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  • Environmental Arts and Humanities Graduate Conference

     Program  and  Abstracts  


    May  1,  2015  Asian/Pacific-‐American  Room  

    Memorial  Union  206  Oregon  State  University  




    OSU  Environmental  Arts  and  Humanities  Initiative    Horning  Endowment  in  the  Humanities  

    Spring  Creek  Project    OSU  School  of  History,  Philosophy,  and  Religion  

    OSU  College  of  Liberal  Arts      

    Distinguished  speakers:    

    Catherine  McNeur    (Assistant  Professor  of  History,  Portland  State  University)    

    Eugene  Hargrove    (Professor  of  Philosophy,  University  of  North  Texas)    

     Art  on  display  by  these  graduate  students:  

     Elizabeth  Garton  (Oregon  State  University)  

    Jamie  Mosel  (Oregon  State  University)          

    Abstracts  for  all  graduate  student  presentations  at  the  end  of  this  program      

  • Morning schedule    8am:  Coffee/morning  snacks    Session  1  (830am-‐945am)    Leslie  Ryan  (Oregon  State  University,  Forestry)    

    “Performing  Agriculture:  The  ‘Survival  Pieces’  of  Eco-‐Artists  Helen  and  Newton  Harrison”  Steven  Leone  (University  of  Oregon,  History)    

    “Despair,  Defiance,  and  Deliverance:  Nature  and  Survivor  Memory  within  Germany’s  World  War  II  Concentration  Camps”  

    Rachel  Rochester  (University  of  Oregon,  English)    “The  Animal,  The  Subaltern,  and  a  More  Inclusive  Politics  of  Agency  in  The  Hungry  Tide."  

    Elizabeth  Garton  (Oregon  State  University)  “Science  Through  the  Lens  of  Art”  

       10am:  Coffee  break    Session  2  (1015am-‐1145am)    Barbara  Canavan  (Oregon  State  University,  History  of  Science)    

    “Opening  Pandora’s  Box  at  the  Roof  of  the  World”  M  Jackson  (University  of  Oregon,  Geography)    

    “Representing  Glaciers  in  Modern  Icelandic  Art:  A  Spatial  Shift”  Shane  Hall  (University  of  Oregon,  English)  

    “Environmental  Military  Violence  in  Hector  Tobar's  The  Tattooed  Soldier”  Sean  Munger  (University  of  Oregon,  History)  

    “The  Weather  Watchers:  Amateur  Climatologists  and  Environmental  Consciousness,  1810-‐1820”  

     12pm:  Lunch  (catered  for  conference  presenters)                

  • Afternoon schedule    1230:  Lunchtime  address      Eugene  Hargrove  (University  of  North  Texas)  

    “Environmental  Philosophy  and  the  Culture  War”    Session  3  (130pm-‐245pm)    Jamie  Mosel  (Oregon  State  University,  Art)  

    “The  Problem  with  ‘Nature’:  A  Discussion  of  Dichotomous  Perceptions  and  Expressions  of  Life  and  the  Earth”  

    April  Anson  (University  of  Oregon,  English)  “How  We  Fail:  Solar,  On  The  Turtle’s  Back  and  Survivance  Ecology  in  CliFi  Form”  

    Jesse  Engebretson  (Oregon  State  University,  Forestry)  “‘Solitude  or  a  primitive  and  unconfined  type  of  recreation’:  The  Wilderness  Society’s  discursive  construction  of  authentic  wilderness  experiences”  

    David-‐Paul  B.  Hedberg  (Portland  State  University,  History)  “‘Because  that  is  how  white  people  legitimize  conservation’:  Wilson  Charley’s  Leadership  and  Yakama  Resource  Conservation  on  the  Postwar  Columbia  River”  

     3pm:  Coffee  break    Session  4  (315pm-‐445pm)    Joshua  McGuffie  (Oregon  State  University,  History  of  Science)  

    “No  Significant  Risk:  Creating  the  Norms  for  Public  Irradiation  at  Hanford”  Taylor  McHolm  (University  of  Oregon,  English)  

    “‘It’s  there.  Think  about  that.’:  Warren  Cariou's  Representational  Challenges”  Ross  Coen  (University  of  Washington,  History)  

    “Fresh  from  the  Can:  Salmon,  Pure  Food  Laws,  and  Perceptions  of  Nature  in  the  Early  20th-‐Century  Pacific  Northwest  Fishing  Industry”  

    Tim  Christion  Myers  (University  of  Oregon,  Philosophy)  “Towards  an  Existentialist  Climate  Ethics:  The  Task  of  Confronting  Climate  Anxiety”  

     5pm:  Keynote  address    Catherine  McNeur  (Portland  State  University)     “Corrupt  Food  and  Corrupt  Politics  in  Antebellum  Manhattan”      

  • Titles and Abstracts of Graduate Student Presentations (alphabetical by presenter)  Anson,  April  (University  of  Oregon)    How  We  Fail:  Solar,  On  The  Turtle’s  Back  and  Survivance  Ecology  in  CliFi  Form    In   a   moment   marked   by   consumption   without   consequence   –   reliance   on   seemingly  invisible  forms  of  energy  and  intentionally  obscured  forms  of  violence  –  the  climate  crisis  has   elicited   calls   for   Climate   Fiction   (CliFi)   to   cultivate   an   environmentally   responsive  readership.  However,   theoretical   and   formal   foundations   for   conceiving   of   such   a   genre  have   tended   to   rely   on  Western   epistemological   structures,   ways   of   knowing   resonant  with  the  consumptive  narrative  of  progress  and  infinite  growth  central  to  scientific  racism  and  US  nationalism,  and  productive  of  ongoing  cultural  and  environmental  devastation.      Contrasting  Ian  McEwan’s  CliFi  novel  Solar  with  Thomas  King’s  On  The  Turtle’s  Back,  this  project   reads   both   novels   as   offering   an   important   investigation   into   how   a   narrative’s  regard  for  failure  can  work  to  mobilize  or  pacify  imagination.  Building  on  theorizations  of  environmentally  and  politically  potent  forms,  this  essay  compare  Solar’s  failures  to  On  The  Turtle’s  Back  for  how  they  suggest  a  mode  of  “survivance  ecology”  that  can  inform  CliFi’s  genre  considerations.  As  a   lens,  survivance  ecology  makes  clear   that   if   climate  change   is  certain  to  defy  our  expectations,  climate  fiction  must  privilege  ethical  imagination  as  well  as   the   possibility   of   adaptation   and   survival   in   the   face   of   such   overwhelming   and  unsettling   failure.   Locating   these   novel’s   most   provocative   “failures,”   the   presentation  turns  to  Greg  Johnson’s  IPCC  Haiku  and  Warren  Cariou’s  “Tarhands:  A  Messy  Manifesto”  to  investigate  how  survivance  ecology  may  be  a  useful   lens  for  considerations  of  genre  and  form  in  climate  change  fiction.    Canavan,  Barbara  (Oregon  State  University)    

      Opening  Pandora’s  Box  at  the  Roof  of  the  World       The   Qinghai-‐Tibet   Plateau,   known   as   the  Roof   of   the  World,   is   at   the   center   of   complex  

    changes   that   coincide  with  human  exploitation  and  rapid  environmental   shifts.  The  vast  Plateau  is  the  one  constant  among  mutable  actors  in  this  case  study:  a  new  high-‐altitude  train  that  rushes  across  the  remote  landscape,  an  immense  saltwater  lake,  a  goose,  and  a  virus.     The   case   study   provides   a   glimpse   into   remarkable   science   undertaken   at   the  intersection   of   diverse   disciplines:   historical   ecology,   climate   science,   high   altitude  medicine,  wildlife  biology,   remote  sensing   technology,  bioscience,  and  global  health.  The  purpose  of  this  presentation  to   is  to  challenge  the  audience  to  consider  how  the  Qinghai  case  illuminates  the  cumulative  effects  and  unintended  consequences  of  our  most  pressing  environmental  and  global  health  dilemmas.            

  • Christion  Myers,  Tim  (University  of  Oregon)    Towards  an  Existentialist  Climate  Ethics:  The  Task  of  Confronting  Climate  Anxiety      Climate  change  cannot  be  managed  by  experts  and  politicians  alone.  Consequently,  climate  ethics   must   take   up   the   challenge   of   inviting   public   responsibility   on   this   issue.   New  sociological   research   on   climate   denial   by   Kari   Norgaard,   however,   suggests   that   most  citizens  of  industrialized  countries  are  ill-‐prepared  to  cope  with  the  ethical  significance  of  climate  change.  I  draw  upon  Martin  Heidegger  to  offer  a  new  reading  of  climate  denial  that  suggests  viable  responses  to  this  problem.  I  argue  that  the  implications  of  climate  change  are  largely  received  as  an  “existential  threat”  to  the  extent  that  they  endanger  the  integrity  of  everyday  existence.  In  other  words,  the  implications  of  climate  change  for  everyday  life  unsettle  what  phenomenologists  call   the  “lifeworld.”  Should  basic   lifeworld  assumptions,  which  cultures  rely  on  to  makes  sense  of  the  world  and  their  purposes  in  it,  come  under  serious   question,   anxieties   surface   that  most   people   are   profoundly  motivated   to   avoid.  Hence,   the   ethical   obligations   entailed   by   climate   change   are   “denied”   in   the   form   of  protecting   lifeworld   integrity   for   the   sake   of   containing   anxieties   that  would   otherwise  overwhelm   people.   Finally,   I   submit   that   existential   approaches   to   climate   denial   can  empower  a  confrontation  with  “climate  anxiety”  in  ways  that  open  up  ethical  reflection.    Coen,  Ross  (University  of  Washington)    Fresh  from  the  Can:  Salmon,  Pure  Food  Laws,  and  Perceptions  of  Nature  in  the  Early  20th-‐Century  Pacific  Northwest  Fishing  Industry      Histories   of   the   early   20th-‐century   Pacific   Northwest   salmon   canning   industry   have  shown   how   technological   innovation,   low-‐cost   immigrant   labor,   and   lax   government  regulation   led   to   record   fish   harvests   and   threatened   the   health   of   salmon   runs   from  Oregon   to  Alaska.   Few,  however,   focus  on   the   salmon   itself   actually   inside   the   can.  This  presentation   looks  beyond  the  four  walls  of   the  cannery  and  examines  how  the   industry  perceived  salmon,  first  as  a  living  creature  in  the  ocean  and  then  as  a  commercial  product  whose  quality,   taste,   and   appearance  on   the   consumer’s  dinner   table  became  a  priority.  The  passage  of  pure  food  laws  beginning  in  1906  presented  the  canned  salmon  industry  with   an   opportunity—one   it   embraced,   as   opposed   to   other   food   manufacturers   who  resisted   government   intrusion—to   market   its   product   as   sanitary,   wholesome,   natural,  and  even   fresh.   In   this  way   the  packers  downplayed   the   industrial  processes  behind   the  food’s   production   and   instead   attempted   to   instill   in   their   customers   a   vision   of  unadulterated  nature.                  

  • Engebretson,  Jesse  (Oregon  State  University)    “Solitude   or   a   primitive   and   unconfined   type   of   recreation”:   The   Wilderness   Society’s  discursive  construction  of  authentic  wilderness  experiences      Since  1935,  the  Wilderness  Society  has  represented  the  wilderness  experience  in  written  and  visual  text   in   its  periodicals,  The  Living  Wilderness  and  Wilderness.  These  periodicals  included   news   about   wilderness,   editorials   from   both   pro-‐   and   anti-‐wilderness  stakeholders,   images   of   wild   places,   and   other   relevant   content   for   the   wilderness  community.     The   genre   of   place-‐based  wilderness   narratives  was   prominently   featured,  especially  when  Howard   Zahniser  was   the   editor-‐in-‐chief   from  1945   until   1964.     These  narratives   consisted   of   personal   stories   of   wilderness   expeditions   and   drawn   and  photographic   images   of   wild   places.   Through   these   narratives,   the   Wilderness   Society  represented   particular   forms   of   the   human   wilderness   experience   and   recreation   as  authentic.   Given   the   social   capital   of   the   organization,   these   representations   became  understood  as   legitimate   forms  of  wilderness  recreation   in  popular  culture.  Given   this,   I  intend   to   use   a   textual   analysis   approach   to   investigate   the   unique   and   overlapping  themes,  terms,  and  discourses  that  came  to  dominate  place-‐based  wilderness  narratives  in  the   periodicals   during   the   inter-‐war,   post-‐war,   and   post-‐Wilderness   Act   (1964)   time  periods.   This   will   be   done   to   understand   how   the   Wilderness   Society   discursively  constructed   authentic   and   inauthentic   schemas   of  wilderness   recreation   that   influenced  the   legal   language   of   the   Wilderness   Act   and   thus   the   contemporary   management   of  wilderness  areas.            Garton,  Elizabeth  (Oregon  State  University)    Science  Through  the  Lens  of  Art    There   is   a   challenge   in   finding   a   way   to   present   information   that   reaches   the   general  public,   specifically   for   the   scientific   community   it   is   a   daunting   problem.   Researchers  perform  experiments  and  studies  but  once   they  culminate   their  results,   traditionally   the  means  of  sharing  their  acquired  knowledge  is  to  publish  the  data  in  journals.  This  causes  a  disconnect   with   the   public   at   large   since   the   majority   of   the   journals   target   a   specific  audience,   usually   assuming   a   basic   knowledge   in   the   field.   The   scientific   information   is  relatively  inaccessible  to  the  general  public,  which  is  a  problem  given  many  of  the  global  issues   facing   society.   This   is   one   of   the   problems   that   I   addressed   by   creating   an  art  exhibition  that  presented  soil  science  information  in  the  form  of  artwork.                        

  • Hall,  Shane  (University  of  Oregon)    "Environmental  Military  Violence  in  Hector  Tobar's  _The  Tattooed  Soldier_"    Environmental   literary   studies   have   infrequently   and   inadequately   addressed   the   links  between   armed   conflict   and   environmental   inequality   formation.    Military   conflict   has  always   incorporated   environmental   violence   (both   as   violence   conducted   against   non-‐human  environmental   features  and  aspects  of   the  environment  used  as  weapons  against  humans)  yet  the  twentieth  and  nascent  twenty-‐first  centuries  have  seen  the  proliferation  of  new  forms  of  environmental  military  violence  which  correspond  to  and  participate   in  the   intensification   of   environmental   racism   and   despoiling   of   the   world’s   ecosystems  following  World  War   II.    I   argue   that   a   literature   of   environmental   justice   is   incomplete  without   stronger   theoretical   engagements   with   militarism’s   role   in   creating   and  maintaining  environmental  inequalities.  Militaries  target  environments  in  order  to  target  human   bodies   and   psyches,   and   thus   war   by   definition   is   the   business   of   creating   or  maintaining  inequalities.  While  the  spectacular,  explosive  violence  of  war  often  obscures  long-‐lasting   effects   of   military   violence   or   the   creation   of   environmental   inequalities,   I  argue   that   novelistic   depictions   of   war   explore   the   subterranean   psychological   and  material  effects  of  environmental  military  violence.   I  offer  here  an  environmental   justice  reading  of  Hector  Tobar’s  The  Tattooed  Soldier  as  a  means  of  exploring  the  ways  in  which  spectacular  military  violence  and  attritional  violence  work  in  tandem  to  secure  the  lasting,  deleterious  effects  of  industrialized  racism  in  Guatemala  and  the  United  States.      Hedberg,  David-‐Paul  B.  (Portland  State  University)    “Because  that  is  how  white  people  legitimize  conservation”:  Wilson  Charley’s  Leadership  and  Yakama  Resource  Conservation  on  the  Postwar  Columbia  River    While  many  Native  Americans  protested  construction  of  The  Dalles  Dam  throughout   the  1940s   and  1950s,   this   paper   focuses   on  Wilson  Charley,   a  Mid-‐Columbia   fisherman  and  member   of   the  Yakama  Tribal   Council.   Using   new   sources   located   in   the   James   J.   James  papers  at  the  University  of  Oregon,  I  present  an  untold  story  that  highlights  this  important  twentieth-‐century   Indian   leader.   I   argue   Charley’s   activism   was   a   calculated   move   to  frame   tribal   resource   management   as   a   form   of   conservation.   To   do   this,   he   used   his  friendships  and  cross-‐cultural  partnerships  to  overcome  racial  and  bureaucratic  barriers  that  confined  his  tribal  leadership.  Originating  with  him  and  working  via  a  broad  coalition  of   conservationists   and  preservationists,   Charley   aimed   to   stop  The  Dalles  Dam  project.  More   importantly,   tactfully   embedded   this   broad   conservation   campaign,   he   sought   to  assert   tribal   control   of   Mid-‐Columbia   fisheries   and   archaeological   sites.   His   innovative  strategies  articulated  adaptive  tribal  resource  policies  that  embraced  traditional  elements  while   also   incorporating  new   technologies.  After   completion  of  The  Dalles  dam,  Charley  continued   to   play   an   important   leadership   role   in   redefining   treaty  protections.  He  was  foundational  in  the  development  of  contemporary  tribal  resource  protection  programs  we  see  today.  As  a  Native  American  leader,  he  not  only  commanded  an  impressive  knowledge  of   federal  policy  and   tribal   resources,  but  also  was  an   important   figure   in   the  history  of  conservation  movements  in  the  West.  

  •    Jackson,  M  (University  of  Oregon)    Representing  Glaciers  in  Modern  Icelandic  Art:  A  Spatial  Shift    Glaciers  are  disappearing  in  Iceland.  Glaciology  models  predict  Icelandic  glaciers  will  lose  25-‐35  percent  of  present  volume  over  the  next  fifty  years.  It   is   increasingly  important  to  understand   how   such   changes   to   a   landscape   are   culturally   processed.   Building   from  cultural  climatology,  this  paper  examines  historic  trends  in  artistic  glacier  representation,  emphasizing  the  spatial  characteristics  of  European  and  Icelandic  landscape  artworks  by  artists   including   J.M.W.   Turner,   John   Brett,   Thomas   Fearnley,   Þórarinn   Þorláksson,   Jón  Stefánsson,   and   Ásgrímur   Jónsson.   In   modern   art,   this   paper   focuses   on   three   artists  engaging  with  Iceland’s  glaciers,  Bjargey  Ólafsdóttir,  Roni  Horn,  and  Ragna  Róbertsdóttir,  and  examines  their  unique  spatial  treatment  of  glaciers.  In  conclusion,  this  paper  discusses  the   implications   of   the   spatial   shift   in   representation,   analyzing   different   potential  influences  and  their  impact  on  the  dialectic  between  glaciers  and  people.      Leone,  Steven  (University  of  Oregon)    “Despair,   Defiance,   and   Deliverance:   Nature   and   Survivor   Memory   within   Germany’s  World  War  II  Concentration  Camps”.        “Despair,   Defiance,   and   Deliverance”   explores   the  ways   that   natural  world   affected   the  lives  of  prisoners  within  the  Nazi  concentration  camp  system.  More  specifically,  the  paper  puts   forward   two   interconnected   arguments.   First,   nature   mattered   to   the   inmates   of  concentration  camp  spaces.  Second,  the  natural  world  took  on  three  distinct  forms  in  the  minds  of  concentration  camp  survivors:  one,  it  was  a  psychological  weapon  for  the  Nazis,  two,   nature   was   also   a   mode   of   resistance   for   the   prisoners,   and   three,   the   natural  environment   instilled   a   sense   of   promise   and   encouragement   for   the   women   and   men  caught  up  in  brutality  of  Germany’s  concentration  camps.      McGuffie,  Joshua  (Oregon  State  University)    “No  Significant  Risk:  Creating  the  Norms  for  Public  Irradiation  at  Hanford”    On   the   evening   of   2   December   1949,   scientists   at   the   Hanford   Engineer   Works  intentionally  released  significant  amounts  of  radioactive  iodine  and  xenon  in  an  event  now  called  the  ‘Green  Run.’  Radioactive  plumes  belched  out  of  the  stacks  of  the  T  plant,  soaring  aloft   over   towns   and   farmland   in   south-‐central   Washington   State.   These   plumes   were  meant   to   safely   dissipate   in   the   atmosphere,   allowing   scientists   from   the  Air   Force   and  from  Hanford’s  Health  Instrument  Divisions  (HID)  to  trace  their  behavior.  But  in  the  midst  of   the  night,   the  weather   turned   foul.  Radioiodine  coated   the   landscape,   covering   forage  and   cropland   around   the   Engineer   Works.   It   entered   the   food   chain,   especially  

  • contaminating   regionally   produced   milk.   From   a   safety   standpoint,   the   release   was   an  unmitigated  failure.      In   order   to  downplay   this   failure,   the  HID   scientists   argued   that   the   release  had  been   a  success   because   the   radiation   had   been   thoroughly   monitored.   They   used   narrative,  mapping,   and   data   collection   to   reframe   the   terrain   at   and   around   Hanford   as   they  reported  on  the  release.  They  described  the  topography  and  biota  in  terms  of  their  ability  to  handle  the  radioactive  burden.  They  covered  the  area’s  patchwork  of  farms  and  towns  with   isolines  showing  contamination.  They   turned   landmarks   into  data  points.  Doing  so,  they   made   the   region   a   great   outdoor   laboratory   with   living   subjects   in   which   they  asserted   the   illusions   of   control   and   safety.   These   illusions   assuaged   the   scientists’  concerns  about   irradiating  the   land  and   local  populace  –  who  did  not   learn  of   the  Green  Run  until  the  mid-‐1980s.  Monitoring  allowed  the  scientists  to  keep  locals  in  the  dark,  since  they  could  judge  the  risk  from  the  Green  Run  insignificant.  This  project  examines  how  the  release   was   used   to   establish   norms   that   allowed   well-‐documented   radioactive  irresponsibility  to  become  standard  operating  procedure  at  Hanford  for  the  duration  of  its  plutonium  production  mission.      McHolm,  Taylor  (University  of  Oregon)    “'All  Kinds  of  Everything’:  Warren  Cariou’s  Multiple  Challenges  to  Legitimacy”    Through   a   use   of   numerous   genres   and   forms,   Warren   Cariou’s   “Tarhands:   A   Messy  Manifesto”  challenges  the   legitimacy  of  the  tar  sands  development  process  by  disrupting  conventions   and   sensual   perception.   Since   the   processes   and   effects   of   petroleum   are  omnipresent,  finding  their  way  into  facet  of  life  and  every  form  of  representation,  Cariou’s  deployment  of  multiple  genres  in  a  single  text  functions  as  an  attempt  to  draw  attention  to  this   ubiquitous   imperception   and   confound   it.   What’s   more,   Cariou’s   work   is   also   a  performance  of  Métis   identity,  a   category   that  has  historically  and  continually  disrupted  singular  representations  and  understandings  both  in  conversations  within  the  community  and  its  interactions  with  the  State.  In  this  paper,  I  explain  these  formal  disruptions  as  what  Mike  Davidson  and  Debra  Gismondi  refer  to  as  a    “challenge  to  the   legitimacy”  of   the  tar  sands  process.  I  end  by  moving  towards  the  implications  of  Cariou’s  performance  of  Métis  identity,   the   polysemy  of  which   challenges   the   State’s   legitimacy   as   an   arbiter   of   native  identity.   “Tarhands:   A  Messy  Manifesto”   challenges   and   disrupts   singular   and   dominant  versions   of   understanding   and   representation,   ultimately   demonstrating   the  interconnectedness   of   Indigenous   claims,   settler-‐colonialism,   racial   projects,   national  energy  projects  and  environmental  representation.          

  • Mosel,  Jamie  (Oregon  State  University)    The  Problem  with  “Nature”:  A  Discussion  of  Dichotomous  Perceptions  and  Expressions  of  Life  and  the  Earth      The  word  “nature”  is  problematic.  It  is  a  concept  only.  An  idealization.  A  misconception.  A  misleading  fantasy.  Yet  it  is  ubiquitous.  And  it  is  dangerous,  because  we  have  been  given  no  place  in  it,  though  we  are  given  the  word  from  an  early  age.  “Nature”  is  defined  as  “the  phenomena  of  the  physical  world  collectively,  including  plants,  animals,  the  landscape,  and  other   features   and   products   of   the   earth,   as   opposed   to   humans   or   human   creations.”  (Oxford  American  Dictionary)  By  using  such  a  word  as  nature,  we  very  often,  and  usually  unintentionally  and  subconsciously,  draw  two  worlds:  the  non-‐human,  and  the  human.  In  common   usage,   we   consider   humans   not   only   to   be   separate   from   this   thing   called  “nature”,   but   when   they   become   tangled   up   with   some   part   of   “nature”,   it   frequently  ceases  to  be  “nature.”  On  a  simple  level  a  hiker  is  likely  to  say  that  here  is  a  corn  field,  but  over   there,   there   is   a   prairie,   there   is   nature.   Worse   yet,   our   presence   seems   even   to  pollute   this   pure   construct   called   “nature,”  wherever   it  may   be   and  whatever   it   is.   It   is  important,   as   humans,   as   environmentalists,   as   members   of   a   biotic   community,   to  understand   the   way  we   perceive   the   world   we   are   a   part   of,   and   how  we   express   our  relationship  with  the  earth.  Expression  takes  many  forms,  language  being  one  such  form.  Therefore,  it  is  imperative  that  we  understand  precisely  what  we  mean  when  we  use  such  words   as   “nature”,   which   are   often   infused  with  meaning   and   background  we  may   not  intend,   may   not   realize,   may   encapsulate   and   disperse   damaging   mentalities,   and   may  even  undermine  our  ecological  goals.  As  such,  a  discussion  of  the  concept  of  “nature”,  and  its  potentially  dangerous  undertones,  is  increasingly  necessary.        Munger,  Sean  (University  of  Oregon)    The  Weather  Watchers:  Amateur  Climatologists  and  Environmental  Consciousness,  1810-‐1820    In  the  English-‐speaking  world  in  early  19th  century,  important  beginnings  of  meteorology  lay   in   the   hands   of  what  might   be   called   “weather  watchers”   such   as  Thomas   Jefferson,  George  Mackenzie  and  Luke  Howard  who  kept  long-‐term  detailed  records  of  weather  data.  In  the  decade  1810-‐1820,  the  weather  watchers  discovered  climate  in  the  course  of  their  search  for  patterns  in  weather  data  from  which  they  hoped  to  fashion  predictive  rules  of  weather   behavior.   The   same   decade   saw   an   unusual   temporary   global   climate   change,  driven   largely  by  a   series  of  volcanic  eruptions,   resulting   in   repeated  hard  winters,   cool  summers   and   bizarre   weather   anomalies.   The   desire   to   understand   the   unusual  phenomenon  of  the  “Cold  Decade”  was  a  significant  motivation  for  the  weather  watchers  in  their  search  for  predictive  climate  patterns.  Although  their  predictive  systems  were  not  very   useful   in   and   of   themselves,   the   search   for   climate   patterns   helped   the   science   of  meteorology  take  hold  in  popular  consciousness  and  the  wider  transatlantic  conversation  of   science   and   the   global   environment.   In   addition,   the   weather   watchers’   pattern-‐searching   helped   broaden   the   scope   of   people’s   thinking   about   weather   and   climate,  

  • transforming   it   from   a   purely   local   concern   to   a   regional   and   global   system  of   complex  environmental  interconnections.      Rochester,  Rachel  (University  of  Oregon)    The  Animal,  The  Subaltern,  and  a  More  Inclusive  Politics  of  Agency  in  The  Hungry  Tide  

     Historically,   language   is   more   than   just   a   means   of   communication:   it   is   also   a   tool   of  oppression.   In   the   postcolonial   context,   it   is   those   who   appropriate   and   transform   the  dominant  language  who  are  best  able  to  achieve  political  and  cultural  agency,  while  those  unable   to   communicate   in   the   colonizer’s   discourse   are   pushed   to   society’s   perimeter.  Similarly,   marginalization   has   been   inflicted   on   non-‐human   animals   for   their  communicative   differences   from   humans.   Humans   have   largely   treated   animals   as  complex   machines   rather   than   self-‐actualized   subjects   because   of   their   presumed  incapacity   for   language:   if   animals   are   deemed   to   be   unable   to   “respond”   in   a   two-‐way  linguistic   exchange,   then   they   cannot   participate   in   a   truly   ethical   relationship,   nor   can  they   engage   in   the   complex   thought   deemed   critical   for   establishing   subjectivity,  intentionality,   and   agency.   Although   scholars   working   in   both   animal   studies   and  postcolonial   theory  have  addressed   the  ways   in  which  disempowered  groups  have  been  penalized  for  their  perceived  inabilities  with  language,  the  intersections  between  the  two  fields  have  been  largely  overlooked.  This  project  attempts  to  rectify  this  oversight  through  the  work   of   Amitav   Ghosh.   In  The  Hungry  Tide,   Amitav   Ghosh   juxtaposes   these   parallel  histories  to  reveal  the  flawed  logic  that  has  underpinned  both,  illustrating  how  the  lack  of  a  common  language  is  more  a  tool  through  which  to  constitute  the  “other”  than  an  actual  barrier   to   agency.   Throughout   the   novel,   Ghosh   examines   the   ways   in   which   subaltern  human   and   non-‐human   agency   is   denied   through   the   politics   of   language,   and   the  devastating   consequences   of   the   objectification   that   inevitably   follows,   including   the  displacement   of   critical   ecosystemic   actors   by   execution,   exile,   or   diaspora.   Ghosh   also  works  to  reveal  how  a  reconsideration  of  agency  that  does  not  presuppose  language  can  lead  to   the  development  of  a  model  of  conservation  that  might  simultaneously  attend  to  issues  of  both  environmental  and  social  justice.            

  • Ryan,  Leslie  (Oregon  State  University)    Performing  Agriculture:  The  "Survival  Pieces"  of  Eco-‐Artists  Helen  and  Newton  Harrison    Ecological   artists   Helen   and   Newton   Harrison,   frequently   cited   as   the   “pioneers”   of   the  environmental   art   movement,   have   engaged   large   scale   ecological   projects   since   1970  when  they  determined  to  do  no  work  that  didn’t  advantage  the  biosphere.  They  explored  issues  of  basic  sustainability  in  an  early  array  of  artworks  entitled  “Survival  Pieces.”  The  series   began  with   “Making   Earth”   (1970)   and   expanded   to   include   a   portable   fish   farm  (1971)  and  a  portable  orchard  (1972),  among  others.  The  Survival  Pieces  emerged  from  Newton’s   examination   of   systems   thinking  while   a   participant   in   the   Art   &   Technology  Program   at   the   Los   Angeles   County  Museum   of   Art   in   1967-‐71.   As   an   ensemble,   these  artworks   critically   investigated   food  systems,   food  security  and   the   sustainability  of  our  actions.   As   Wendell   Berry   has   said,   food   is   our   most   persistent   relationship   with   the  environment,  and  we  are  participants  in  agriculture.  This  presentation  examines  this  early  work,  and  its  relevance  to  ethical  land  use  and  contemporary  issues  of  food  production.      

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