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Why has ecological thought pervaded literary theory and critique? One can answer this question by emphasising that the environment is physical as well as ontological, ethical, and psychological. It infiltrates human and nonhuman life in its everyday reality, it shapes knowledge and representations of reality.

Predictions about the end of humanity have appeared periodically since antiquity. Starting from the nineteenth century anthropogenic interventions have exposed the environment and the life of human and nonhuman species to lethal risks, in turn producing narratives of risk. Nowadays greenhouse gas emissions, global warming, melting glaciers, the rise of the sea level, and the pandemic supply an incessant flow of sensational news about the Anthropocene and the age of the sixth mass extinction. Yet, climate change is a pervasive and elusive concept: it is invisible in our private and personal sphere, while our rational, conscious component recognizes it as a real entity.

The aim of the Ecological Humanities is to tackle the environmental crisis by addressing the misunderstandings and communication gaps between the humanities and the sciences, by overcoming the bipolarity between nature and culture, by proposing forms of commitment, participation, agency, and by forming ecological minds.

The international symposium Changing the (Cultural) Climate with Ecocriticism and Ecolinguistics, in collaboration with the Innovative PhD Programme in Environmental Sustainability and Wellbeing and the International University Network Routes towards Sustainability, proposes pan-disciplinary ways of thinking and fosters cultures of sustainability and regeneration, starting from the awareness that national and global protocols and agendas, policies and action plans will be effective only through narration and communication, understood as forms of intercultural and interdisciplinary dialogue.

The symposium, which includes keynote addresses and thematic sessions from Tuesday 4 to Thursday 6 May, will be held here: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/198713613.

 

Scientific Committee

Paola Spinozzi, Department of Humanistic Studies, University of Ferrara

Eleonora Federici, Department of Humanistic Studies, University of Ferrara

Richard Chapman, Department of Humanistic Studies, University of Ferrara

Jacqueline Aiello, Department of Chemical, Pharmaceutical and Agricultural Sciences, University of Ferrara

Elisa Bolchi, Department of Chemical, Pharmaceutical and Agricultural Sciences, University of Ferrara