I’m happy to report that yesterday’s EASLCE webinar with Dr Ursula Heise went well! In hindsight, it’s easy to say that of course it did, why wouldn’t it? The host was a high-profile and eloquent ecocritic, so I guess this was a pretty safe bet. Still, as a coordinator I do get a little nervous before these things.
I thought I’d just write a few quick words now about the event, and when the official summary is available, I’ll post that, too. Maximum milking of success!
Before the webinar, we had a reasonably big list of required readings to do but I was happy to do it because it’s this kind of stuff that keeps me well informed about how things develop in my field outside my immediate area of core interests. The reading list contained the following:
Bernaerts et al: “The Storied Lives of Non-human Narrators.”
Heise, Imagining Extinction: The Cultural Meanings of Endangered Species.
Kirksey et al: “Introduction: Tactics of Multispecies Ethnography.”
Van Dooren: Flight Ways: Life and Death at the Edge of Extinction.
I faced some sudden and annoying health issues this week and spent a lot of working time in hospitals seeing doctors, and was even put on an IV. Luckily, I had Thom van Dooren’s excellent Flight Ways with me so was able to get the mandatory reading in while having the drip. Extreme research..? It’s not yet quite sure what exactly is the problem but I was assured that it’s unlikely to be anything very serious, and I’m hoping to be back in full form soon. Strong meds combined with my state made me feel a little disoriented but I think I managed to pull off both the webinar yesterday evening and the preceding teaching the same day in a way that people didn’t notice anything was off. I hope so, at least.
Anyway, in the actual webinar the allotted time of 90 minutes went by in a flash. Dr Heise as the host kept the whole webinar very lively, and there was time for participants to ask questions, too, although people probably would have been excited to ask her stuff for at least another hour. I know I was. As it was, I was mindful of the time and stayed as much in the background as possible in this particular webinar, as it was my co-coordinator’s turn to work as the “number one chair” and my turn to focus on taking notes and just facilitate everyone else having as positive an experience as possible. In these circumstances, I was more than happy with this.
Extremeresearcher Jr paid daddy a visit at work earlier in the week.
Of all the reading we did before the webinar, I found Dr Heise’s and van Dooren’s stuff to be the most useful to me. Especially van Dooren’s chapter on Australian Little Penguins and their “storied places” was really good. It showed how important language is in constructing meaning, and what a difference it makes to call something a “home” instead of a “habitat”, etc.
Extremeresearcher Jr drew a masterpiece on the whiteboard in my room at work.
Among topics discussed in the webinar were thinking about environmental issues together with other fields, how the issue of climate change has taken up almost all the media space concerning environmental issues and how, e.g. biodiversity receives much less attention, animal welfare vs environmentalism, people living in nature instead of trying to stay outside of it (very interesting to me), urban biodiversity, etc. Next week, we’ll write a summary of the webinar to be published online later, hopefully soon.
I hope this blog post hasn’t been too rambling but if it has, I’ll just blame the meds. And, to be honest, they’re all rambling anyway, so who could tell the difference, right?
Featured image credit: EASLCE and Ursula Heise