This seminar will not involve lectures or presentations, but rather discussion of pre-circulated essays by our featured participants.
Susanna Hecht (Urban Planning, UCLA) is a geographer and Professor in the Urban Planning department at UCLA. Her early work on the deforestation of the Amazon led to the founding of the subfield of political ecology. She studies the political economies of development and explores alternatives to destructive development, including forms of conservation in inhabited landscapes such as indigenous technologies, non-timber extractive products, niche markets, and new tenurial forms like extractive reserves. Hecht is the co-author, with Alexander Cockburn, of Fate of the Forest: Destroyers, Developers, and Defenders of the Amazon (1990; updated and reissued by University of Chicago Press in 2010). In 2004, Fate of the Forest was named one of the most influential books in cultural geography by the American Association of Geography. In addition to her academic work, Hecht has also written articles for the Nation, New Left Review, and Fortune Magazine. Hecht’s most recent book is The Scramble for the Amazon and the “Lost Paradise” of Euclides de Cunha (University of Chicago Press, 2013), which won the Elinor Melville Prize for the best book on Latin American environmental history in 2014.
Emma Marris (Independent Scholar) is the author of Rambunctious Garden (2011), which argues that our conservation strategies must change in response to the extent to which humans have altered the planet, and shows how they are changing in specific places around the globe. She is a writer based in Klamath Falls, Oregon, and she writes about the environmental, evolution, energy, agriculture, food, language, books, and film. Her stories have appeared in Conservation, Slate, Nature Medicine, OnEarth, and especially Nature, where she worked as a staffer for several years.
Libby Robin (History of Science, Australian National University) has published widely in the history of science, international and comparative environmental history and the ecological humanities. Her books include Boom and Bust: Bird Stories for a Dry Climate (2009), How a Continent Created a Nation (2007), and The Flight of the Emu: A Hundred Years of Australian Ornithology 1901-2001 (2001), and have won national prizes in zoology, history, and literature. Robin is Professor at the Fenner School of Environment and Society at the Australian National University and Senior Research Fellow at the National Museum of Australia’s Research Centre. She is Guest Professor at the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm in the Division of History of Science and Technology (2011-2014). Robin also coordinates the Australian and New Zealand Environmental History Network and is vice President of the International Consortium of Environmental History Organizations.
Masami Yuki (Foreign Language Institute, Kanazawa University) studies American and Japanese environmental literature with special focuses on topics such as literary soundscapes, urban nature, and discourses on food and toxicity. She is also a translator and has worked on Japanese translations of American literature and scholarly articles as well as English translations of Japanese literature. Her most recent book, Tabi no houe (Suiseisha, 2012) will be translated into English by Michael Berman and published by Palgrave Macmillan, with the tentative title, Around the Hearth of Modernity: Ecocritical Approaches to Foodscapes of Contemporary Japanese Women Writers. In it, Yuki examines the social, political, and aesthetic implications of foodscapes represented in works by Ishimure Michiko, Taguchi Randy, Morisaki Kazue, and Nashiki Kaho. Her current project is a comparative study of contemporary foodways in American and Japanese literature and beyond.