“Imagining Climate Change: Science & Fiction in Dialogue”

  October 9–10, 2015

  University of Florida

  Gainesville, FL

2015postericeAs we move into an era of increased climate instability, scientific analysis of climate change is central to our understanding of physical systems of our planet and the impact of these systems on human life. Science fiction (sf), the distinctive literary form of our time, bridges elite and popular cultures and broadly engages enthusiasts and scholars alike in the work of imagining our possible futures. These areas of scientific, intellectual, and artistic inquiry – climate studies and sf – converge in the new field of “climate fiction”: print and graphic fiction and film grounded in scientific realities of environmental change, and projecting the resulting transformations of our societies, politics, and cultures.

The inaugural Fall 2015 ICC colloquium will bring award-winning and influential French and American sf authors and climate scientists to the University of Florida to dialogue with UF faculty and researchers in the humanities, climate studies, and water management, and to explore new ways of representing and responding to environmental change. Our conversations will aim at a better understanding of potential collaborations between science, fiction, and art on one of the most pressing global crises of our time.

Friday, Oct. 9, 2015, Smathers Library 100 (Library East) (map)

2:30–3 PM

Registration, coffee & light refreshments

3–5 PM

Welcome and introduction by Alioune Sow, Center for African Studies, University of Florida; Director, France-Florida Research Institute

“Exodus” – Jean-Marc Ligny
Respondent: Amanda Vincent, Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, University of Florida

7–7:30 PM

Registration, coffee & light refreshments

7:30–9:30 PM

Welcome and introduction by Terry Harpold, Department of English, University of Florida

“Odds Against Tomorrow” – Nathaniel Rich
Respondent: Bron Taylor, Department of Religion, University of Florida

“Imagining Past Sea-Level Rise” – Andrea Dutton (University of Florida)
Respondent: Sidney Dobrin, Department of English, University of Florida

Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, Smathers Library 100 (Library East) (map)

7–7:30 PM

Registration, coffee & light refreshments

7:30–9 PM

“Imagining Climate Change” – Roundtable featuring the guest speakers (Dutton, Ligny, Rich), moderated by Terry Harpold

All ICC events are presented in English or in simultaneous English translation and are free and open to the public. No advance registration is required.

A team of undergraduate UF film students working under the direction of UF instructor Lauren DeFilippo recorded interviews with and presentations by the Fall 2015 ICC guest speakers. This footage was edited by the students into three evocative, short documentary films capturing highlights of the fall events. See the ICC Videos page for links to the films.

About the Guest Speakers

Andrea Dutton. Assistant Professor of Geology, University of Florida. A geochemist, sedimentologist, paleoclimatologist, and paleoceanographer, Dutton is a co-leader of PALSEA2, an international working group investigating the geological record of changes in sea levels and ice sheet mass, in order to better predict future sea level rise. Dutton’s research currently focuses on sea level reconstruction over glacial-interglacial timescales, with an emphasis on establishing the behavior of sea level and ice sheets during interglacial periods.

Jean-Marc Ligny. Author of more than forty science fiction novels, including Aqua™ (2006), about water wars in a near-future Africa, and winner of the Prix Bob-Morane, the Prix Rosny aîné, the Prix Julia-Verlanger, and the Prix Une autre Terre. His 2012 sequel, Exodes [Exodus], winner of the Prix Européens (Utopiales), envisages a future Europe subjected to the most extreme effects of climate change and the resulting political and social upheaval. The third novel in the series, Semences [Seeds], will be published this fall.

Nathaniel Rich. Author of two novels, Odds Against Tomorrow (2013) and The Mayor’s Tongue (2008). He is a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine and his essays appear regularly in The New York Review of Books, The Atlantic, and The Daily Beast. He lives in New Orleans. Odds Against Tomorrow has been lauded as the first American climate fiction novel to break into the mainstream.

About the Respondents and Moderators

Sidney I. Dobrin. Research Foundation Professor of English, University of Florida. Author or editor of more than a dozen books on composition theory, visual and digital rhetoric, posthumanism, and environmental rhetoric, his forthcoming books include Writing Posthumanism Writing and Gone. Fishing. Recreational Saltwater Fishing and the Future of the World’s Oceans.

Terry Harpold. Associate Professor of English, University of Florida. Author of Ex-foliations: Reading Machines and the Upgrade Path (2008) and co-editor of Collectionner l’Extraordinaire, sonder l’Ailleurs. Essais sur Jules Verne en l’honneur de Jean-Michel Margot (2015). He is currently working on a book-length study of intermedial “relays” in Jules Verne’s illustrated fiction. He is co-founder of UF’s Science Fiction Working Group.

Alioune Sow. Associate Professor of French and African Studies, University of Florida, Director of the France-Florida Research Institute. Author of Vestiges et vertiges: Récits d’enfance dans les littératures africaines (2011), his research interests are in Francophone African literature and film and postcolonial African cultural production.

Bron Taylor. Professor of Religion, University of Florida, Fellow of the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich, Germany. Editor in Chief of the Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature (2005), founder of the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, and Editor of the affiliated Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture. Taylor is editor or author of four books on affirmative action, monitory democracy, ecological resistance movements, and contemporary “green religions.”

Amanda Vincent. Adjunct Lecturer, Dept. of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, University of Florida. Her primary research interest is the creation and representation of designed spaces including parks, gardens, and cities. The author of several articles on twentieth century parks, architecture, and urban design in Paris and the Île-de-France region, she is working on a book on “Constructing Nature, Cultivating the City: Paris Parks, 1977–1995.”

“Imagining Climate Change” is sponsored by the France-Florida Research Institute, the Center for African Studies, the Center for European Studies, the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere (Yulee Fund), the Department of English, the Florida Climate Institute at the University of Florida, the George A. Smathers Libraries, the Science Fiction Working Group, the UF Water Institute, and Storm Richards and Jeanne Fillman-Richards. Colloquium events are made possible with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States.

Fall 2015 ICC Colloquium poster by Madeline Gangnes