Reading Environments: Pumzi

Image by Georg Herman, 'Small Motifs of Insects and Plants' (1596) via The MET
Tuesday 17 April 2018
4.00 - 6.00pm

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Woolley Seminar Room S226 | Woolley Building
Access cnr Manning Road & Wilkinsons Axis
University of Sydney


Reading Environments is a new series of gatherings sponsored by the Sydney Environment Institute and open to staff and students from across the University of Sydney.

Our common focus is the developing, diversified, and interdisciplinary field of the Environmental Humanities. Key concerns will be drawn from environmentally-engaged philosophy, art, literature, history, and so forth. Exemplary topics may include cultures of climate change; bioethics; animals; nonhuman temporalities; ecology and biodiversity; posthumanism; planetarity; etc.

In our first term, we will sample a variety of works – academic and otherwise – that represent significant, but by no means exhaustive, features and futures of the field. Future selections will reflect the interests of salon members. Our method will encompass readings, structured discussions, free conversations, field trips, and other endeavours besides. Our materials will be drawn from sources critical and creative; textual and ephemeral; visual and other-sensory.

This month’s material:

Wanuri Kahiu – Pumzi (Inspired Minority 2009)

Kahiu’s short film inhabits a placed called Maitu, East African Territory, a few decades after World War III (“The Water War”). It is preoccupied by climate change, scarcity, the instrumentalization of bodies, utopian possibilities, and much more besides.

View the film here.

Reference Material

Science fiction has ancient roots in Africa. Why shouldn’t it also have a future there? in Quartz (2016)
Is Africa Ready for Science Fiction? by the novelist Nnedi Okorafor (2009)
Cli-fi, Petroculture, and the Environmental Humanities: An Interview with Stephanie LeMenager, from a brand-new issue of Studies in the Novel (50.1, Spring 2018).

For more information contact: killian.quigley@sydney.edu.au