Zoomlandia may be going to way of all flesh — at least I hope most of my academic events will take place in the flesh in not very long — but I’ve got at least one more day of timelessness and placelessness on my spring calendar.
On Th 27 May, I’ll start the morning Zoomin’ into the UK, as part of a Blue Extinction panel hosted by ASLE UK [registration via that link] and the Sheffield Animal Studies Research Centre (ShARC). If I’m feeling good I’ll be up at 5 am for the early panel, featuring a pair coming in overnight from Australian, Killian Quigley and Tom Bristow, as well as Maria Beger from Leeds. A few hours later I’ll be on a panel on my own, with Dolly Jørgensen and Tom Webb. I can’t wait to hear what all these brilliant people have to say!
I’ll be talking about whales, which gives me a chance to keep thinking with Alexis Pauline Gumbs’s astounding book Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals, which I also wove into my Sea Sense presentation last month. I’m going to use Gumbs to think about encounters with whales both modern and early modern, as well as Philip Hoare’s astounding book Albert and the Whale, and a few different scenes of encounters with stranded whale bodies on beaches. It’s new work, and in many ways still unsettled. But I’m looking forward to sharing it!
I’ll have a few hours to walk the dogs and maybe sneak in an early season swim in cold water before my evening event.
It’ll be 10 am on Friday in Seoul but 9 pm Th night in Short Beach, CT, where I’ll talk my “Blue Humanities: An Offshore View” talk to my computer and an audience 6800 miles to the west. I’ll be mashing together Shakespeare with Craig Santos Perez’s “Praise Song for Oceania.” It should be lots of fun.
From my house to Sheffield is about 3400 miles east. Home to Seoul is 6800 miles to the west, so that’s a total of 10,200 miles. At around 41 degrees north, which is roughly where I am, the circumference of the globe seems to be roughly 19,000 miles. So — I’ll be Zoomin’ more than halfway around the northern half of the planet, passing over both the Atlantic and Pacific basins, with a few thousand miles to span North America thrown in?
Strange days in Zoomlandia. I wonder how much of this sort of thing will stick around in the post-pandemic future. I’m ambivalent — of course I’d rather go both to Sheffield and to Seoul, but I can’t go everywhere all the time. Maybe some of this global stream-talking will be worth keeping?