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Modes of Embodiment: Race, Praxis, and Environmental Justice

Date and Time: 
Thursday, May 27, 2021. 04:30 PM
Meeting Location: 
Zoom
Workshop: 
Arts and Justice 2020
Meeting Description: 

Please join us for the final Spring quarter installation of the Arts + Justice Research Workshop Series, a panel discussion on the environmental humanities and environmental justice featuring ethnomusicologist Nadia Chana, artist-theorist Elaine Gan, and scholar-activist Pavithra Vasudevan. Centering themes of temporality, corporeality, and race, our panelists come together to discuss the un/making of bodies, corporeal archives, and sounding praxes of environmental justice as they intersect with one another. In the age of the Anthropocene, such conversations demonstrating the interdisciplinarity and generative potentialities of environmental humanities research are urgently necessary.

This panel discussion will be moderated by Stanford Mellon postdoctoral fellow in English, Carlos Alonso Nugent. This event will be held virtually Thursday, May 27 from 4:30-6pm PST. Please RSVP at least 24 hours in advance. If you need a disability-related accommodation, please contact Devin Garnick at dgarnick@stanford.edu or (650) 497-9905. Requests should be made at least one week in advance of the event. We are excited to continue the dialogue, and would be delighted for you to circulate both the flyer and description it to your community and colleagues!

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Nadia Chan, an assistant professor of ethnomusicology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, grew up in amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton, Alberta) singing in choirs, a context that directly shapes her work however invisibly. Nadia’s research unfolds from three premises: that listening is a relational act, something that takes place between a listener and a sounding body; that North American contexts are already Indigenous contexts; and that ecological crisis “immediately demands we look elsewhere than where we are standing” (Povinelli 2016). Specifically, Nadia explores how singing and listening become critical tools for building a felt relationship with a more-than-human world. Also active as a performer and facilitator, Nadia uses live art song and oratorio performance in combination with group exercises to help people feel their way into and through loss. In 2012, she co-founded the Bicycle Opera Project, a small opera company that takes contemporary Canadian opera to Canadians by bicycle.

Elaine Gan is an artist and theorist who works at the intersections of feminist science and technology studies, environmental humanities, and digital media arts to engage more-than-human socialites, particularly entanglements of plants, machines, and data. Gan is assistant professor and faculty fellow at New York University's Graduate Program in Experimental Humanities & Social Engagement. She recently co-edited an interdisciplinary anthology, Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Ghosts and Monsters of the Anthropocene (2017), and leads the Multispecies Worldbuilding Lab, a collaborative project that engages interdisciplinary methods for investigating climate change.

Pavithra Vasudevan (she/they) is assistant professor of African and African diaspora studies and women’s and gender studies at the University of Texas at Austin, and a recipient of the 2020-21 AAUW American Postdoctoral Fellowship. Vasudevan’s research addresses toxicity as a manifestation of racial violence, capitalist entanglements with state and science, and the abolitional possibilities of collective struggle. Their book manuscript in progress, titled Toxic Alchemy: Black Life and Death in Racial Capitalism, theorizes Blackness in industrial capitalism, beginning with the experiences and insights of Black workers and their families in the aluminum company town of Badin, NC. First and foremost a storyteller, Vasudevan’s research is grounded in collaboration and creative praxis – performance, film, and poetry – in service to building a better world. https://pavithravasudevan.com

Carlos Alonso Nugent (moderator) is a literary, cultural, and environmental historian of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands—and, more broadly, the Americas. He has published articles in American LiteratureISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, and Modernism/Modernity Print Plus. His “Lost Archives, Lost Lands: Rereading New Mexico’s Imagined Environments” won the Norman Foerster Prize for the Best Article of the Year in American Literature. In 2020, he received his PhD from Yale University; in 2020-21, he is participating in the Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in the Humanities at Stanford University; finally, in 2021-22, he is joining the faculty of Vanderbilt University.

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