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Talk#10: “Transformative Research for Perilous Times:Perspectives from the Environmental Humanities”

Friday, 27 May 2022, 5-6 PM JST

Speaker: Kate Rigby (Professor, Environmental Humanities, University of Cologne)


This lecture provides a brief introduction to the environmental humanities as a multi-, inter- and transdisciplinary research field as it has emerged and developed over the past two decades. It then focuses in on the question as to what might be considered to constitute ‘transformative research’ in this field: transformative, that is, with respect to both the conventional methods and questions of discrete disciplines in the humanities, and to potential research impacts beyond academia. Particular attention will be given to the three broad areas of enquiry that will lie at the centre of the work of the newly created research hub for Multidisciplinary Environmental Studies in the Humanities at the University of Cologne over the coming years: ‘decolonial cultural ecologies’; ‘multispecies conviviality’; and ‘disaster preparedness’.



Professor Dr. Kate Rigby (Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities) is Alexander von Humboldt Professor of Environmental Humanities at the University of Cologne and Adjunct Professor of Literary Studies at Monash University (Melbourne). Her research lies at the intersection of environmental literary, philosophical, historical and religious studies, with a specialist interest in European Romanticism, ecopoetics, and eco-catastrophe. A founding co-editor of the journal Philosophy Activism Nature, she is co-editor of the University Press of Virginia series, Under the Sign of Nature, and her books include Topographies of the Sacred: The Poetics of Place in European Romanticism (2004), Dancing with Disaster: Environmental Histories, Narratives, and Ethics for Perilous Times (2015) and Reclaiming Romanticism: Towards an Ecopoetics of Decolonization (2020). A key researcher with the Humanities for the Environment Mellon Australia-Pacific Observatory, she was the inaugural President of the Association for the Study of Literature, Environment and Culture (Australia-New Zealand), and the founding Director of the Australia-Pacific Forum on Religion and Ecology.

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