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Talk & workshop on Environmental Humanities by Professor Blanc visiting from Paris

May 4, 2016 @ 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm

A pioneer of ecocriticism and environmental humanities in France, cultural geographer and artist Pr Blanc works as a Research Director at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). She has participated in several international research programmes, the latest being the European COST program on New Materialism ‘How Matter Comes to Matter’.

The session will begin with a talk where Pr Blanc will share her experience and narrate her trajectory in the field of environmental humanities, with a specific emphasis on the new grounds and action forms opening up in the field (see abstract below).

The talk will be followed by a workshop led by Pr Blanc and 2nd-year Phd student Clara Breteau where we will collectively discuss the issues addressed by the talk and any questions that may arise, including various subjects such as : what are environmental humanities today, the history of the field, new grounds for research, « outreach », « impact » and academics’ relation to social and political action in times of crisis, the « value debate » and the problematics of research utilization, related academic communities and « eco-friendly » academic places, funding, livelihoods, forms of research institutions, and existential challenges for academics in the anthropocenic and post-anthropocenic worlds.

This event is co-funded by the Language, Culture and Societies School PGR Fund and the Paris-based Ladyss Laboratory.

Abstract – Ecocriticism and environmental humanities benefit from a growing interest and commitment from humanities at large, as the extent of the current global ecological crisis and of climate change becomes increasingly daunting. Today every academic and especially young ones such as postgraduate students ask themselves what their career will look like in the anthropocenic world and how they can take action and play a role in their field and with their specific skills. Beyond the borders of academic disciplines, ecocriticism questions in a very general but essential way the role and relevancy of academics in a world in crisis.The approaches and themes chosen in ecocriticism tend sometimes to be quite academically-centered and theoretical, at the risk of forgetting to question the crucial link between academia and, society, and the various potential « grounds » where they can converge and meet. The specificity of this event will be to broaden the perspective by working out the paradoxes, complexities and subtleties of academic in general, and more particularly ecocriticism and environmental humanities’ relation to « research grounds » and fieldwork, in both methodological, political, material and existential terms.

Biography – Nathalie Blanc works as a Research Director at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). She is the Managing Director of the CNRS-related LADYSS laboratory and is based in University Paris Diderot 7 in the Geography, History & Social Sciences Department. A pioneer of ecocriticism in France, she has published and coordinated research programs on areas including habitability, environmental aesthetics, literature & environment and nature in the city. A founding member of the French Environmental Humanities Portal, she has also been from 2011 to 2015 the French delegate of the European COST research project Investigating cultural sustainability and is now the delegate of the European COST program on New Materialism ‘How Matter Comes to Matter’.She is currently working on the book Form, art, and environment: engaging in sustainability, to be published by Routledge in 2016. Other selected publications include : Literature and ecology. Towards an eco-poetry with T. Pughe and D. Chartier, in Écologie et politique. Ecoplasties. Art and Environment. with Julie Ramos, 2010, Manuella.Towards environmental aesthetics, 2008, Quae. She is also an artist and an art commissionner, currently working on the theme of ecological fragility.



May 4, 2016
5:00 pm - 7:30 pm


School of English


School of English Alumni Room
10 Cavendish Road, University of Leeds
Leeds, LS2 9JT United Kingdom
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