Session Title

Nature versus Ecology (A Roundtable)

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Exemplaria: A Journal of Theory in Medieval and Renaissance Studies

Organizer Name

Shannon Gayk

Organizer Affiliation

Indiana Univ.-Bloomington

Presider Name

Shannon Gayk

Paper Title 1

Why Not Nature?

Presenter 1 Name

Kellie Robertson

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Univ. of Maryland

Paper Title 2

Playing Nature on the Early English Stage

Presenter 2 Name

Robert W. Barrett, Jr.

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Univ. of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign

Paper Title 3

"Thus seyth the Bok of Kendys": Ecological Thinking in the Castle of Perseverance

Presenter 3 Name

Rebecca Davis

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Univ. of California-Irvine

Paper Title 4

"Dwell" . . . "Magyk Natureel": The Possibilities of Middle English Terminologies

Presenter 4 Name

Emily Houlik-Ritchey

Presenter 4 Affiliation

Rice Univ.

Paper Title 5

Spirited Ecology in the Treatyse of Fysshynge with an Angle

Presenter 5 Name

Myra E. Wright

Presenter 5 Affiliation

Bates College

Paper Title 6

Unnatural

Presenter 6 Name

Jeffrey Jerome Cohen

Presenter 6 Affiliation

George Washington Univ.

Start Date

11-5-2017 10:00 AM

Session Location

Bernhard 106

Description

Ecocritical work in medieval studies has increasingly followed the lead of romanticist Timothy Morton in avoiding discussion of "nature" in favor of "ecology." For Morton, the term "nature," has been a stumbling block to ecological thinking. He suggests that to refer to "nature" is to reify the nonhuman world, to keep it at a distance, while to speak of "ecology" requires acknowledging that humans are deeply enmeshed in relationships with other organisms. Yet, to speak of "nature" (or natura or kynde) in premodern Europe was to invoke a massive range of discourses - scientific, philosophical, allegorical, theological - many of which represent the relationships of human beings to the nonhuman world as complex, participatory, and entangled. This roundtable will investigate both the possibilities and limitations of the turn toward "ecology without nature" in medieval studies, considering the extent to which nature might remain a useful category for understanding medieval representations of the environment. Papers might consider some of the following questions: what exactly is gained and lost when medievalists focus on ecology rather than nature? To what degree if any does it make sense to advocate for "nature without ecology"?

Shannon N. Gayk

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May 11th, 10:00 AM

Nature versus Ecology (A Roundtable)

Bernhard 106

Ecocritical work in medieval studies has increasingly followed the lead of romanticist Timothy Morton in avoiding discussion of "nature" in favor of "ecology." For Morton, the term "nature," has been a stumbling block to ecological thinking. He suggests that to refer to "nature" is to reify the nonhuman world, to keep it at a distance, while to speak of "ecology" requires acknowledging that humans are deeply enmeshed in relationships with other organisms. Yet, to speak of "nature" (or natura or kynde) in premodern Europe was to invoke a massive range of discourses - scientific, philosophical, allegorical, theological - many of which represent the relationships of human beings to the nonhuman world as complex, participatory, and entangled. This roundtable will investigate both the possibilities and limitations of the turn toward "ecology without nature" in medieval studies, considering the extent to which nature might remain a useful category for understanding medieval representations of the environment. Papers might consider some of the following questions: what exactly is gained and lost when medievalists focus on ecology rather than nature? To what degree if any does it make sense to advocate for "nature without ecology"?

Shannon N. Gayk