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Literary and Visual Landscapes Autumn 2021

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Literary and Visual Landscapes: a virtual interdisciplinary seminar series hosted by PGRs at the University of Bristol

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Literary and Visual Landscapes

A virtual interdisciplinary seminar series hosted by the University of Bristol

Literary and Visual Landscapes (LVL) is a seminar series for bringing together a diverse range of scholars and students from the environmental and geo-humanities. LVL provides a platform for academics, early career researchers, and postgraduate students to communicate ideas and inform each other’s work. Previous seminar topics have explored a wide range of methodologies, theoretical approaches and artistic and empirical frameworks. This autumn, LVL is bringing together scholars exploring landscapes across a range of spatial and temporal contexts, with an emphasis on queer and decolonial spaces.

Join us on Wednesday afternoon (16.30 UK time) on the following dates:

13th October - Dr Noreen Masud (Durham University)

'Slippage and Fakery in Willa Cather's Prairie Landscapes'.

In an interview in the Omaha Daily Bee from 1921, Willa Cather describes how, quote, ‘that shaggy grass country had gripped me with a passion I have never been able to shake. It has been the happiness and the curse of my life.’ This talk explores how, in the prairies of Willa Cather’s Nebraska novels, flat spaces unexpectedly become an arena for dealing with strange forms of attachment. Cather’s novels handle love in fugitive, furtive ways: they focus on attachments which are queer, unrequited, tragic, private and incommunicable, and all against a landscape which itself invites a queer and enigmatic love. By examining late nineteenth-century photographs of Nebraska, and a series of Catherian identifications and misidentifications with Jules Breton’s painting The Song of the Lark, in this paper Masud argue that in Cather’s hands, flat landscapes affect attachments, and to the power to attach: to register ordinary patterns of joy and grief and fear. Yet precisely because of this, a flat landscape may offer or model a mode of attachment which might house those who, like the intensely private Cather, cannot withstand other kinds of relationship. As such, it might accommodate a mode of queer attachment not otherwise legitimised.

Noreen Masud is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Durham, and will be a Lecturer at the University of Bristol from January 2022. Her first book is on aphorism (out 2022); her second is on literary flat landscapes and how they make us feel and remember. She is also an AHRC/BBC New Generation Thinker 2020.

10th November - Dr Susanne Ferwerda (Utrecht University)

'The Waves, the Ocean: Boats, Borders and Refugee Bodies in Behrouz Boochani's No Friend but the Mountains'

Susanne Ferwerda is a Lecturer in Comparative Literature at Utrecht University. They recently completed their PhD research in English at the University of Tasmania, Australia. She has an extensive interdisciplinary training in literary theory, feminist theory, comparative literature, art history, film studies, postcolonial theory and the environmental humanities.

8th December - Dr Anushka Peres (University of Nevada, Reno)

'Queer Ecovisual Rhetorics and Settler Colonial Landscapes'

Anushka Peres is an assistant professor of English at the University of Nevada, Reno. She is a multidisciplinary rhetorical scholar and photographer, invested in the environmental and social repercussions of colonial conceptualizations of land and sites of possible intervention. She works across media and with a range of collaborators on public queer feminist projects that seek more sustainable ways to see and be with the environment and each other.

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