River Research Seminar – Sharece Blakney and Starr Herr-Cardillo
Feb
23
12:00 PM12:00

River Research Seminar – Sharece Blakney and Starr Herr-Cardillo

Schuylkill Corps River Research Seminar

  • Sharece Blakney, Graduate Student in the History MA program at Rutgers University-Camden
  • Starr Herr-Cardillo, Historic Preservationist/Writer
Joshua Rowley Watson, "The Woodlands from the Rocks at Gray's Ferry with the Lower Bridge", 1816, watercolor. Philadelphia Museum of Art.  

Joshua Rowley Watson, "The Woodlands from the Rocks at Gray's Ferry with the Lower Bridge", 1816, watercolor. Philadelphia Museum of Art.  


Sharece Blakney, Graduate Student in the History MA program at Rutgers University-Camden

Equally Free With Myself: Slavery, Manumission, and Indentured Servitude in Kingsessing Township, 1780-1850


Between 1780 and 1850, the black community of Kingsessing Township experienced wealth, poverty, freedom, and enslavement. Using primary source documents, "Equally Free with Myself" explores slavery, manumission, and indentured servitude from the perspective of the black community of Kingsessing. Historical analysis reveals the ripple effect that various forms of being unfree have had on the development of the black community in southwest Philadelphia. The impact of slavery has left historians with many webs that connect the 'peculiar institution' to communities of color and race relations today.

 

Starr Herr-Cardillo, Historic Preservationist/Writer

Bridging the Schuylkill: Cultivating collaboration through shared history

In the colonial and early national eras, the Lower Schuylkill was home to some of the most important ornamental and botanical gardens in America. Safeguarded by early preservation efforts as the riverfront industrialized, two key players in this story—The Woodlands and Bartram’s Garden—are now recognized as National Historic Landmark Districts, bastions of Philadelphia’s horticultural legacy that live on as parks, historic sites, and important community anchors in their respective neighborhoods. Delving into the history of both sites reveals a number of fascinating historical relationships and connections that are being brought to the public through creative and collaborative programming.


Complimentary Lunch is Provided.

Founded in April 2016, the Schuylkill River and Urban Waters Corps is an informal collective of academic, non-profit, civic and community organizations. Based in Philadelphia, we are devoted to exploring and stewarding urban waters past and present. The Corps is currently fostering collaborations in other cities in the U.S., including Mumbai and New York, and we are building a digital archive for our members' varied work: contributing, collecting, and curating oral histories; developing a variety of tours, both on-line and in-person; measuring air and water quality; and designing and building an array of citizen science and public humanities projects to discover and document the waters--and invite considerations of how they will exist in the future.

@SchuylkillCorps

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PPEH Faculty Working Group + Rising Waters: Malini Ranganathan, American University
Mar
15
8:45 AM08:45

PPEH Faculty Working Group + Rising Waters: Malini Ranganathan, American University

Faculty Working Group – Breakfast Meeting

Dispossession, Liberalism, and the Coloniality of Urban Ecologies
Malini Ranganathan
Assistant Professor, School of International Service, American University

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How do we understand lead poisoning in water pipes, land dispossession and evictions, and real estate speculation on wetlands—all of which disproportionately affect the life chances of racial, ethnic, and caste minorities—as projects of empire and liberalism? Drawing on urban historiography and archival and ethnographic work in India and the US, this talk seeks to expose how race and other forms of difference subtly encoded within liberal urban policy and planning have had, and continue to have, a bearing on urban ecologies. Drawing on critical race and postcolonial theory, the talk considers if and how liberalism can be recovered and repurposed for emancipatory urban futures.


Malini Ranganathan is Assistant Professor at the School of International Service at American University in Washington, DC. Her research focuses on the relationship between urban housing, land, and water infrastructures, as well as struggles for environmental and spatial justice in India and the US. She has a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in Energy and Resources with a Designated Emphasis in Global Metropolitan Studies. She is a 2017-2019 co-recipient of an American Council of Learned Societies-Andrew W Mellon Foundation grant titled “Corruption Plots, Imagined Publics: The Ethics of Space in the Millennial City”. Her work is published in Antipode, Progress in Human Geography, Annals of American Association of Geographers, and other venues. 

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River Research Seminar – Waterways with Meg Lemieur + Bri Barton
Mar
16
12:00 PM12:00

River Research Seminar – Waterways with Meg Lemieur + Bri Barton

Schuylkill Corps River Research Seminar

Waterways with Meg Lemieur + Bri Barton

 


Complimentary Lunch is Provided.

Founded in April 2016, the Schuylkill River and Urban Waters Corps is an informal collective of academic, non-profit, civic and community organizations. Based in Philadelphia, we are devoted to exploring and stewarding urban waters past and present. The Corps is currently fostering collaborations in other cities in the U.S., including Mumbai and New York, and we are building a digital archive for our members' varied work: contributing, collecting, and curating oral histories; developing a variety of tours, both on-line and in-person; measuring air and water quality; and designing and building an array of citizen science and public humanities projects to discover and document the waters--and invite considerations of how they will exist in the future.

@SchuylkillCorps

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Teach-In: Post-Carbon Futures in a Fact-Challenged Present
Mar
21
5:00 PM17:00

Teach-In: Post-Carbon Futures in a Fact-Challenged Present

  • The Kislak Center in Van Pelt Library, 6th Floor (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Post-Carbon Futures in a Fact-Challenged Present

Participants at COP22, a follow-up on the Paris climate agreement, stage a public show of support for climate negotiations in Marrakech, Morocco, on Nov. 18. (AP Photo/David Keyton)

Participants at COP22, a follow-up on the Paris climate agreement, stage a public show of support for climate negotiations in Marrakech, Morocco, on Nov. 18. (AP Photo/David Keyton)

Domestic American politics have long played a role in climate negotiations, including in the current federal administration’s announced plan to withdraw from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. In contrast to the guarded optimism of climate change activists after COP21 in Paris, the emotional climate after the recent COP23 in Bonn was notably gloomy.

Nonetheless, state and city leaders insist #WeAreStillIn, the hashtag used by a coalition of 2,500 leaders from city halls, state houses, boardrooms, and college campuses. who have signed the “We Are Still In” declaration. In the vacuum created by a lack of federal leadership, this coalition and others are organizing across local contexts to bring about a systematic response to urgent environmental issues.

As we study and engage the present and future of the carbon economy, this roundtable brings together experts on energy transitions past and present as well as energy and health policy at the state and local level.

Panelists:

  • Brian Black – Distinguished Professor, History and Environmental Studies, Penn State Altoona, author of Petrolia
  • Christine Knapp, Director, City of Philadelphia Office of Sustainability
  • Pouné Saberi – Physicians for Social Responsibility
  • John Quigley – Founding Director Center for Environment, Energy & Economy, Harrisburg University

Moderated by Bethany Wiggin, Associate Professor of German, Founding Director, Penn Program in Environmental Humanities

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Environments of Modernity: A University of Pennsylvania Symposium
Mar
22
to Mar 23

Environments of Modernity: A University of Pennsylvania Symposium

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What does it mean to think about environment in the twenty-first century? Recent work across the humanities and social sciences has begun to destabilize our idea of the environment as a singular, universal, and natural context for life. As scholars envision a more radically interdependent relationship between the human and nonhuman, the meanings ascribed to terms like environment and environmentalismare shifting in ways linked to practices of capitalism and imperialism; dynamics of race, class, gender, sexuality, ability, and religion; and intensified digital networks and proliferating media objects.

“Environments of Modernity” brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to assess the cultural, historical, and political affordances of the environment concept for contemporary thought. As we come to appreciate the interdependence of humanity and environment, scholars are called upon to rethink the conditions of political and historical agency in the modern world. If the idea of a singular environment depends on the untenable idea of a singular humanity, then how can humanists and social scientists theorize environmentalisms responsive to the conflicting needs of individuals, communities, and species?

The symposium aims to develop new approaches that re-conceptualize both of its central terms,  environment and modernity. What kinds of structures and phenomena comprise an environment—the natural world, media technologies and infrastructures, a mood or a feeling in the air? How do culture and aesthetic representation shape our understanding of environmental forces, and to what extent do cultural practices not only represent but also produce the environments of modernity?

For more information: https://environmentsofmodernity.wordpress.com/


Schedule:

Thursday, March 22nd at the Slought Foundation, 4017 Walnut St.:

5:00-5:15 pm — Opening Remarks: Conference Organizers

5:15 – 6:30 pm — Opening Presentation: John Durham Peters

6:30 – 7:00 pm — Drinks Reception, Slought Foundation

Friday, March 23rd at the Slought Foundation, 4017 Walnut St.:

9:00 – 9:30 am — Breakfast

9:30 – 10:30 am — Speaker: Supriya Nair

10:30 – 11:30 am — Speaker: Kate Marshall

11:30 – 11:45 am — Coffee Break

11:45 – 1:00 pm — Graduate Student Roundtable

1:00 – 2:00 pm — Lunch Break (lunch not provided at conference)

2:00 – 3:00 pm — Speaker: Melody Jue

3:00 – 4:00 pm — Speaker: Robin Nagle

4:00 – 4:15 pm — Coffee Break

4:15 – 5:30 pm — Closing Roundtable with Penn Faculty

Participants: Etienne Benson, Rahul Mukherjee, Paul Saint-Amour, Bethany Wiggin

5:30 – 7:00 pm — Catered Dinner for Attendees, Slought Foundation


Organizers

Natalie Amleshi
Micah Del Rosario
Sam Waterman
Nicole Welk-Joerger
Aylin Malcolm
Aaron Bartels-Swindells
Nick Millman
Orchid Tierney

Co-Sponsored by: Penn Arts and Sciences, Slought Foundation, GAPSA, Wolf Humanities Center, Penn Program in Environmental Humanities, Price Lab for Digital Humanities, University of Pennsylvania Cinema Studies,  University of Pennsylvania English Department, the Modernism and Twentieth Century Reading Group, the Latitudes Reading Group, and the Anthropocene Reading Group.

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Environmental Science and the Post-Apocalyptic Novel: Lydia Millet in Conversation with James English and Bethany Wiggin
Mar
28
5:00 PM17:00

Environmental Science and the Post-Apocalyptic Novel: Lydia Millet in Conversation with James English and Bethany Wiggin

Environmental Science and the Post-Apocalyptic Novel

Lydia Millet
Novelist and Conservationist, Center for Biological Diversity
in conversation with

James English
Director, Wolf Humanities Center; John Welsh Centennial Professor of English

Bethany Wiggin
Founding Director, Penn Program in Environmental Humanities; Associate Professor of German

Cosponsored by the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities and the Department of English.

The prolific, unpredictable, award-winning novelist Lydia Millet manages also to lead a professional life as a conservationist at the Center for Biological Diversity. For the Forum on Afterlives, Millet will read from her latest work and discuss her unusual double role as scientist and novelist. In our era of ever more destructive climate change, are the themes of apocalypse and extinction migrating from science fiction into realism? How does Millet make room in her novels for so much humor and whimsy alongside their political and environmental horrors? 

lydia-millet-by-j-beal-2.jpg

Lydia Millet is a novelist and short-story writer known for her dark humor, idiosyncratic characters and language, and strong interest in the relationship between humans and other animals. Sometimes called a "novelist of ideas," Millet won the PEN-USA award for fiction for her early novel My Happy Life (2002), and she has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize as well as a Guggenheim fellow, among other honors.

Millet’s writing has been described as “…flawlessly beautiful, reaching for an experience that precedes language itself.” Millet has written books and stories that range from the philosophical to the satirical, on matters including the inventors of the atom bomb, and political culture under George H.W. Bush.

As well as being a novelist, Millet holds a degree in environmental policy and works for the Center for Biological Diversity, an organization focused on protecting endangered species. She shares with Barbara Kingsolver a passionate worry about wildlife’s future: Her 2012 novel “Magnificence” features a bizarre museum of taxidermied extinct animals, and the mermaids in her “Mermaids in Paradise” (2014) are the last of their kind.

Born in Boston, Millet grew up in Toronto and now lives outside Tucson, Arizona with her two children, where she writes and works in wildlife conservation. Sweet Lamb of Heaven, a psychological thriller about a woman in hiding from her estranged husband, was published in May 2016.

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PPEH Faculty Working Group: Thom van Dooren, University of Sydney, Australia
Mar
29
8:45 AM08:45

PPEH Faculty Working Group: Thom van Dooren, University of Sydney, Australia

Faculty Working Group – Breakfast Meeting

Making Worlds with Crows: A Multispecies Ethics
Thom van Dooren, University of Sydney, Australia
Associate Professor and Australian Research Council Future Fellow, Department of Gender and Cultural Studies University of Sydney

Source: Courtesy of Thom van Dooren

Source: Courtesy of Thom van Dooren

Ubiquitous in their global presence, crows are now found almost everywhere that people are: from critically endangered island crows living in disappearing forests to abundant urban species finding new ways to exploit changing cities. In this way, crows offer a broad range of instructive sites for exploring the challenges and possibilities of multispecies life in the context of escalating processes of globalisation, urbanisation, climate change, and extinction. This talk offers an overview of a recently completed monograph that focuses on changing human/crow relationships in five key sites in an effort to develop approaches and practices for a situated, attentive, multispecies, ethics.


Thom van Dooren is Associate Professor and Australian Research Council Future Fellow (2017-2021) in the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney, and founding co-editor of the journal Environmental Humanities (Duke University Press). His research and writing focuses on some of the many philosophical, ethical, cultural, and political issues that arise in the context of species extinctions and human entanglements with threatened species and places. He is the author of Flight Ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction (2014), Making Worlds With Crows: A Multispecies Ethics (2018), and co-editor of Extinction Studies: Stories of Time, Death, and Generations (2017), all published by Columbia University Press. www.thomvandooren.org
 

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Faculty Working Group: Grace Sanders Johnson, University of Pennsylvania and Carol Z. Smith, The Beckett Life Center
Apr
12
8:45 AM08:45

Faculty Working Group: Grace Sanders Johnson, University of Pennsylvania and Carol Z. Smith, The Beckett Life Center

Faculty Working Group – Breakfast Meeting

Grace Sanders Johnson, Assistant Professor, Africana Studies, University of Pennsylvania

Carol Z. Smith, Executive Director, The Beckett Life Center, North Philadelphia
 

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Harriet’s Hike: Ecological Literacy for Girls

Harriet’s Hike pairs Harriet Tubman’s legacy as an Underground Railroad “conductor,” spatial navigator, and environmental savant in the nineteenth century Delaware Valley region with current socio-environmental conditions, storytelling, and ecological literacy for girls and elder women in Philadelphia. Tubman’s journeys necessitated an intimate relationship to the land, extensive community networks, and literacy. Partnered with the Beckett Life Center—a housing complex and resource center—in North Philadelphia, Harriet’s Hike translates these nineteenth century concerns to the twenty-first century by combining a community call for literacy, intergenerational mentoring, and environmental justice, with community cartography, urban gardening, vegetation study, debris disposal/recycling, and walking, as the women prepare for the annual culminating project of a 27 mile walk from Philadelphia to the Tubman-Garrett Park in Wilmington, DE.

This PPEH workshop session will be a public discussion between Grace Sanders Johnson (Assistant Professor of Africana Studies) and Carol Z. Smith (Director of the Beckett Life Center) about environmental stewardship and storytelling with girls and elder women.

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River Research Seminar
Apr
13
12:00 PM12:00

River Research Seminar

Complimentary Lunch is Provided.

Founded in April 2016, the Schuylkill River and Urban Waters Corps is an informal collective of academic, non-profit, civic and community organizations. Based in Philadelphia, we are devoted to exploring and stewarding urban waters past and present. The Corps is currently fostering collaborations in other cities in the U.S., including Mumbai and New York, and we are building a digital archive for our members' varied work: contributing, collecting, and curating oral histories; developing a variety of tours, both on-line and in-person; measuring air and water quality; and designing and building an array of citizen science and public humanities projects to discover and document the waters--and invite considerations of how they will exist in the future.

@SchuylkillCorps

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Faculty Working Group + Rising Waters – Liz Koslov, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Apr
17
8:45 AM08:45

Faculty Working Group + Rising Waters – Liz Koslov, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Faculty Working Group – Breakfast Meeting

Retreat from Rising Waters: Urban Unbuilding in the Era of Climate Change
Liz Koslov, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities, MIT

Koslov_Staten_Island_2015.JPG

As storms grow stronger and seas rise, global warming is rendering many places vulnerable – even uninhabitable. Projections are staggering: hundreds of thousands of miles of land lost; millions of people forced from their homes. Images of what this future might look like, coastal cities swamped and abandoned, are easy to come by. Harder to imagine is what happens first: Who decides when to stop rebuilding, to retreat in advance of the next disaster? Where do people go? What of those who stay put? Is this necessarily a story of ever-deepening dystopia? Or, are there ways to unbuild amid the rising waters that serve to acknowledge and repair rather than repeat and exacerbate the past traumas of displacement, dispossession, and segregated development underlying the inequitable landscape of urban climate risk today?


Liz Koslov is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at MIT and holds a PhD in Media, Culture, and Communication from NYU. Her research examines the social, political, and cultural dimensions of urban climate change adaptation. She is currently at work on her first book project, Retreat: Moving to Higher Ground in a Climate-Changed City, which is under advance contract with the University of Chicago Press. 

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Center for Media at Risk – Launch Symposium
Apr
19
to Apr 29

Center for Media at Risk – Launch Symposium

"What is Media at Risk?" is a cross-disciplinary conference bringing together media practitioners, media scholars and media assist organizations to define what "media at risk" means globally in circumstances of political intimidation and what can be done to resist it.

Given the proliferating nature of creeping authoritarianism around the world, these efforts will help highlight Penn’s mission to explain more fully what political intimidation in the media – in documentary, journalism, entertainment and the digital environment – looks like worldwide. Additional information and registration details to come.

 


Center for Media at Risk

Towards a Free and Critical Media Environment

The Center for Media at Risk is devoted to fostering free and critical media practice and scholarship. Political intimidation threatens media practitioners worldwide, while disinformation campaigns destabilize public trust in an unprecedented fashion. The Center will provide a global hub for practical and scholarly strategizing in response to the threatening political conditions that currently undermine the global media environment. Understanding how media practitioners work under threatening political conditions—from explicit totalitarian regimes to circumstances of creeping authoritarianism—rests at the core of the university’s mission.

The Center for Media at Risk will provide the educational tools necessary for identifying the changing parameters of political intimidation across the global media landscape.

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Faculty Working Group – Paul Saint-Amour, University of Pennsylvania
Apr
27
8:45 AM08:45

Faculty Working Group – Paul Saint-Amour, University of Pennsylvania

Faculty Working Group – Breakfast Meeting

To Face the Fossil
Paul K. Saint-Amour, Walter H. and Leonore C. Professor in the Humanities, University of Pennsylvania

Dyce_Pegwell Bay 01.jpeg

Emmanuel Levinas, theorist of the face-to-face as the central ethical encounter, famously said “I don’t know if a snake has a face.” If not even a snake is possessed of ethical faciality, what about the fossil of a snake? Or the fossil of a trilobite? Yet as little as one might imagine being in a face-to-face ethical encounter with the permineralized remains of a millennia-dead member of an extinct species of Arthropod, such encounters have happened. This talk explores two such encounters in nineteenth-century Britain, one in a painting by a minor Pre-Raphaelite named William Dyce, the other in an early Thomas Hardy novel. How, I’ll ask, might fossils not only open a portal to deep time but also prompt, in the beholder, a profound ethical disorientation in the present?

 


Paul K. Saint-Amour is Walter H. and Leonore C. Professor in the Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches nineteenth- and twentieth-century British literature. He wrote The Copywrights: Intellectual Property and the Literary Imagination (2003), which won the MLA Prize for a First Book. He edited the collection Modernism and Copyright (2011) and co-edits, with Jessica Berman, the Modernist Latitudes series at Columbia University Press. His latest book, Tense Future: Modernism, Total War, Encyclopedic Form(2015), won the Modernist Studies Book Prize and the MLA’s Matei Calinescu Award. His teaching and scholarship are now taking up questions of conflict, temporality, and scale in the environmental humanities.

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River Research Seminar at Glen Foerd
Apr
27
12:00 PM12:00

River Research Seminar at Glen Foerd

Founded in April 2016, the Schuylkill River and Urban Waters Corps is an informal collective of academic, non-profit, civic and community organizations. Based in Philadelphia, we are devoted to exploring and stewarding urban waters past and present. The Corps is currently fostering collaborations in other cities in the U.S., including Mumbai and New York, and we are building a digital archive for our members' varied work: contributing, collecting, and curating oral histories; developing a variety of tours, both on-line and in-person; measuring air and water quality; and designing and building an array of citizen science and public humanities projects to discover and document the waters--and invite considerations of how they will exist in the future.

@SchuylkillCorps

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Eastwick Oral History Project Jukebox – Dedication and Reception
Feb
18
12:00 PM12:00

Eastwick Oral History Project Jukebox – Dedication and Reception

  • John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

The Eastwick Oral History Project documents the rich history and complex cultural life of Eastwick — a vibrant community in Southwest Philadelphia. The neighborhood’s history is marked by deep connections to the landscape and waterways, as well as experiences of displacement and environmental injustice. The Eastwick Oral History Project, operated by the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities, documents the legacies and changes of the neighborhood through interviews with lifelong residents, long-time residents, and others who are engaged in community advocacy around Eastwick's future.

As the project grows, please drop in to experience, listen, and appreciate the histories shared. For more information or to be interviewed for the project, please contact: director@ppehlab.org.

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After Matter: Rupture, Persistence, Survival Symposium
Feb
16
9:30 AM09:30

After Matter: Rupture, Persistence, Survival Symposium

  • Kislak Center, 6th floor, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

After Matter: Rupture, Persistence, Survival Symposium

This symposium explores the notion of afterlives, a term embodying interactions that trouble the neat linearity of past, present, and future. Afterlives speak to both continuities and discontinuities: legacies of the past and the anticipation of manifold futures in the constitution of the present. Examining afterlives through the themes of materiality, race, and colonial power, speakers will consider the potent vestiges of violence, toxicity, and waste in contemporary societies and environments and examine bodies as sites of decomposition, ancestral identity, and racial privilege. 

A program of the Wolf Humanities Center's 2017-18 Forum on Afterlives

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Schedule:

9:00-9:30a | Registration and Breakfast

9:30-9:45a | Opening Remarks

9:45-11:15a | Keynote 
Veena Das, Johns Hopkins University
(Respondent: Emily Wilson)

11:30a-1:00p | “Environmental Afterlives”

This panel will explore how environments register the legacies of power, violence, and toxicity. The panelists will explore the ways earlier power relations persist through infrastructure, spatial distribution, and the construction of distinct ideas about persistence, rupture, and time. The panelists will also consider the ways such material legacies have served as evidence of earlier inequalities.

Kate Brown, University of Maryland
Brahim El Guabli, Princeton University
Rahul Mukherjee, University of Pennsylvania
 

2:30-4:00p | "Embodied Afterlives”
After death, in life, and through metaphor, bodies evoke material relationships to intangible worlds. This panel follows bodies across multiple temporalities, including ancestral histories, lingering traumas, and genetic futures. It considers how certain bodies mark the limits of inclusion and the ways those exclusions overlap in complex ways with personhood. In doing so, panelists offer diverse case studies to explore the status of bodies as forms of truth-telling, environmental management, and social inquiry.

Zoe Crossland, Columbia University
Lyra Monteiro, Rutgers University
Ellen Stroud, Pennsylvania State University

4:15-5:15p | Open moderated discussion

5:15-6:30p | Reception


Cosponsored by the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities, the Departments of English; History; History and Sociology of Science; and the Programs in Comparative Literature & Literary Theory; Cinema and Media Studies.

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River Research Seminar: Paul M. Farber, Joanne Douglas, and Coryn Wolk
Feb
2
12:00 PM12:00

River Research Seminar: Paul M. Farber, Joanne Douglas, and Coryn Wolk

Schuylkill Corps River Research Seminar

  • Paul M. Farber, PhD, Managing Director, Penn Program in Environmental Humanities
  • Joanne Douglas, Schuylkill River & Urban Waters Research Corps Coordinator, Environmental Educator Glen Foerd on the Delaware
  • Coryn Wolk, Environmental Researcher/Writer, EDGE Philly and Physicians for Social Responsibility Philadelphia
     
Duane Linklater, In Perpetuity, Monument Lab 2017 (Steve Weinik/Mural Arts Philadelphia) 

Duane Linklater, In Perpetuity, Monument Lab 2017 (Steve Weinik/Mural Arts Philadelphia) 

Paul M. Farber, PhD, Managing Director, Penn Program in Environmental Humanities

"'As Long as the Creeks and Rivers Flow'": Monument Lab, Historical Memory, and Civic Landscapes in Philadelphia

What is an appropriate monument for the current city of Philadelphia?  To reflect on this line of inquiry, Monument Lab – a team of scholars, artists, students, and researchers – staged a two-month citywide exhibition in Philadelphia this fall with Mural Arts Philadelphia. Situated in the midst of a massive public reckoning with monuments sweeping the U.S., Monument Lab’s curatorial team sought to "change the ways we write the history of our city together." Over 200,000 Philadelphians and visitors engaged with the project at twenty prototype monuments imagined by leading contemporary artists; ten adjacent learning labs in public squares and neighborhood parks throughout the city; and interactions with students at the labs, including those whose participation as researchers were a part of a Fine Arts "civic studio" course at Penn which merged work at the labs with engaged humanities methods and public art practices.

In conversation with the Schuyllkill Corps research seminar, Monument Lab co-founder and PPEH Managing Director Paul Farber routes the exhibition's curatorial motivations and implications through the concept of  "river monumentality," revisiting the ways Philadelphia’s foundational historical identity is mapped, managed, and reflexively revisited over time around living memory at and of its waterways. In his talk, Farber will examine several prototype monuments from the recent exhibition (including those by artists Tania Bruguera, Duane Linklater, Michelle Angela Ortiz, Klip Collective, and RAIR – Recycled Artist in Residency) and highlight river-minded examples of the public research proposals, to explore how they each respond and extend the existing monumental landscapes of the city.

 


Joanne Douglas, Schuylkill River & Urban Waters Research Corps Coordinator, Environmental Educator Glen Foerd on the Delaware

Schuylkill Corps: Tools for Outreach, Collaboration and Power Shifting in Environmental Humanities
 
As Coordinator of the Schuylkill River & Urban Research Corps, Joanne has been working with the Corps to develop the River Archive, an interactive and growing public archive of citizen science and public humanities projects.  Joanne will demo the archive by highlighting current and upcoming tours, partnerships and collaborations in context with the Seminar.  The River Archive hopes to serve as a tool for interdisciplinary connection and Joanne’s talk hopes to explore how the archive and other methods can be used for institutions to reach outward to include and amplify community voices in research around the river.

 


Coryn Wolk, Environmental Researcher/Writer, EDGE Philly and Physicians for Social Responsibility Philadelphia

Legal Trespass: Exploring the PES Refinery from the Lower Schuylkill River

Despite the PES refinery's visibility from local bridges, streets, and flight paths, a variety of literal and figurative barriers prevent most Philadelphia residents from seeing and understanding its operations. The public waterways of the Lower Schuylkill River enable a nearly unparalleled access to the sights, sounds, and smells of the refinery and nearby infrastructure. EDGE Philly, Bartram's Garden, and Sierra Club have collaborated to present this infrastructure to residents through kayak tours. Coryn will discuss some content and observations from the tours, as well as PES and law enforcement's responses to this unpreventable, legal use of the River to access these sites.


Complimentary Lunch is Provided.

Founded in April 2016, the Schuylkill River and Urban Waters Corps is an informal collective of academic, non-profit, civic and community organizations. Based in Philadelphia, we are devoted to exploring and stewarding urban waters past and present. The Corps is currently fostering collaborations in other cities in the U.S., including Mumbai and New York, and we are building a digital archive for our members' varied work: contributing, collecting, and curating oral histories; developing a variety of tours, both on-line and in-person; measuring air and water quality; and designing and building an array of citizen science and public humanities projects to discover and document the waters--and invite considerations of how they will exist in the future.

@SchuylkillCorps

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PPEH Faculty Working Group – Lynne Farrington and Judith Tannenbaum, Whitman at 200
Feb
1
8:45 AM08:45

PPEH Faculty Working Group – Lynne Farrington and Judith Tannenbaum, Whitman at 200

Faculty Working Group – Breakfast Meeting

Lynne Farrington, Senior Curator, Special Collection
Kislak Center, University of Pennsylvania Libraries and Judith Tannenbaum, Independent Contemporary Art Curator


Whitman at 200: Art and Democracy and Nature

May 31, 2019 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Walt Whitman, who spent the last decades of his life in Camden, NJ, a short ferry ride from Philadelphia. Whitman at 200: Art and Democracy is being planned as an exploration of the relevance of the poet’s life and words for a contemporary audience through a region-wide program of cultural events. One vital component of Whitman’s writings, his poetics of nature, views man on a continuum with the natural world: both of it and able to appreciate it for itself and for its spiritual dimension. For Whitman, the “Nature-element” is essential to our Democracy and “really underlie[s] the whole politics, sanity, religion and art of the New World.”

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Lynne Farrington

Since 1995, Lynne Farrington has been a curator in Penn's Rare Book and Manuscript Library, now part of the Kislak Center, where she works closely with faculty, students, and other researchers, makes acquisitions, stewards donors, curates exhibitions, organizes symposia and conferences, develops projects, fields reference queries, and gives presentations on the collections to classes and other interested groups. 

Judith Tannenbaum

From 1986 to 2000, Judith Tannenbaum served as Curator, Associate Director, and Interim Director at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia. In 2000, she became the first Curator of Contemporary Art at the RISD Museum, Providence. Since returning to Philadelphia in 2013, she has used her broad knowledge of the visual arts, the performing arts, and interdisciplinary art forms to curate exhibitions and events at area institutions.

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PPEH Faculty Working Group: Ashley Dawson, Princeton Environmental Institute and Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY).
Jan
25
8:45 AM08:45

PPEH Faculty Working Group: Ashley Dawson, Princeton Environmental Institute and Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY).

Faculty Working Group – Breakfast Meeting

Energy Commons: Climate Protection and the Fight for Public Power
Ashley Dawson, Currie C. and Thomas A. Barron Visiting Professor in the Environment and the Humanities, Princeton Environmental Institute and and Professor of English at the Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY).

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, "Rural Lines – USA: The Story of the Rural Electrification Administration’s First Twenty-five Years, 1935-1960."

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, "Rural Lines – USA: The Story of the Rural Electrification Administration’s First Twenty-five Years, 1935-1960."

Most experts agree that the key to averting climate disaster is to make a swift transition to renewable energy. Yet, despite recent celebrations of the growth of solar and wind power, that shift is not happening at anything near the speed and scale necessary. Why is this and what can be done to speed the transition and ensure that it is a just one?


Ashley Dawson is the Currie C. and Thomas A. Barron Visiting Professor in the Environment and the Humanities at the Princeton Environmental Institute for 2017/18 and Professor of English at the Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY). He is the author of two recent books on topics relating to the environmental humanities: Extreme Cities: The Peril and Promise of Urban Life in the Age of Climate Change (Verso Books, 2017), and Extinction: A Radical History (O/R Press, 2016). Dawson recent completed work on a book entitled The Energy Commons: How to Fight Fossil Capitalism and Reclaim Public Power, and is currently writing about the experience and literature of planetary urbanization.

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Urban Life in the Era of Climate Change: Ashley Dawson and Daniel Aldana Cohen
Jan
24
5:00 PM17:00

Urban Life in the Era of Climate Change: Ashley Dawson and Daniel Aldana Cohen

Urban Life in the Era of Climate Change
Ashley Dawson
Currie C. and Thomas A. Barron Visiting Professor in the Environment and the Humanities, Princeton Environmental Institute and Professor of English at the Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY).

Daniel Aldana Cohen
Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania

Presented by the Wolf Humanities Center and Penn Program in Environmental Humanities

Ashley Dawson, author of Extinction: A Radical History, will speak about his newest book, Extreme Cities: The Peril and Promise of Urban Life in the Age of Climate Change. Penn Sociologist Daniel Aldana Cohen, director of the Superstorm Research Lab and co-host of the climate politics podcast Hot & Bothered, will provide a response and conduct a conversation with Dawson about the environmental impacts of urbanization and gentrification, the increasing menace of urban flooding, and the emerging urban movements fighting for better forms of city living.

Book signing to follow.

Cosponsored by Penn Sustainability.

Ashley Dawson is the Currie C. and Thomas A. Barron Visiting Professor in the Environment and the Humanities at the Princeton Environmental Institute for 2017/18 and Professor of English at the Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY). He is the author of two recent books on topics relating to the environmental humanities: Extreme Cities: The Peril and Promise of Urban Life in the Age of Climate Change (Verso Books, 2017), and Extinction: A Radical History (O/R Press, 2016). Dawson recent completed work on a book entitled The Energy Commons: How to Fight Fossil Capitalism and Reclaim Public Power, and is currently writing about the experience and literature of planetary urbanization.

In Extreme Cities, Ashley Dawson argues that the world’s cities are ground zero for climate change. They make the largest contribution of carbon to the atmosphere while being extremely vulnerable to rising sea levels. Most megacities are in coastal zones, yet few of them are adequately prepared for the floods that will increasingly menace their shores. Instead, they continue to develop luxury waterfront condos for the elite and industrial facilities for corporations. These not only increase carbon emissions, but will also place coastal residents at greater risk when water levels rise. Extreme Cities is a disturbing portrait of the future facing cities as varied as Jakarta, Delhi, Port-au-Prince, and São Paulo. Our best hope lies not with fortified sea walls, Dawson argues, but with urban movements already fighting to make our cities more just and equitable.

As Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, Daniel Aldana Cohen works on the poitics of climate change, inequalities of race and social class, and the political projects of both elites and social movements in urban spaces, with a focus on global cities of the North and South. Cohen is co-founder and co-principal investigator of the Superstorm Research Lab, a mutual aid research collective investigating changes in New York’s politics after Superstorm Sandy, and from 2015-17, he co-hosted Hot & Bothered, a podcast on climate politics hosted by Dissent magazine. 

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Christina Gerhardt – Climate Change, Climate Change Refugees and Public Art
Jan
22
5:00 PM17:00

Christina Gerhardt – Climate Change, Climate Change Refugees and Public Art

Climate Change, Climate Change Refugees and Public Art
Christina Gerhardt
Associate Professor, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Visiting Scholar 2017-2018 – UC Berkeley

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Christina Gerhardt is Visiting Scholar at the University of California at Berkeley and Associate Professor of Environmental Humanities, Film and German Studies at the University of Hawaii. She is the author of Atlas of (Remote) Islands and Sea Level Rise and the editor of Climate Change, Hawaii and the Pacific.  She is also an environmental journalist, covering the annual UN climate negotiations, renewable energy and related legislation and direct action. This writing has been published under "Tina Gerhardt" in venues such as ClimateProgress.org, grist.org, The Nation, The Progressive and the Washington Monthly.   She has been awarded grants from the Fulbright Commission, the DAAD and the NEH. She has held visiting appointments at Harvard University, the Free University Berlin and Columbia University and taught previously at the University of California at Berkeley.  Her writing has been published in the journals Capitalism, Nature and Socialism, Cineaste, Environmental Humanities, Film Criticism, Film Quarterly, German Studies Review, Humanities, Mosaic, New German Critique, Quarterly Review of Film and Video and Wide Screen and in the edited volumes Water: An Atlas; and My Ocean Guide. In "Let Them Drown," the 2016 London Edward W. Said lecture, Naomi Klein called attention, as Rob Nixon's Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor had done, to the nexus of climate change, (colonial) racism and poverty. But she shifted the spotlight onto the oft-overlooked low-lying island nations. And their current day situation is dire.  In "Climate Change, Climate Change Refugees and Public Art," Professor Christina Gerhardt presents how climate change has fueled social uprisings and makes life untenable in certain parts of the globe. It is one of the factors motivating migration, yet frameworks for acknowledging the existence of climate change refugees vary. Professor Gerhardt will discuss the status and upsides and downsides of the term. And she will frame and reframe perceptions of climate change impacts and their relationship to the ongoing refugee crisis. And she will discuss public art that brings attention to the nexus of sea level rise and climate change refugees.

Presented by the Department of Germanic Languages and Literature. Co-sponsored by the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities.

 

 

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PPEH Faculty Working Group and Fellows with Special Guest: Artist Eve Mosher
Nov
16
8:45 AM08:45

PPEH Faculty Working Group and Fellows with Special Guest: Artist Eve Mosher

  • Van Pelt Library – Weigle Room 402 (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

PPEH Faculty Working Group with Special Guest: Artist Eve Mosher

Eve Mosher, "HighWaterLine near Brooklyn Bridge," HighWaterLine

Eve Mosher, "HighWaterLine near Brooklyn Bridge," HighWaterLine

Please join us in welcoming artist Eve Mosher, who will discuss her recent projects including Works on Water and Liquid City. Mosher will also share perspectives on her art practice more broadly and how she responds and reacts to, as well as cultivates, environmental change. 

 

About Eve Mosher

Eve Mosher is an artist, interventionist and playworker-in-training, living and working in New York City. Her works use investigations of the landscape as starting points for audience exploration of urban issues. Her public works raise issues on the environment, public/private space use, history of place, cultural and social issues and our understanding of the urban ecosystem. Her work has been profiled in international media including the The New Yorker, New York Times, ARTnews, American Scientist, L’uomo Vogue, and Le Monde. Her public and community artworks have received grants from New York State Council on the Arts and New York Department of Cultural Affairs, both through the Brooklyn Arts Council, and The City Parks Foundation. Collaborative works with Heidi Quante (Creative Catalysts) have received support from The Kresge Foundation, The Compton Foundation, The Whitman Foundation, and Invoking the Pause. She has a serious interest in urban ecologies and sustainable development.

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Film Screening: Oil & Water
Oct
10
7:00 PM19:00

Film Screening: Oil & Water

  • Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts – Bruce Montgomery Theatre (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

One was born there. One was drawn there. The Amazon needs them both. For 20 years, oil companies dumped 18 billion gallons of toxic waste in Ecuador’s rainforest. Oil & Water portrays this environmental disaster from the unique perspectives of young people at both ends of the spectrum - Hugo Lucitante fights for the survival of his Amazonian tribe, while David Poritz, from Amherst, MA, attempts to revolutionize the oil industry with a fair trade certification system. Oil & Water is a sobering look at the enormous pressures David and Hugo face, while also demonstrating how two determined people can make an impact in the world.

The Annenberg Center will host screen the documentary film, Oil & Water followed by a post-screening discussion with filmmaker, Francine Strickwerda.

For tickets and more information, visit the Annenberg Center's website for Oil & Water.

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Documenting Nuclear Afterlives: A conversation with three film directors
Oct
4
7:00 PM19:00

Documenting Nuclear Afterlives: A conversation with three film directors

Cosponsored by the Wolf Humanities Center, the Cinema and Media Studies Program, the South Asia Center, and the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities.

Join us for extended excerpts, chosen by the directors themselves, from these recent documentaries about people living in unwanted intimacy with nuclear reactors and radiation in different parts of the world. Some of these reactors, like the one in Fukushima have witnessed an absolute nuclear fallout while the power plant in Three Mile Island experienced a partial meltdown. Communities in the tsunami affected coastline of Southern India are protesting the construction of Russian technology based atomic power plants because they anticipate Fukushima, they speculate an about-to-come Chernobyl.

After the screening, the directors will discuss their work and the troubled histories and afterlives of nuclear power plants with professors Siyen Fei (Penn History), Rahul Mukherjee (Penn Cinema and Media),and Noriko Manabe (Temple Music).

Furusato (dir. Thorsten Trimpop, 2016)
A teen rocker, a media-savvy activist, a conflicted TEPCO engineer, and a female horse breeder cope with the loss of their homes and the unseen danger of radiation in Fukushima’s exclusion zone.

Nuclear Hallucinations (dir. Fathima Nizaruddin, 2016)
Satirical impersonations, performance and ironic renderings of jingoistic rhetoric work together to form a narrative that explores the tragic absurdity of constructing nuclear power plants in Koodankulam, a place on a tsunami affected coast of South India.

SAFSTOR (dir. Adam Diller, 2016)
This experimental ethnographic short film contrasts the physical presence of the Three Mile Island power plant with the memories of local residents of the partial meltdown in 1979.

Free and open to the public. Pre-registration requested.

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A Period of Animate Existence
Sep
22
8:00 PM20:00

A Period of Animate Existence

  • Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts – Zellerbach Theatre (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Children, elders, and machines contemplate the future in a time of dire predictions and rapid technological change in this work of symphonic theater conceived by composer/filmmaker Troy Herion, scenic designer Mimi Lien, and director Dan Rothenberg.

How do we contemplate the future in such a perilous time, an era called the “Sixth Extinction,” when up to 50 percent of all living species might die off? An inspired, large-scale melding of music, design, and theater, A Period of Animate Existence investigates the intense, unnamable emotions that arise in a time of extinction.

Pig Iron brings together three generations of choirs, a chamber orchestra, and physical actors in an epic synthesis of original music and theater, played out over five movements. The company’s largest production to date features more than 80 performers including The Crossing, Contemporaneous, and members of the Philadelphia Boys Choir & Chorale and Philadelphia Girls Choir, and Philomusica. 

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PennDesign Lecture: Timothy Morton
Sep
18
6:30 PM18:30

PennDesign Lecture: Timothy Morton

Timothy Morton is Rita Shea Guffey Chair in English at Rice University. He gave the Wellek Lectures in Theory in 2014 and has collaborated with Björk, Olafur Eliasson, Haim Steinbach and Pharrell Williams. He is the author of Dark Ecology: For a Logic of Future Coexistence(Columbia, 2016), Nothing: Three Inquiries in Buddhism (Chicago, 2015), Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World(Minnesota, 2013), Realist Magic: Objects, Ontology, Causality (Open Humanities, 2013), The Ecological Thought (Harvard, 2010), Ecology without Nature (Harvard, 2007), eight other books and 180 essays on philosophy, ecology, literature, music, art, architecture, design and food. Blog: http://www.ecologywithoutnature.blogspot.com. Twitter: @the_eco_thought

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Sep
7
8:45 AM08:45

PPEH Faculty Working Group (Weigle Seminar Room Van Pelt Library)

For this first meeting in 2017-18 of the FWG, we want to hear about as many of the EH courses our members teach as possible. If you like, make a slide for a brief presentation to the group. (If you'd like that visual included on the PPEH website, send it to director@ppehlab.org.) If you prefer to present without a slide, that's ok too; just send us a note. 

This meeting, like all meetings of the FWG, is open to Penn faculty and invited regional faculty. Let us know at director@ppehlab.org if you'd like an invite!

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