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Upcoming Lecture Questions Whether Climate Fiction Is a Solution for Climate Change

“Climate fiction is important not because it provides solutions, but because it allows readers to imagine and experience the complexity of climate change.”

On Tuesday 30 May 2017, the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies in association with SEI, and Humanities Advanced Research Centre (SSSHARC), welcome Professor Stephanie LeMenager from the University of Oregon, for the public lecture Climate Change and the Quest for Transformative Fictions.  Stephanie will discuss the literary genre of Cli-Fi (climate fiction), and the ways it can help its readers envision a future changed by environmental degradation.

Professor Christopher Wright is the respondent for Climate Change and the Quest for Transformative Fictions and has provided a comment on the importance of Cli-Fi and transformative fiction.

Humanity’s rampant extractivism and consumption now threaten the future existence of our societies and much of life on this planet. However, climate change is so vast and encompassing as to be almost beyond human imagining. We badly need alternative imaginaries that confront and engage with the dire future we now face. Climate fiction provides a means for just such an alternative imagining; a way in which we can peer into the abyss and discuss the uncomfortable taboos of our near future. Despite the dominance of supposedly ‘rational’ discourse in economic and politics, at the end of the day it is stories and emotions that engage people and drive action. Climate fiction allows us to make sense of climate change at a much more local and personal level. It is in these ‘small’ stories about what climate change means to each of us that can help us engage with the most important issue of our time.

What is Cli-Fi? 

In an article written by Stephanie for The Conversation, titled Cli-fi’: literary genre rises to prominence in the shadow of climate changeStephanie explains that “Climate fiction has been described as a close cousin of science fiction, as they both engage with controversial political problems, making use of fiction’s ability to conjure possible worlds. Sci-fi grew to maturity in the shadow of the hydrogen bomb, and like climate fiction, it faced an unknown, catastrophic future.”

How can Cli-Fi help us understand a future changed by environmental degradation?

In the same article, Stephanie argues that “Climate fiction is important not because it provides solutions, but because it allows readers to imagine and experience the complexity of climate change. To enter a fiction is to enter a commitment to shared imagination, to the social action of claiming a point of view.”

Event details

Keynote: Professor Stephanie LeMenager, University of Oregon
Respondent: Professor Christopher Wright, University of Sydney Business School
Chair: Dr. Jennifer Mae Hamilton, Department of Gender and Cultural Studies, University of Sydney

Tuesday 30 May 2017 | 4.00 – 5.30PM

Law School Foyer | Eastern Ave | University of Sydney

For more details and to register, click here.


To access Stephanie’s Cli-Fi article for The Conversation, click here.