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IPRH-Mellon Spring Symposium: “Ecological Bodies” - Opening Keynote

Event Type
Chancellor Ballroom, I Hotel Conference Center, 1900 South First Street, Champaign
May 1, 2014   7:30 pm  
Originating Calendar
Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH)


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Learn more about symposium participants


7:30 p.m.

Welcome and Opening Remarks
Dianne Harris, IPRH Director

7:30 p.m.

Keynote Address 
Gregg Mitman (Vilas Research and William Coleman Professor of History of Science, Medical History, and Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison)

“Ecological Imperialism Revisited: Entanglements of Bodies, Knowledge, and Commerce in a Global World”  

Moderator:  Bob Morrissey (History)

There will be a reception following the lecture.


This symposium turns scholarly attention toward the mutual construction of “natural” bodies and “natural” environments. Responding to contemporary concerns surrounding the shaping of “human” ecological awareness, the symposium focuses needed attention on what ecological sensibilities mean for rethinking ontology of the “human” as extended into space, dependent and shaped through encounters with nonhuman others. “Ecological Bodies”  provides a conceptual tool for scholars to explore how we can productively join feminist, queer, and postcolonial insights into body politics with what environmental studies scholars have taught us about the construction of “nature.”  “Ecological Bodies” also cuts across multiple turns in the humanities in what has been called the “affective” turn, the “ontological” turn, and the “spatial” turn. Divided into four thematic sessions-- which investigate imperialism, built environmental encounters, risk, and biological/reproductive processes— the symposium explores arenas of ecological relations that interrogate boundaries of the natural/cultural, human/nonhuman, and body/environment.  Its focus on “ecological bodies” encourages building connections among scholars across natural sciences, social sciences, and the humanities, as well as between sites of political activism across bodies and environments.





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