Category Archives: Past seminars

Boundaries of the Self, Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Christian Bök (English, University of Calgary) is a renowned Canadian experimental, sound, and conceptual poet. His pataphysical encyclopedia Crystallography (Coach House Books, 1994) was nominated for the Gerald Lampert Award. Eunoia (Coach House Books, 2002), a lipogram that uses only one vowel in each of its five chapters, was awarded the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2002. Bök is also the author of Pataphysics: The Poetics of an Imaginary Science (Northwestern University Press, 2001). For the last ten years, Bök has been engaged in what he calls “the xenotext experiment,” a collaboration with biologists in which he is attempting to genetically engineer an organism—an extremophile bacterium—so that its DNA both encodes a poem and prompts the organism to produce a harmless protein that encodes a second poem in the chemical language Bök has devised.

Una Chaudhuri (English and Drama, New York University) is the co-author, with Shonni Enelow, of Ecocide: Research Theatre and Climate Change (Palgrave, 2014), and, with Holly Hughes, co-edited Animal Acts: Performing Species Today (Michigan, 2014). With director Fritz Ertl, she has developed a number of theatre pieces using a process they call “Research Theatre,” and she has worked collaboratively with the artist Marina Zurkow, most recently in a multi-platform project entitled “Dear Climate.” Chaudhuri is also the author of No Man’s Stage: A Semiotic Study of Jean Genet’s Plays (1986) and Staging Place: The Geography of Modern Drama (1995), as well as numerous articles on drama theory and theatre history. With Elinor Fuchs, she co-edited the award-winning critical anthology Land/Scape/Theater (Michigan, 2002). She was guest editor of a special issue of Yale Theater on “Theater and Ecology” and a special issue on Animals and Performance, for TDR: The Journal of Performance Studies (2007).

Linda Nash (History, University of Washington) is an historian of the twentieth-century US who focuses on environmental and cultural history. In addition to an AB and Ph.D. in History, she also holds a BS in Civil Engineering and an MS in Energy and Resources. Her book, Inescapable Ecologies: A History of Environment, Disease, and Knowledge (University of California Press, 2006), explores the ways in which doctors, public health officials, engineers, and lay persons have understood the intertwined issues of environment, health, race, and disease in one particular place from the late nineteenth to the late twentieth century. It was awarded the American Historical Association’s John H. Dunning Prize, the American Historical Association-Pacific Coast Branch Book Prize, and the Western Association of Women Historian’s Serra-Keller Prize. Her current book project, tentatively titled Engineering Modern Lands, tells a cultural, environmental, and postcolonial history of postwar “development” by following American water engineers in the decades after World War II as they undertook a series of remarkably unsuccessful projects. She currently serves on the editorial boards of Environmental History and Environmental Justice.

Robert Watson (English, UCLA) is the author of Back to Nature: The Green and the Real in the Late Renaissance (U Penn Press, 2006), which won the ASLE Prize for the year’s best book of ecocriticism, as well as the Elizabeth Dietz Memorial Award for the year’s best book on English Renaissance literature. His other books include Shakespeare and the Hazards of Ambition (Harvard, 1984), Ben Jonson’s Parodic Strategy: Literary Imperialism in the Comedies (Harvard, 1987), The Rest is Silence: Death as Annihilation in the English Renaissance (UC, 1995), and Throne of Blood (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). His poems have appeared in the New Yorker and other literary journals. At UCLA, Watson has served as Chair of the Department of English, Chair of the Faculty of the College of Letters and Science, Associate Vice-Provost for Educational Innovation, and now Associate Dean of Humanities.