The Garden and the Dump: Across More-than-Human Entanglements
Day 1

15 Sep 2021
5pm–7pm (CET)
Day 2

16 Sep 2021
12pm–6pm (CET)
Format

Online via Zoom
Registration →

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The conference is organised by Nicolai Skiveren and Aliya Say and takes the topics of their dissertations as a point of departure, seeking to facilitate an interdisciplinary discussion on contemporary topics within environmental philosophy and aesthetics across techno/bio/cultural phenomena.
Aarhus University is pleased to announce a two-day online conference on the multitude of ways of seeing, thinking, and living ecology through visual art, cinema, magic and philosophy.
The programme proposes to engage with a deep theoretical garden of ideas and experiences of ecology with a focus on cycles of decay and efflorescence in garbage and in plants, and on their particular ontologies and ways of inhabitation of the planet.

What appears as a juxtaposition in the title of the conference points at the productive paradox that lies at the heart of the uninterrupted continuums and entangled lives of all humans, non-humans, and things alike. The conference thus attempts to explore the tenets of ecological thinking across a wide spectrum of techno/bio/cultural phenomena, from waste and pollution to more-than-human intelligences and entanglements.

With contributions from the fields of posthuman theory, ecocriticism, new materialism, philosophy, theology, art history, and critical plant studies, we will discuss the sensorial, mystical, aesthetic and theoretical encounters with the nonhuman world, seen through the prismatic ecology of earthly gardens and dumps, and their multi-coloured and multi-dimensional posthuman agencies.
The conference is open to all and free to attend.
Speakers
Michael Marder
Professor of Philosophy at the University of the Basque Country
Michael Marder is IKERBASQUE Research Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of the Basque Country (UPV-EHU), Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. His writings span the fields of ecological theory, phenomenology, and political thought. He is the author of numerous scientific articles and seventeen monographs...


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Timothy Morton
Philosopher, Professor of English at Rice University

Timothy Morton is Rita Shea Guffey Chair in English at Rice University. They have collaborated with Björk, Laurie Anderson, Jennifer Walshe, Hrafnhildur Arnadottir, Sabrina Scott, Adam McKay, Jeff Bridges, Justin Guariglia, Olafur Eliasson, and Pharrell Williams. Morton co-wrote and appears in Living in the Future's Past, a 2018 film about global warming with Jeff Bridges.

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Chen Qiufan 陈楸帆
Author, Translator, Creative Producer, Curator, Founder of Thema Mundi
A fiction writer, screenwriter, and columnist—Chen Qiufan (a.k.a. Stanley Chan) has published fiction in venues such as People's Literature, Youth Literature, Science Fiction World, Esquire, and Chutzpah!. His futurism writing may be found at places like Slate and XPRIZE.



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Michael Marder
Ikerbasque Research Professor of Philosophy at the University of the Basque Country, UPV/EHU, Vitoria-Gasteiz
Michael Marder is IKERBASQUE Research Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of the Basque Country (UPV-EHU), Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. His writings span the fields of ecological theory, phenomenology, and political thought. He is the author of numerous scientific articles and seventeen monographs, including Plant-Thinking (2013); Phenomena—Critique—Logos (2014); The Philosopher's Plant (2014); Dust (2016), Energy Dreams (2017), Heidegger (2018), Political Categories (2019), Pyropolitics in the World Ablaze (2020); Dump Philosophy (2020); and Hegel's Energy (2021) among others.

For more information, consult his website michaelmarder.org.



Timothy Morton
Rita Shea Guffey Professor of English
Timothy Morton is Rita Shea Guffey Chair in English at Rice University. They have collaborated with Björk, Laurie Anderson, Jennifer Walshe, Hrafnhildur Arnadottir, Sabrina Scott, Adam McKay, Jeff Bridges, Justin Guariglia, Olafur Eliasson, and Pharrell Williams. Morton co-wrote and appears in Living in the Future's Past, a 2018 film about global warming with Jeff Bridges. They are the author of the libretto for the opera Time Time Time by Jennifer Walshe.

They are the author of Being Ecological (Penguin, 2018), Humankind: Solidarity with Nonhuman People (Verso, 2017), Dark Ecology: For a Logic of Future Coexistence (Columbia, 2016), Nothing: Three Inquiries in Buddhism (Chicago, 2015), Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World (Minnesota, 2013), Realist Magic: Objects, Ontology, Causality (Open Humanities, 2013), The Ecological Thought (Harvard, 2010), Ecology without Nature (Harvard, 2007), eight other books and 250 essays on philosophy, ecology, literature, music, art, architecture, design and food. Morton's work has been translated into 10 languages. In 2014, they gave the Wellek Lectures in Theory.
Chen Qiufan 陈楸帆
Author, Translator, Creative Producer, Curator, Founder of Thema Mundi
A fiction writer, screenwriter, and columnist—Chen Qiufan (a.k.a. Stanley Chan) has published fiction in venues such as People's Literature, Youth Literature, Science Fiction World, Esquire, and Chutzpah!. His futurism writing may be found at places like Slate and XPRIZE.

He has garnered numerous literary awards, including Taiwan's Dragon Fantasy Award and China's Galaxy and Xingyun(Nebula) Awards. In English translation, he has been featured in markets such as Clarkesworld, Pathlight, Lightspeed, Interzone, and F&SF. "The Fish of Lijiang" won a Science Fiction and Fantasy Translation Award in 2012, and "The Year of the Rat" was selected by The Year's Best Weird Fiction: Volume One. More of his fiction may be found in Invisible Planets. Liu Cixin, China's most prominent science fiction author, praised Chen's debut novel, Waste Tide as "the pinnacle of near-future SF writing."
Jacob Erickson
Assistant Professor of Theological Ethics in the School of Religion at Trinity College Dublin
A constructive theologian and theological ethicist, Dr. Jacob J. Erickson's research engages the disciplines of environmental humanities and ecotheology for the sake of planetary conviviality.

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Adrian Ivakhiv
Professor of Environmental Thought and Culture at the University of Vermont
Adrian Ivakhiv is a Professor of Environmental Thought and Culture at the University of Vermont, with a joint appointment in the Environmental Program and the Rubenstein School of Environment & Natural Resources.
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Simone Kotva
Research fellow at Emmanuel College, Cambridge
After receiving my Ph.D. in Divinity from Emmanuel College I spent the spring semester of 2016 teaching philosophy of religion and systematic theology at the Institute for Literature, Intellectual History and Religion at the University of Gothenburg.

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Jacob J. Erickson
Assistant Professor of Theological Ethics in the School of Religion at Trinity College Dublin
Dr. Jacob J. Erickson (He/Him) is Assistant Professor of Theological Ethics in the School of Religion at Trinity College Dublin. A constructive theologian and theological ethicist, Erickson's research engages the disciplines of environmental humanities and ecotheology for the sake of planetary conviviality – the playful and just cherishing of life together – in the midst of current ecological crises, climate injustice, and new challenges in energy production.

His research focuses on the complex relationships of earth and religious imagination, decolonial environmental ethics and queer theory, classical Christian theologies and contemporary constructive theopoetics. He is currently working on an extended project on climate ethics and theology called A Theopoetics of the Earth: Divinity in the Anthropocene, and his book on climate grief and theopoetics is forthcoming with Fortress Press (USA).

He's a contributor to a number of collaborative, edited volumes of theology – most recently Entangled Worlds: Religion, Science, and New Materialisms (Fordham Press) and Meaningful Flesh: Reflections on Religion and Nature for a Queer Planet (punctum). With Dr. Kris Kvam, he co-chairs the Martin Luther and Global Lutheran Traditions Unit in the American Academy of Religion. https://www.tcd.ie/religion/people/ERICKSOJ
Adrian Ivakhiv
Professor of Environmental Thought and Culture at the University of Vermont
Adrian Ivakhiv is a Professor of Environmental Thought and Culture at the University of Vermont, with a joint appointment in the Environmental Program and the Rubenstein School of Environment & Natural Resources. He is a UVM University Scholar (2019-20) and Public Humanities Fellow, and recently held the Steven Rubenstein Professorship for Environment and Natural Resources (2016-19). He heads the EcoCultureLab, which organizes collaborative engagements between ecologically oriented artists, scientists, humanists, and the broader community.

Prof. Ivakhiv is a cultural theorist and ecophilosopher, whose research and teaching are focused at the intersections of ecology, culture, identity, religion, media, philosophy, and the creative arts. His books include Claiming Sacred Ground: Pilgrims and Politics at Glastonbury and Sedona (Indiana University Press, 2001), Ecologies of the Moving Image: Cinema, Affect, and Nature (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2013), and Shadowing the Anthropocene: Eco-Realism for Turbulent Times (Punctum Books, 2018). With its historical breadth and theoretical innovation, Ecologies of the Moving Image has been called "capacious and authoritative," "groundbreaking," a "landmark contribution" to the growing field of ecological cultural studies, and the first book of "eco-film-philosophy." Expanding and deepening the eco-philosophy of the earlier book, Shadowing the Anthropocene presents a process-relational "philosophy of life," a philosophy that sees images as part of the battleground in which humans contest the meanings of an increasingly turbulent world. His current projects include a book entitled The New Lives of Images: Toward an Ontology of the Image-World, a book on the Chernobyl Zone of Exclusion and the philosophy of time, a collaboration on ecological themes and approaches across the arts, and an anthology of writings on spiritual practice.

Prof. Ivakhiv has served as president of the Environmental Studies Association of Canada, an executive editor of the Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature (Thoemmes Continuum Press, 2005), co-editor of the new international, open-access, peer-reviewed journal Media+Environment, and on the editorial boards of several journals including Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture, Green Letters, The Journal of Ecocriticism, Environmental Communication, and two book series in the environmental humanities. He is a Fellow of the Gund Institute for Environment and of the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society. His articles have been published across numerous disciplines including film and media studies, cultural and literary studies, religious and pilgrimage studies, human geography, and Ukrainian studies. He has been interviewed by popular radio personality Krista Tippett, profiled in a book of "post-Continental" philosophers, and invited to speak on four continents and in well over a dozen countries.

Adrian's interdisciplinary background includes work in the humanities, creative arts, and social sciences. Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, his research on culture and environment has taken him to late- and post-Soviet Ukraine (including a year in 1989-90 as Canada-USSR Scholar studying the cultural impacts of the Chernobyl nuclear accident), the Carpathian mountains of east central Europe, Cape Breton Island and Haida Gwaii off either coast of Canada, and to other sites of cultural-ecological contestation in the U.S. Southwest, southwest England, central and eastern Europe, and elsewhere. In a previous life as a choral conductor, experimental composer, pianist, and ethno-psych-avant-garage-folk-thrash musician, he performed at monasteries in Egypt, concert stages in Ukraine, and at the Canadian Parliament Buildings in Ottawa (honestly, once). When he isn't teaching, researching, writing, or attending committee meetings (aargh), he makes music, hikes in the Green Mountains, eats Vermont's artisanal cheeses, and reads The Syllabus and The Journal of Wild Culture. He has lived in Burlington (Balitán, Odzíhozsék) since 2003. From his west-facing window he watches for Champ.
Simone Kotva
Research fellow at Emmanuel College, Cambridge
After receiving my Ph.D. in Divinity from Emmanuel College I spent the spring semester of 2016 teaching philosophy of religion and systematic theology at the Institute for Literature, Intellectual History and Religion at the University of Gothenburg. In Michaelmas 2016 I returned to Emmanuel College as a research fellow. In November 2020 I will be joining the "Ambivalence of Nordic Nature: Gift, Guilt, Grace" project (University of Oslo, Faculty of Theology) as Postdoctoral Research Fellow.

My first book, Effort and Grace: On the Spiritual Exercise of Philosophy (London: Bloomsbury, 2020), tackles the importance of Simone Weil's concept of attention for critical theory and practice today, and situates it within the history of French reflexive or 'spiritualist' philosophy. I have also published widely on attention and environmental ethics, and am currently working, with Dr Alice Tarbuck, on a co-authored monograph addressing attention as a spiritual technology for the transformation of earth: Spellwork for a Damaged Planet: Magic and Ecology.


Full programme and more speakers to be announced shortly...
Conference Programme
15 Sep 2021
5pm-6pm (CET)
Day 1

Keynote presentation 1
Timothy Morton
15 Sep 2021
6pm–7pm (CET)
Keynote presentation 2
Michael Marder
Respondent: Dr Jacob J. Erickson
16 Sep 2021
12pm–1pm (CET)
Day 2

Conversation with Chen Qiufan
Chen Qiufan
16 Sep 2021
1.05pm–2.15pm (CET)
Thesis seminar, Aliya Say*
Aliya Say, PhD fellow, Department of Art History, Aarhus University
Art writer, researcher, strategy consultant. Aliya's PhD project is concerned with the topics of vegetal and mystical thinking through the lens of twentieth-century women artists-mystics, providing new insights about their unique artistic contribution, as much as the healing and ecological potential of their ecstatic experiences.

Respondents: Simone Kotva and Michael Marder
16 Sep 2021
2.20pm-3.30pm (CET)
Thesis seminar, Nicolai Skiveren*
Nicolai Skiveren, PhD fellow, Department of English, Aarhus University
Skiveren's PhD project, Cinematic Wasthetics, examines the role of waste in contemporary cinema and film and reflects on visual media's role in representing the complex intersecting crises and possibilities of the Anthropocene. Drawing on ecocriticism, waste studies, new materialism, and film studies, Skiveren explores the structures of feeling embodied by cinematic wastelands and discusses the potential of moving images to retrain our perception of and response-ability toward waste.

Respondent: John Parham
16 Sep 2021
3.45pm–6pm (CET)
Conference Presentations
* Thesis seminar (also known as pre-defence) is part of the doctoral programme at Aarhus University. In the seminar, the doctoral candidate presents an outline of the planned dissertation, including selected written examples of the basic hypotheses, theories and methods, and receives feedback from invited respondents and participants. Everyone is free to join and ask questions, or to simply attend the event. Texts written by both candidates will be available through the conference website closer to the date.