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IPRH-Mellon Spring Symposium: “Ecological Bodies”

Event Type
Chancellor Ballroom, I Hotel Conference Center, 1900 South First Street, Champaign
May 2, 2014   All Day
Originating Calendar
Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH)

View full symposium schedule 

Learn more about symposium participants 

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.





8:45 a.m.

Welcome and Opening Remarks 
Dianne Harris, IPRH Director

9:00 a.m.

Keynote Address 
Catriona Sandilands (Professor and Canada Research Chair in Sustainability and Culture, York University)

“Encountering Plants: Entanglements and Embodiments.”

ModeratorWilliam Sullivan (Landscape Architecture)

10:15 a.m. Coffee Break
10:30 a.m.

Jenn Thomas (IPRH Graduate Fellow 2013–14 / Landscape Architecture)

“Landscape as Practical and Therapeutic Setting for Nineteenth-Century New York State Insane Asylums”

Aaron Carico (IPRH Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow 2013–15 / English)

“On Slavery’s Remains and the American Voice of the Southern Frontier: A Literary Ecology”



1:00 p.m.

Keynote Address 
Linda Nash (Associate Professor, History, University of Washington)

“From Purity to Risk:  Constructing Bodies and Health through Regulation in the Twentieth-Century US”

ModeratorPaula Treichler (Professor Emerita, Institute of Communications Research / Media and Cinema Studies)

2:15 p.m.

Coffee Break

2:30 p.m.

Zachary Poppel (History)

“The Nature of Study Abroad: Rural Universities and the Management of Exposure in Postwar Sierra Leone”

Leslie Reagan (History / Gender and Women's Studies) 

“From Trees and Jungles to People: Agent Orange, 1963–Present” 

Roderick Wilson (IPRH Faculty Fellow 2013–14 / History / East Asian Languages and Cultures)

“Risky Business: Japan’s Nuclear Power Industry and the Fukushima Disaster”

4:00 p.m.

Coffee Break 



4:30 p.m.

Keynote Address                                                
Jim Endersby (Reader in the History of Science in the School of History, Art History and Philosophy, University of Sussex)

“Models and Metaphors, Orchids and Primroses:  When, Why and How Is a Person Like a Plant?”

Moderator:  Samantha Frost (Political Science / Gender and Women's Studies)

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