Clifi Workshop: Climate Change as Challenge to Narrativisation
- Date: Wednesday 13 June 2018, 10:00 – 13:00
- Location: Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies
- Cost: Free
In this workshop we examine the record of ‘actually existing climate fiction’, with a glance at the longer history of climate allegorisation in both literary and genre fiction.
Climate change poses threats not only in terms of global heating, rising sea levels, desertification, super-storms, flooding and ecocide, but also to the human capacity to grasp and make sense of these developments in narrative form.
As an extreme example of ‘slow violence’ (Rob Nixon), the processes and consequences of anthropogenic planetary heating raise questions concerning the potential of fiction – as well as other forms of cultural production – to adequately register the scale, complexity and dynamic of what is happening and about to happen.
Is Amitav Ghosh then right to argue, in The Great Derangement, that world literature’s failure to meet the challenge of global heating reflects a “broader imaginative and cultural failure that lies at the heart of the climate crisis”? How far does this purported failure resonate with critical debates on the failures of realism in an age of capitalist realism?
In this workshop we examine the record of ‘actually existing climate fiction’, with a glance at the longer history of climate allegorisation in both literary and genre fiction, in order to assess the ways in which ‘clifi’ approaches the problem of narrativising the Capitalocene. At the same time, we consider the degree to which not only ‘realism,’ but narrative itself, comes under pressure in a globally heating world.
As Lev Manovich has argued, our current paradigm shift from a cultural self-awareness premised on unilinear narratives of cause and effect, to one modeled on the database – navigable in multiple and non-hierarchical ways – has implications that we are still only beginning to appreciate. How might this shift reflect a resistance to narrative in the subject matter of clifi itself, and at the same time open up possibilities for inventing new forms of representing the seemingly unrepresentable?
The workshop will be led by Nick Lawrence, Associate Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick.
It is free to attend but booking is essential as places are limited. Please book your place here via Eventbrite.
The workshop is particularly aimed at postgraduate students and staff.
The venue for this event is seminar room 2.09 in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies.
It is organised by the Centre for Critical Materialist Studies in collaboration with the Pasts, Cosmopolitanism, and Nation-Building in Contemporary World Literature project (led by Professor Stuart Taberner).