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Making the news

Since I’ve begun paying attention to web sites about the ongoing events in Ukraine, I’ve noticed how similar Russian web trolls are to climate denialist trolls. Both seem to operate on an industrial scale.

Trolling is one way of fabricating news. Acting is another. Here are some priceless encounters with news fabrication.

 

 

The Media and Environment Scholarly Interest Group just won the prize for best attended business meeting at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. Or so we were informed by the SCMS interest group liaison present at the meeting.

This year’s SCMS featured what to my mind was by far the largest assemblage of panels and papers on all manner of environmental/ecological themes: analyses of filmic representations of nature, disasters and catastrophes, animals and nonhumans; theoretical excursions in ecocinema, eco-aesthetics, toxic and “energetic” media, frontier and extraction imaginaries, and more; and eco-materialist analyses of production processes, data backup systems, and other things. Some of these were sponsored by the M & E interest group; many were not.

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Or, process-relational ecocriticism 2.0

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Two of the courses I’m currently teaching — the intermediate-level “Environmental Literature, Art, and Media” and the senior-level “The Culture of Nature” — require introducing an eco-critical framework appropriate to a wide range of artistic forms, from literature to visual art, music, film and new media.

The process-relational framework developed in Ecologies of the Moving Image is synthetic and holistic in its scope, but it is too advanced for introducing in itself — accompanied by the philosophical underpinnings it requires — in these undergraduate classes. So I’ve been forced to rethink its categories to make them both more accessible and more broadly applicable.

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Acceleration & the (long?) Now

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Starting a discussion on these topics here.

 

Geoscene

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Over at A(S)CENE, we are starting to read Nigel Clark’s Inhuman Nature: Sociable Life on a Dynamic Planet as well as the Punctum Books open-access collection Making the Geological Now: Responses to Material Conditions of Contemporary Life.

Clark’s book has attracted some very intrigued — and a few rather ecstatic — reviews from geographers and social theorists, including a book review symposium in Progress in Human Geography.  Back cover blurbers Barry Smart, Myra Hird, and Adrian Franklin call it “magnificent” and “compelling” (Smart), a “watershed for social theory” (Hird), and “possibly one of the most important books you are ever likely to read, View full article »

Ukrainian update

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Regular readers will know of my interest in Ukraine, where I lived for a year as a Canada-USSR Scholar in 1989-90, and where I’ve visited at least ten times since, for varying lengths of time.

I’ve been following events unfolding there from afar, and have begun a blog called UKR-TAZ: A Ukrainian Autonomous Zone, which collects statements by Ukrainian writers, scholars, and cultural leaders on the revolution (which is what it should be called, at this point).

The following is a pretty good summary of important facts about the revolution. It’s a complex situation, so there’s always a risk of oversimplification. But this is a very good start.

 

 

 

Announcing A(S)CENE

A new blog has been launched in conjunction with my class “Environment, Science, and Society in the Anthropocene.”

It’s called A(S)CENE and its tag line is “Beyond the Anthropocene: Bracketing an Era.”

A(S)CENE is a blog dedicated to discussions of the Anthropo(s)cene — the scene of humanity’s ascendance to a biogeological force — and of what might follow it.

Further information is available here. The first set of readings can be found here.

Anyone with an interest in the subject matter can participate. Many of the readings (and viewings) will be open-access; I’ll try to make any others available where possible.

 

 

 

Anthropocene readings

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I’m thinking of making my Spring semester graduate class, “Environment, Science, and Society in the Anthropocene,” into a semi-public seminar series, with a blog where we will share links to readings and videos as well as discussions. (Actual meetings will not be online, but will be open to interested members of the UVM community.) Stay tuned for an announcement here.

Alongside a retracing of some of this past year’s Anthropocene Project, we’ll be focusing on a select handful of main texts, with Nigel Clark’s Inhuman Nature: Sociable Life on a Dynamic Planet being central among them. (Peter Sloterdijk’s In the World Interior of Capital: Towards a Philosophical Theory of Globalization and Rob Nixon’s Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor, or parts thereof, will likely accompany it.)

The brief course description reads as follows.

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Happy solstice

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We’re almost at the halfway point of the sun’s life cycle, so let’s enjoy it while it’s here.

Happy solstice.

 

Photograph by Santha Faiia.

Ontologies of bilocation

For interdisciplinary scholars, it’s always a challenge to decide which conferences to attend and which to forgo. The problem is particularly acute when the conferences are held at the same time, as occurred last week with the annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) and American Academy of Religion (AAR).

As I’ve been attending both of them off and on for years, the decision hinged for me around the fact that I had organized the Latour session at the AAR.

Latour himself, however, would be attending the AAA. (We tried to get him to bilocate, but didn’t succeed.) And it turns out that his session, “The Ontological Turn in French Philosophical Anthropology” — featuring an all-star cast of Philippe Descola, Marshall Sahlins, Michael M. J. Fischer, Kim Fortun, and Latour — was scheduled for the very same time as our panel.

It also turns out, as Rex relates at Savage Minds, that ontology was “the big theme” at the AAA this year.

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