Feb 16, 2017


Charlottesville, VA—We are delighted to announce the symposium “Beyond Representation: Creative & Critical Practice in the Environmental Humanities” on April 8-9, 2017 at the University of Virginia. The symposium includes interdisciplinary panels, a workshop, and a reading by poet Cecily Parks. All events are free and open to the public and will take place in Wilson Hall unless otherwise noted.

Many conversations in environmental humanities involve selecting and interpreting scientific data, then adding contributions from humanities fields to that quantitative base. Our symposium asks what happens when the equation is flipped—when we assume that many environmental issues start with the humanities. What questions are we best positioned to pose, and to explore? How can scientists help us, instead of the other way around? How are the humanities particularly suited to explore issues of environmental justice at the intersection of creative and critical practice?

Panels will convene on Saturday, April 8 and Sunday, April 9, and will feature presentations and conversations on Critical Cartographies, African American Environmentalisms, Ecology and Design, Indigenous Environmental Justice, Rethinking Slow Violence, and Changing Climate Language. Only one panel will be held per session, so speakers and attendees can participate in all available programming. We are pleased to be bringing together speakers with expertise in English, History, Philosophy, Media Studies, American Studies, African American Studies, Indigenous Studies,  Anthropology, Environmental Sciences, Environmental Studies, Creative Writing, law, and non-profit management; our goal is to foster robust interdisciplinary dialogue on environmental themes.

Featured poet Cecily Parks will read from her work on Saturday, April 8th at 6:00 PM. Her first poetry collection Field Folly Snow (University of Georgia Press, 2008) was a finalist for the Norma Farber First Book Award. Her second collectionO’Nights (Alice James Books, 2015) has been praised for its attention “to our spiritual as well as physical uses and abuses of nature.” Parks’s poetry appears in The Paris Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Yale Review, Tin House, The New Yorker, and Best New Poets 2007. Her essays on poetry and the environment appear in The Emily Dickinson Journal,ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. Parks is an Assistant Professor of English at Texas State University.

This symposium is sponsored by a Clay Buckner Grant from the Institute of the Humanities and Global Cultures, with support from the Center for Cultural Landscapes, Virginia Quarterly Review, and the Carter Woodson Institute at UVA, the Center for Carbon Removal, and others. For more information, please visit our website.