5th ASLEC-ANZ Biennial Conference

Affective Habitus: New Environmental Histories of Botany, Zoology and Emotions 5th ASLEC-ANZ Biennial Conference, Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University, Canberra, 19-21 June 2014

Perceptions, values and representations of our relationship with the physical environment have been read anew in the Anthropocene century through the lens of ecocriticsm and affect theory. At present we are witnessing a turn in ecocritical theory to the relevance of empathy, sympathy and concordance, and how these move across flora and fauna; yet ecocriticism has not thoroughly considered whether human and non-human affect are reducible to a theory of the emotions. This conference seems to refine that turn while articulating the expansions of the analysis of the humanities.

Speakers included Philip Armstrong, Charles Dawson, Tom Griffiths, Eileen Joy, Michael Marder, John Miller, Siobhan O’Sullivan, John Plotz, Elspeth Probyn, Kate Rigby, Libby Robin, Deborah Bird Rose, John Ryan, Ariel Salleh, Will Steffen, Wendy Wheeler, Linda Williams and Gillen D’Arcy Wood.

Areas for consideration included:

  • Anthropocene aesthetics
  • Archives, encyclopaedias and images of the natural world
  • Colonialism: pre-histories and the present
  • Cultural studies: art, dance, film, literature, music, new media, photography, theatre
  • Ecocriticism and Critical Animal Studies: theory and practice of empathy
  • Ecopsychology
  • Emotions and the environment: learned feelings and historical variability
  • Environmental history: from the Middle Ages to the present
  • Europa Terra Australis: adaptation and heritage; continuities and disjunctions
  • Global ecologies
  • Green pedagogy: agency, senses and the lifeworld
  • Indigenous ecologies
  • Mappae mundi: emotional geographies and territories of affect
  • Open to others: more-than-human worlds in non-Western spaces
  • Renaissance emotions: animals, minerals, plants
  • Seeds and seed banks
  • Studio based inquiry climate change: botany, fauna extinction or fauna migration

ASLEC-ANZ membership comprises writers, artists, cinematographers and musicians as well as academics working in and across several areas of the Environmental/Ecological Humanities, including ecocritical literary and cultural studies, environmental history and the history of science, anthropology and ecophilosophy.

Selected conference papers will be published in the Animal Studies Journal and the Australasian Journal of Ecocriticism and Cultural Ecology.

For more details, see:

Affective Habitus at the History of Emotions webpage.

Affective Habitus at the Humanities Research Centre webpage.

The Anthroposcene:

Artists and Writers in Critical Dialogue with Nature and Ecosystems, Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University, Canberra, 17-18 June 2014

This pre-conference workshop was held in conjunction with our biennial conference, “Affective Habitus,” 19-21 June, also at ANU.

An in-studio conversation with artists and writers who attend to changes in the environment in their work. This workshop considers perceptions, values and representations of human relationships with natural systems. The sessions will involve looking, listening, walking and talking with colleagues, and everyone presenting an example of their artwork or writing that imagines new relationships with nature, landscapes, seascapes and ecosystems, or creative response to biodiversity loss and climate change. We expect a mix of tradition and experimentation, new media and old media, narrative, lyricism and poetry. We assemble to consider how the arts reset perception with experiences that challenge values; with potential to reconfigure feelings of moral responsibility for the environment. We will consider the import and difference between sympathetic and empathic approaches to non-human relationships. Closing with discussion about how the arts contribute to a cultural discourse about aesthetic virtues and the evolution of freedom.

Collins and Goto will perform/present an edited version of ‘A Conversation with Living Things’.

Workshop Facilitators:
Timothy M Collins (BFA MFA PhD Artist, Author and Planner)
Reiko Goto Collins (BFA MFA PhD Artist, Author and Designer)

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