European Association for Studies of Literature, Culture and the Environment

Workshop & Conference: Imagining Earth at Zukunftsakademie NRW


Workshop & Conference 

Imagining »Earth« Concepts of Wholeness in Cultural Constructions of ›Our Home Planet‹ 


Zukunftsakademie NRW, Humboldtstr. 40; 44787 Bochum (Germany) 

Web: www.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/imagining-earth 

Contact: Solvejg Nitzke [email protected]

Title: Imagining Earth. Concepts of Wholeness in Cultural Constructions of ›Our Home Planet‹ 

To call upon the ›whole Earth‹ has become a common way to evoke significance. Claiming the ›global‹ importance of a problem, a place or a practice aims for the mobilization of attention and resources that exceed the potential of groups and societies in a traditional, pre-globalized sense. This rhetorical strategy implies a community which supersedes nationality, ethnicity, and even the difference between nature and culture. ›Earth‹ itself has become available. Maps, traffic and trade routes, telecommunication and education hold the possibility and the promise to see the whole world with one’s own eyes for each and every individual (today even without leaving one’s desk). But even a photo of Earth can only ever show half of it, just as the (visible) profit of globalization only reaches part of the ›global‹ society. At the same time (world-wide) conflicts that originate in cultural and economic differences, claims to protect diversity, and concerns about the destruction of ›the environment‹ raise considerable doubts about the existence of ›Earth‹ as an already united entity and point out the utopian potential of this notion.

Despite the limitations, globalization has become a fact and the effectiveness of imagined unity and wholeness cannot be denied. The successful dissemination of these notions raise several questions concerning the conditions, purposes and areas of success: How are the notions of one Earth, our Planet or the world imagined and disseminated? What is the role of cultural imagination and practices of signification in the imagination of »the Earth«?

(See Program at : www.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/imagining-earth/)

Prior to the conference, on May 29, there will be two workshops held by Timothy Morton and Greg Garrard (see description below). To register for these workshops, please send a letter of intent (describing your motivation to participate in and your connection to the workshop/conference topic) to [email protected] until May 1, 2014.

Workshop I: »Ecological Weirdness« by Timothy Morton (Rice University) 

In this seminar we shall be exploring some problems in ecological philosophy and how they relate to issues in the ecological humanities. These are: The concepts of Nature and Life – Eliminative materialisms – “New and improved” Nature – Ethics on inhuman temporal scales – The paradox of ecological beings – Sentience and consciousness

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