project while keeping up with course readings and other assignments – I hope these examples will inspire discussion and creative approaches to teaching ecocinema and ecomedia.
A new collection of essays edited by Birgit Schneider (postdoc fellow at the Institute for Arts and Media at University of Potsdam, Germany) and Thomas Nocke ( a researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany) explores the profound impact of images in the scientific and political discourse of climate change. Here’s the rundown below (a PDF of the book’s intro is available on the publisher’s website – click the title linked below):
Image Politics of Climate Change: Visualizations, Imaginations, Documentations (Transcript, Germany, 2014)
Scientific research on climate change has given rise to a variety of images picturing climate change. These range from colorful expert graphics, model visualizations, photographs of extreme weather events like floods, droughts or melting ice, symbols like polar bears, to animated and interactive visualizations. Climate change graphics have not only increased knowledge about the subject, they have begun to influence popular awareness of global weather events. The status of climate pictures today is particularly crucial, as global climate change as a long-term process cannot be seen.
When images are widely distributed, they are able to shape how the world is thought about and seen. It is this implicit basic assumption of the power of images to influence reality that this book addresses: today’s images might become the blueprint for tomorrow’s realities.
Image Politics of Climate Change combines a wide interdisciplinary range of perspectives and questions, treated here in sixteen interdisciplinary case studies. The author’s specializations include both visual practice and theory: in the fields of climate sciences, computer graphics, art, curating, art history and visual studies, communication and cultural science, environmental and science & technology studies. The close interlinking of these viewpoints promotes in-depth insights into issues of production and analysis of climate visualization.
Panel CFP: Ecocriticism and Moving Image Archives
Deadline for Abstracts: August 6, 2014
Archival scholars have frequently turned to geological metaphors to explain the processes of archival selection, preservation, and the ‘unearthing’ of the past. Robert-Henri Bautier, for instance, compares archival collections to ‘sediments of geological layers’ that accumulate organically in “Les archives” (Samaran, L’Histoire et ses méthodes, 1961). Karen I. Ishizuka and Patricia Zimmermann echo this metaphor in Mining the Home Movie: Excavations in Histories and Memories, referring to home movie collections as ‘archival mines’ and their study as an ‘excavation’ (2007). Yet ecocritical studies of archival practices and their material impacts on the natural world remain few and far between.
This panel intends to build upon these discursive resonances to ask what an ecocritical study of the archive might resemble, especially in relation to moving image preservation, digitization, recycling and disposal. Since archives arrest the decomposition of material artifacts, they paradoxically entail both the conservation and disturbance of place, cultural fragments and, by extension, ecology. Thus, this panel seeks to bring together archival study with the recent ecological and spatial turns in moving image scholarship.
Papers are encouraged to address, as well as build upon, the following topics:
- Analyses of temporality, history, and space (i.e. geological time versus anthropocentric history, the site-specific nature of archives and environments, etc.)
- Archival and environmental heritage, preservation and conservation
- Archival digitization, e-waste and disposal
- Coding in digital cinema or video game ecologies
- Discursive linkages between archival practice and environmental humanities (i.e. ‘sedimentation’, ‘unearthing the past’, ‘accumulation,’ ‘excavation’)
- Ecocritical readings of recycled archival images (including found footage and compilation films, videos, and databases)
- Ecological impact of the archival technologies and the circulation of archival moving images
- Ecomedia and environmental films as ‘visual archives’ of nature and the non-human
- Ephemera and decomposition
- Landscape as archive
- Materiality and the ecological footprint of digital archives, cloud-servers and databases
- Politics of ‘green’ archiving
Please send abstracts of 300 words (including bibliography, institutional/departmental affiliations, and a short bio) to Rachel Webb Jekanowski (Concordia University) at email@example.com by August 6, 2014. Successful submissions will be notified by August 12.
Rachel Webb Jekanowski
Department of Film & Moving Image Studies
Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema
Concordia University, Montreal
A terrific looking new collection of essays on media and ecocriticism edited by Rayson K. Alex, Susan Deborah, and Sachin Dev entitled Culture and Media: Ecocritical Explorations will soon be published by Cambridge Scholars Press. Here’s the rundown:
“Indian ecocriticism has not yet adequately demonstrated the applicability of ecological/deep ecological/tinai principles to visual texts. Culture and Media: Ecocritical Explorations closes this gap at the most opportune moment. Though this volume accommodates ecologically oriented interpretations from several cultures across the world, it reserves the centre stage for Indian ecocriticism and ecotheory quite appropriately. The volume effectively challenges the major documents on ecocriticism and theory (published by international presses), which have been reluctant to give space to tinai criticism and theory that transcend Dravidian or Tamil boundaries. The day is not far when cinema of the world, shaped by tinai theory, will employ tinai hermeneutics to gain fresh insight, which, in turn, will feed into the processes of creation and production of relevant and great movies.“
In addition to the editors, contributors include:
Patrick D. Murphy
Simon C. Estok
Susan Ward and Kitty Van Vuuren
Yalan Kathryn Chang
A new collection of essays, Eco-Trauma Cinema, edited by Anil Narine is scheduled for publication later this year. This collection looks to be a great addition to the field.
Here is a link to the title on the publisher’s homepage and and a description and list of contents:
“Film has taken a powerful position alongside the global environmental movement, from didactic documentaries to the fantasy pleasures of commercial franchises. This book investigates in particular film’s complex role in representing ecological traumas. Eco-trauma cinema represents the harm we, as humans, inflict upon our natural surroundings, or the injuries we sustain from nature in its unforgiving iterations. The term encompasses both circumstances because these seemingly distinct instances of ecological harm are often related, and even symbiotic: the traumas we perpetuate in an ecosystem through pollution and unsustainable resource management inevitably return to harm us.
Contributors to this volume engage with eco-trauma cinema in its three general forms: accounts of people who are traumatized by the natural world, narratives that represent people or social processes which traumatize the environment or its species, and stories that depict the aftermath of ecological catastrophe. The films they examine represent a central challenge of our age: to overcome our disavowal of environmental crises, to reflect on the unsavoury forces reshaping the planet’s ecosystems, and to restructure the mechanisms responsible for the state of the earth.“
Introduction: Eco-Trauma Cinema Anil Narine
1. Evolution, Extinction and the Eco-trauma Film: Darwin’s Nightmare (2004) and A Zed & Two Naughts (1986) Barbara Creed
2. Trauma, Truth, and the Environmental Documentary Charles Musser
3. Great Southern Wounds: The Trauma of Australian Cinema Mark Steven
4. Into the Wilde?: Art, Technologically-Mediated Kinship, and the Lethal Indifference of Nature in Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man Alf Seegert
5. The Dangers of Bio-security: The Host (2006)and the Geopolitics of Outbreak Hsuan L. Hsu
6. Biting Back: America, Nature and Feminism in Teeth Roland Finger
7. The Spirits of Globalization: Masochistic Ecologies in Fabrice du Welz’s Vinyan Georgiana Banita
8. Love in the Times of Ecocide: Environmental Trauma and Comic Relief in Andrew Stanton’s WALL-E Alexa Weik von Mossner
9. Eavesdropping in The Cove: Interspecies Ethics, Public and Private Space, and Trauma under Water Janet Walker
10. Cooling the Geopolitical to Warm the Ecological: How Human-Induced Warming Phenomena Transformed Modern Horror Christopher Justice
11. Toxic Media: On the Ecological Impact of Cinema Sean Cubitt
Reposted from ecoaffect.org:
ecoAmerica is proud to announce our newest research report, Beyond Storms and Droughts: The Psychological Impacts of Climate Change. This report, co-produced with the American Psychological Association, chronicles the likely psychological impacts of climate change, from stress, anxiety and depression to increases in violence and aggression, to the loss of community identity.
The report discusses the pathways through which these impacts will arise, explains why some communities will be hit harder than others, and describes how psychological impacts interact with physical health. Importantly, the report also includes guidance for leaders about how to communicate about these impacts, as well as recommendations for how leaders and organizations can prepare and strengthen communities to withstand them.
ecoAmerica will host a free webinar on the report on Thursday, June 26th from 2 – 3 pm ET. The webinar will describe the report’s findings and provide recommendations for how leaders can apply them in their work. To register for the webinar, please click here.
Conference Date: October 10, 2014
As humans, we are continually examining how to position ourselves spatially, aesthetically, emotionally, intellectually, and practically in our environments. Today, we face these tasks with new urgency as the devastating impact of global climate change stimulates renewed scholarly focus on the environment. From Ecocriticism to Posthumanism to Deep Ecology studies, the humanities are engaged in a multi-disciplinary effort to understand how humans interact with natural and built environments. This conference aims to engage with and foster discussions around the complex and historically situated ways in which we imagine and inhabit the environment.
Conference Website: http://tuftsgradhumanitiesconference.wordpress.com/
The 2014 Tufts Graduate Humanities Conference seeks to bring together papers that attend to the ways environments are imagined, produced, and articulated in diverse contexts and mediums. Some questions to consider:
- How have humanistic discourses responded to environmental crises, past and ongoing?
- What are the aesthetic innovations that have helped represent the sedimented histories of colonialism, global capitalism, and histories of devastation?
- What role do the linked histories of racism, colonialism, sexism, and militarism play in our imaginings of, and relationships to, the environment?
- What is the role of art in depicting and understanding ongoing human and natural global devastation?
- What role does political economy play in discourses of environmentalism?
- How might we engage with indigenous knowledges when discussing the complex interactions between local and global, without fetishizing either?
- How do communities—large and small—articulate their identities in more symbiotic and reciprocal ways with their environments?
- How can we engage terms like ‘ecology,’ ‘environment,’ and ‘humanities’ in order to invite new modes of analysis and representation which more ably reflect histories of devastation, toxic activity, and violence—both human and natural?
- How might we re-imagine and re-articulate more equitable and sustainable futures for the environment?
Eco-Imaginaries welcomes papers, from all disciplines and fields, whose work participates in emergent conversations about the environment in the humanities. Please send your abstract of no more than 300 words, along with a short bio, to firstname.lastname@example.org by June 15, 2014.
Topics may include:
Animal Studies, Anthropocene, Apocalyptic Narratives, Biopolitics, Conflict Zones, Eco-Feminism, Environmental Aesthetics, Environmental Justice, Environmental Racism, Food Justice, Green Washing, Native Justice, Nature Writing, Neocolonialism, Post-humanism, Science Writing, Sustainability Policies, Toxic, Colonialism, Transnationalisms, Utopias/Dystopias, Waste Systems, World Systems, Water Politics
Here’s a link to the full article and an excerpt:
“AC [Interviewer Alicia Chester]: So there is no nature, and what we think of [as nature] is an ideal of nature.
CP [Cary]: Nature is a construction, just like gender.
LN [Leila]: That’s why we work with that idea of a wild, pristine nature with irony. If what looks like nature isn’t even nature, let’s just treat the city streets like nature, because it would actually help the environment more to do that––because then we may pay attention to flushing our toilets, where our trash is going, how much carbon emissions our houses are creating––rather than leaving the “real” nature, the myth of nature, to protect these wild, mountainous spaces, which needs to be done…but my point is, wilderness and nature are myths… The entire planet has been built, and rebuilt, and un-built, and built again. You can even go into the idea that we’re disembodied when we’re interacting with online spaces––we’re not. We’re still in a body. Our body is still doing something, even if it’s sedentary––that’s embodied. We are living what we’re doing online. Even if we think that, somehow, because we’re not physically moving, it’s disembodied, it’s not. It’s assuming there’s a mind-body distinction that does not exist.“