One of the most pressing issues of our time is the ongoing and accelerating climate crisis that will probably significantly change life on Earth as we know it within the 21st century. Being neither climatologists, oceanographers or environmental engineers, how can we, as cultural scholars, think and communicate about the climate crisis in ways that matter?
One of the most fundamental premises of literary and cultural studies is that language has power, metaphors have power, representation has power. So what can we learn about the climate crisis and how the world – and especially the people in power – deal with it when we look at its representation? I don't have any ready-made answers to these questions, but I would like us to find that out together in this block seminar.
The seminar is called a writers' room because its goal is that during the block seminar week everyone writes a blog post that will be published (in a yet to be determined format and context) on the university's website. The idea is that everyone gets the chance to proceed from first idea to finished text within one week of structured work (both individual and collaborative) in the classroom. We will have discussions, brainstorming sessions and writing sessions, we will comment on each other's draft texts and celebrate the finished texts together on Friday.
This class will not be theory-heavy; its focus is more on applying your cultural studies knowledge and critical thinking to representations of the climate crisis in a format - the blog post - that doesn't have to meet the strict criteria of scientific texts. You will therefore make the most of this class if you are already somewhat familiar with theoretical concepts and analytical approaches in cultural studies.
Preparatory session (obligatory)
We meet on November 13, 4 to 6 pm, for a preparatory session where I will introduce you to the format of the writers' room, so you know what to expect come February. We will also talk about the primary sources you can watch out for in the meantime, so you will have plenty of material to work with for the writers' room.
This class offers you the chance to complete the module exam "Projekt mit Ausarbeitung" for any of the available modules: Your blog post counts as the "Projekt", and you only need to write an "Ausarbeitung" to complete the module exam.