Posted on April 8, 2014
CSULB’s English Graduate Student Association (EGSA) is pleased to announce its 3rd annual student conference: Re/Inventions. This year, EGSA will host speakers exploring the topic “Nature+” in areas ranging from Beowulf to Bicycles to Bioethics.
The Re/Inventions convention provides a forum in which graduate students and advanced undergraduates from Southern California colleges and universities share their academic research and initiate discussion among their peers.
EGSA and the Department of English at CSULB welcome the keynote speaker for this conference, Dr. Ursula Heise, a leading scholar in the field of literary theory and environmental culture in the Americas. Dr. Heise’s presentation will be a fascinating combination of ecocriticism, digital humanities, and the history of science. The following text is Dr. Heise’s abstract:
The current mass extinction of species has generated an abundance of books, photographs, paintings, documentaries and websites relating to individual endangered species or the global panorama of biodiversity loss. The keynote will focus on a related expression of concern over endangered species, global biodiversity databases that have been created on the Internet over the last 25 years, to argue that they should be considered as a contemporary form of ecological epic. Drawing on the digital humanities and the work of media theorists and historians of science, the talk will analyze the interplay of narrative and catalogue in these databases: in the justifications for their creation, in the structure of their metadata, in the taxa of organisms that receive preferential coverage, and in the entries on particular species. It will focus in particular on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species, one of the most frequently used databases in global conservation efforts. The Red List indebted to elegiac narrative and to tragedy, but it also to reach beyond the usual environmental narrative of the decline of nature and to inventory the entirety of biological life on Earth – a genuinely epic and encyclopedic project. Biodiversity databases therefore amount to a particular generic combination of data and narrative that has not to date been addressed from a cultural and ecocritical angle.
For more information about parking and scheduling for this event, please click here.