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Environmental Humanities Lecture: Joni Adamson

Event Type
Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities. Supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
IPRH Lecture Hall, Levis Faculty Center, Fourth Floor (919 West Illinois Street, Urbana)
Nov 15, 2018   4:00 pm  
Free and open to the public.

“What We Can Learn from Pink Dolphins: Key Tensions, Challenges, and Opportunities in the Environmental Humanities.” An Environmental Humanities Lecture by Joni Adamson (English and Environmental Humanities, Arizona State University)

In the Amazon basin, it is still common to hear stories about underwater cities of pink dolphins where fishes (and sometimes humans) live happy, luxurious lives. These stories are based on the lives of an endangered species of freshwater pink dolphin that lives in the Amazon River and is known for its friendliness and lack of caution. In this lecture, Joni Adamson will examine the presence of these dolphins in a genre of indigenous oral tale known as “Yakuruna” stories that played a role in winning the dolphin legal rights to survival in Bolivia in 2012, aiming to illustrate how the disciplines of literary criticism, history, and philosophy and other fields have, since the 1990s, been asserting the powerful communicative and transformative role of storytelling in addressing environmental perceptions, and how this focus has been central to the creation of the rapidly expanding field of the environmental humanities, or what she names “humanities of the environment.” Further, she will explore the idea of “humanities for the environment," a new movement in the field taking form in a 21st century, pluralist, experimental ethos as numerous research initiatives, funding schemes, journals, and teaching programs are being created around the world, and will outline some of the key tensions, challenges, and opportunities for this solutions-oriented, interdisciplinary, intergenerational, and publicly-engaged work for the environment.

Supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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