Kicking off the second day of “Creating Nature” will be a session on “Shelter” co-chaired by distinguished ecofeminists and Shakespeareans Rebecca Laroche and Jennifer Munroe. After having recently shared a stage with them on an Ecofeminism panel at the Shakespeare Association of America, I’m especially keen to have their guiding voices and insights to move our conversation into its second and final day.
One of many reasons that I choose Rebecca and Jen to co-chair a session at “Creating Nature” is the model for collaboration and exchange that they provide. They co-wrote their recent book Shakespeare and Ecofeminist Theory in part through a mutual pedagogical exchange, in which students in Colorado and North Carolina worked together (virtually) alongside their professors. Their model of mutuality, dialogue, and keen analysis will help all of us at “Creating Nature” begin our second morning.
The “Shelter” panel also features Michael Dove, an anthropologist from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He’ll be sharing the results of his field work on volcano-vulnerable communities on the Indonesian island of Java. Alongside Michael will be Debapriya Sarkar, a professor of English and Maritime Studies who works up the shoreline from me at UConn’s gorgeous Avery Point campus, and Phillip Usher, who teaches in the French department at NYU.
I’m looking forward to seeing how these three different scholarly modes, Anthropology, English, and French, will respond to cultural and physical desires for shelter in hostile environments. I’m also looking forward to the challenge that Michael’s Asian-based work will bring to our often Eurocentric discourses in the premodern humanities.
Does the human need for shelter require that we treat our environment instrumentally? Might human attempts to imagine cultures of shelter also embrace the more-than-human? These and other questions may come up as we continue on our second day of “Creating Nature.”