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Ecology & Race Campus, 5 July 2024


With the support of the Embassy of the United States of America, France

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Credit: Scott Slovic

     Following the two-day academic symposium on race and ecocriticism from the 16th to the 18th century that will historicize the interconnectedness of human beings and the natural world (see corresponding tab on the website), our “Ecology and Race Campus” on the 5th of July 2024 will be dedicated to workshops, outreach to local schools, the creation and display of performances and art. Its aim is also to give the opportunity to students and doctoral students in creation studies - particularly in poetry and theatre - to give free rein to their inspiration in order to propose original artworks on the relationship between race and ecology.

     The opening of a dialogue with young people (interventions by secondary school teachers and their classes) will enable us to create widespread public awareness of these issues and of the necessity to think about race and environment as two interdependent notions to think about the state and future of society and nature and to advocate for more social and environmental justice. We want this exploratory day to provide food for thought for a wide audience – and create a think tank – but also to increase the capacity of teachers to effectively teach literature and art related to issues on diversity and inclusion and/or the environment.

The main objectives of that Ecology and Race Campus are to:

  • Provide training workshops for secondary school teachers and university professors in which Prof. Sujata Iyengar will share her “service-learning class” experience on “Literature in the Natural World”, and in which Prof. Nandini Das will talk about training and community-building (TRACTION project). This Ecology and Race Campus will be very helpful for secondary school teachers of English in France who work on the following themes that are part of the national modern languages syllabi: “Travels and migrations”, “Meetings with other cultures”, “Representation of the self and relations with the other”, “Fictions and realities”, “Save the planet, imagine the future”, “Identities and exchanges”, “Territory and memory”, “Relationships between the individual and the group”, “Migration and exile”, “Roots and heritage”, “Frontier and space”, “Common heritage and diversity”, “Rivalries and interdependence”, “Knowledge production and diffusion”, “Unity and plurality”, “Art triggering debate”. The workshops and the work done in the year 2023-2024 will provide tools for teachers in secondary schools or at university to tackle these burning issues in a way that favors dialogue, creativity and constructive exchanges. The experience of professors who have implemented that in their classes will be very valuable.

    • Nandini Das, Professor of Early Modern Literature and Culture at Exeter College, University of Oxford, and Project Director of the ERC (European Research Commission) project TIDE on travel literature and race will be leading a workshop with secondary school teachers as she also developed a pioneering platform of training, resources, and community network to equip teachers with an effective training on issues of race, belonging and migration (TRACTION: Teaching Race, Belonging, Empire and Migration). Her expertise in that field will be precious for our Ecology and Race Campus’ outreach to local schools, teachers and pupils.

    • Sujata Iyengar, Professor in Early Modern British Literature at University of Georgia, Athens, will also lead a workshop on how to teach literature with an ecocritical perspective and how to sensitize students to ecological issues. In 2023-2024, she will be teaching a new service-learning class, “Literature in the Natural World”, in which students will study literary texts about nature and work with an on-campus or non-profit community partner to deepen students’ comprehension of the natural world. She will share her experience at our Ecology and Race Campus and a collaboration between our Master students in Nice and her students at UGA in America will take place.

  • Enable the high-school students and pupils of the teachers that take part in the experiment to present their results/posters/projects and to enable French university graduate students who worked on these issues in 2 of their classes to present their results/posters/projects through the organization of roundtables on the place and impact of race and ecology in their syllabi and more generally in their daily lives.

  • Provide creative workshops and /or displays and performances (all day/during lunch time) with students in dance, theatre or poetry to make them either read existing poetry, or write original pieces on the concepts of race and environment or express their creativity through their bodies with dancing or theatre. We also invite artists who reflect on the environment, the current climate crisis as well as the issues of race, gender and class to contact us and propose installations and/or performances.

  • Raise awareness of the necessity to fight against fake news, stereotypes and prejudice when talking about issues of race and environment & raise awareness on the possibility for everyone to act, and on the power and scope of personal accountability when it comes to ecology and race issues through a roundtable on multiculturalism and ecology open to professors, teachers, pupils, students and anyone interested in taking part in the conversation (with Scott Slovic and Shaul Bassi).

    • Scott Slovic is University Distinguished Professor of Environmental Humanities at the University of Idaho and Senior Scientist at the Oregon Research Institute. He has been teaching multicultural environmental literature for more than thirty years in the United States and as a visiting professor in various other countries. In the summer 2023 he is the co-organizer of a Summer Teacher Institute focused on the environmental humanities for middle school and high school teachers in the state of Idaho, sponsored by the Idaho Humanities Council, and one of the key elements in the institute will be multicultural approaches.

    • Initially a specialist in critical race studies, Professor Shaul Bassi from Università Ca’Foscari in Venice has been working for some years in ecocriticism, being in particular Director of a Master’s Degree in “Environmental Humanities”. His role in this project is to show the importance and stakes of creating degrees in environmental humanities.

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