Back at Tampere!

From 1 August I’m back at Tampere as a university lecturer in comparative literature,  after three years on research leave.

(source: tampere.fi)

Much has changed at Tampere: new university, new faculty, new study information systems… The main task remains much the same: to teach, to do research, to provide guidance to students, to collaborate with colleagues and to do all of that in ways that interact with broader society.

Very much looking forward to continue collaboration with old colleagues and to get to know new ones.

After years focusing on research, I’m particularly looking forward also to teach and to reconnect with our students. Unfortunately, teaching will be online for the rest of the year 2020 – hopefully we can get back to normal contact teaching as soon as possible in 2021.

In terms of research, I will continue finalizing my project on the futures of coastal cities across genres (more here), with a number of articles coming up and hopeful a monograph taking shape in the year to come.

Other things I hope to work on include explorations of utopia and hope in literature; questions of agency in terms of networked urbanities; the genre of the city novel; the development of methods and approaches in literary urban studies.

I would like to end this blog post by thanking the University of Turku and the Turku Institute for Advanced Studies for their support these past three years. TIAS was the perfect place to focus on research over a longer period of time. Among many other things, the support of TIAS enabled me to go on extensive research trips, to spend half a year as visiting professor at the KU Leuven, Belgium, to organize various events, to invite colleagues, and to connect with a wide range of fascinating researchers working on the most diverse topics. More than anything else, TIAS allowed me to focus for a long and uninterrupted time and without too many distractions on one particular research project, and to think through the implications of that project.

“The Narrative Turn in Urban Planning” – out with Routledge in November 2020

My research project on planning narratives in the Helsinki waterfront, and specifically in the planning of the postindustrial districts Kalasatama and Jätkäsaari, comes to a close with the publication of a book that brings together the conclusions of several of my earlier articles, and that includes a wide range of new materials. The book, entitled “The Narrative Turn in Urban Planning: Plotting the Helsinki Waterfront”, will be published with Routledge in November of this year. It can already be pre-ordered here.

Review:

“This is a fine contribution to the planning field and will be especially helpful to those interested in the stories told around planning strategies and projects. It draws together and enriches the literature on narrative and storytelling, both generally and specifically in relation to planning and urban studies. It contains two well-developed case studies of major redevelopment projects in one of Northern Europe’s major cities which illustrate the different ways narratives inform, get used in and are generated by planning activity. Many will find this book a really helpful resource.”

– Patsy Healey, professor Emeritus, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Newcastle University, UK

From the Introduction:

“Narratives, in the context of urban planning, matter. This is not a new argument – if anything, it has become something of a commonplace in thinking and writing of the contemporary city. It is implicit in planning theory paradigms such as communicative and discursive planning theory, and is met also in a range of approaches to the city as diverse as urban history, sociology, ethnography, literary urban studies, and human and cultural geography. The narrative view of planning is implicitly founded on the thought, following Henri Lefebvre ([1974] 1991), that space is relative and intersubjective, and it is a view that draws on the long legacy of the linguistic turn in the humanities and social sciences. Cities are, in the words of Doreen Massey, “the intersections of multiple narratives” (Massey 1999, 165), and planning always participates – willingly and consciously, or not – in the formation of these intersections. The interest in urban narratives goes hand in hand with an increasing awareness that urban planning could (and in many countries legally should) take into account experiential, “subjective” place-based information, shared in the stories people and communities tell of their place in the world. As a result of such shifts, and following a range of intertwined paradigmatic turns variously described as “cultural”, “spatial”, “rhetorical”, “communicative”, and “narrative”, planners have emerged during the past decades as producers, curators and negotiators of diverse narratives, rather than as the descendants of the hero-planners from the modernist era. But the conceptual and methodological apparatus available to planning theorists and practitioners to assess this narrative turn has remained fragmented and unevenly developed, and has largely remained separated from developments within what is arguably its most relevant cognate field: narrative studies.

Little systematic analysis has been carried out to examine the different kinds of narratives that are used in the context of urban planning from a particularly narrative perspective, and to date, there is no comprehensive study of how narrative – and concepts from narrative and literary theory more broadly – can enrich planning and policy. While several researchers have noted the existence of a “narrative turn” or a “story turn” in planning, few have found it necessary to problematize the concept of “narrative” in this context. What is meant, exactly, when we speak of narratives in urban planning? How are these narratives defined, what kind of typologies can we begin to draw up? What is the relationship between such narratives and the built environment? And starting from there, what methods for analysis and conceptual tools can be applied to examine the production, dissemination, and reception of urban planning narratives? These are the key questions addressed in this book. Setting the focus squarely on examining urban planning in terms of its narrative characteristics, this study gives a key role to methods and concepts from disciplines with long-standing expertise in this respect: literary studies, narratology – the study of narrative – and rhetorics. Narrative is defined here, following James Phelan, as a “rhetorical act: somebody telling somebody else on some occasion and for some purpose(s) that something happened” (Phelan 2007, 3-4). What is told is the story, and the telling can be in oral as well as in written form of text. I will return to the definitions of story and narrative, and the extent to which these can be applied to planning, in more detail in the following chapter; for now, this definition will have to suffice.

To put narratives first in a study of urban planning is not to say that this book is not concerned also with the materiality of the actual city. What I hope to elucidate, with an analysis of two specific case studies of urban planning, is the extent to which the actual – planned, built and lived – city is shaped by narrative structures in planning, and how narrative and the material urban world are part of a firmly intertwined and interactive meshwork of meaning and experience. Narratives that are created, told and circulated in the context of urban planning eventually turn into the stone, glass and concrete of the built and lived city; they guide and define the material realities of the city. And the built environment in turn produces its own stories to be retold or contested. An urban redevelopment project that is envisioned in terms of its industrial heritage may result in a preference for specific urban morphology or building material (such as red bricks to mirror earlier industrial architecture) and in the preservation of specific features of the built environment (such as obsolete tram rails or quay boulders). Certain types of building height, building block structure, and traffic solutions will be preferred, depending on whether a development is presented as part of the storyline of city centre expansion, or, conversely, as that of a new garden town that brings nature into the urban fabric. Features of the built environment in their turn produce particular experiences and narratives. An artificially constructed canal may produce stories of division and separation between different parts of the city – or quite the opposite, it may foster the experience of a recreational space linking these, all depending on a complex combination of often unpredictable factors. The windowed street-level spaces designed by planners for front stores may be used instead for bicycle parking or for community meetings, creating unintended spatial uses that may give rise to a host of narratives of an area’s semi-public spaces.

Following Jonathan Raban, cities are “plastic by nature”, and if we “mould them in our images”, they “in their turn, shape us by the resistance they offer when we try to impose our personal form on them” (Raban [1974] 1988, 10). Narratives are seen here as drawing on, and producing, such resistance, and as situated on the interstices between city planners, city inhabitants, and the cities they work and live in. But narratives in the context of planning are never natural or self-evident, even when they are presented as evocations of causal or organic relationships. They are also instruments of power, used to legitimize interventions in space, dislocations, and the prioritization of specific interests over others.”

New article: “Flooded cities in Low Countries fiction”

The last city on earth: Almere in Weerwater. Picture by L. Ameel

With much of the world in quarantine or lock-down, questions of how we come to terms with catastrophe have not exactly become any less topical.

Its with mixed feelings that I announce the publication of my latest article, written in collaboration with Stef Craps from Ghent University:

Flooded cities in Low Countries fiction: Referentiality and indeterminate allegory in Renate Dorrestein’s Weerwater and Roderik Six’s Vloed. Published in Green Letters (ahead of print).

A free eprint (for the first 50 users) can be found here:

https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/26TMNXWKWCS3IXGP8TA3/full?target=10.1080/14688417.2020.1752507

From the Introduction of “flooded cities”:

“This article examines two contemporary flood novels originating from the Low Countries: Weerwater (Dorrestein 2015) by the Dutch author Renate Dorrestein and Vloed (‘Flood’; Six 2012) by the Flemish author Roderik Six. We approach the flood tropes in these novels as examples of indeterminate allegory, in which multiple layers of meaning invite competing possible readings. While not referring unequivocally to anthropogenic climate change, Weerwater and Vloed offer important insights into literature’s complex interaction with climate change and rising water levels in the way they draw attention to the language in which traumatic experience is couched, as well as by highlighting the enduring flexibility of novelistic form to evoke our changing relationship to the environment.”

From the Conclusion:

“In environmentally themed fiction, the trope of the flood has arguably become ‘the dominant literary strategy for locating climate change’ (Trexler 2015, 82–83). Literary fiction can provide an important complement to future visions of environmental relations as they are found in STEM texts (cf. Hulme 2011). One crucial contribution lies in the way literary fiction is able to provide a sense of qualia, of what it feels like to live under possible or future environmental circumstances. A second one is grounded in the metafictional realm, in how literary fiction is able to pose questions about storytelling and about the kinds of literary tropes, narrative forms, and genres at our disposal to narrate past, present, and future engagements with our changing environment. On both accounts, Renate Dorrestein’s Weerwater and Roderik Six’s Vloed provide important perspectives from a particular cultural and geographical setting with accute relevance for climate change and rising sea levels. Both novels can be seen as illustrative of literature’s potential as ‘laboratory of the possible’ (Westphal 2011, 63) in the way they envisage personal and societal resilience under environmental duress. The events in Weerwater, in particular, operate in close dialogue with discourses on Dutch can-do attitudes vis-à-vis the water, and with ideas on urban resilience in the face of rising water and global warming. Vloed eschews direct references to ecocritical concerns, but, like Weerwater, it draws extensively on tropes from flood fiction and environmental future fiction to reflect on the human capacity for survival, including concerns about reproduction, sexuality, and gender dynamics.

The collapsing temporalities in Vloed, and the sense of powerlessness felt in Weerwater by the protagonist when confronted with the otherworldly fog, can be interpreted as a reminder of the limits of language and narrative form for grasping the vast scales of climate change, but also as allegorical attempts to interrogate our interaction with the environment, with all the sensory and cognitive tentativeness such interaction entails. Our reading of Six and Dorrestein is in line with Astrid Bracke’s insistence, in her article ‘Flooded Futures: The Representation of the Anthropocene in Twenty-First-Century British Flood Fictions’, on the significance of the metafictional level in narratives that make use of flood tropes. As she suggests, the uncertainty in such narratives about what is real and what is unreal, within the storyworld as well as for the reader, chimes with ‘the deep epistemological uncertainty at the heart of the Anthropocene’ (2019, 284). In their use of indeterminate allegory, Dorrestein’s and Six’s texts emphasise the lack of control over sense-making processes, as particular narrative tropes turn out to have diverging and contradictory meanings. At the same time, the novels’ metaleptic operations affirm the creative, world-building potential of language, which, it is implied, literary fiction can unlock.”

Many thanks to co-author Stef Craps and to special issue editors Astrid Bracke and Katie Ritson; thanks also to the friendly hosts in Almere and Leuven during my visits to those cities; special thanks to the project manager of student home Torres for allowing me on the roof of the building – scene of the last man in Vloed.

The article is part of my research project on future cities at the water in literature, policy and planning – more on that project here.

“Peopling Urban Futures” – Master class and invited talk at UPEM, Paris, 11-12.2.2020

On my way to Paris for a master class and seminar on future cities. Looking forward to meet colleagues and students at the University Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallee. I’ll be talking about the affordances of literature for imagining future cities – what does fiction do differently when compared with policy and planning?

Excited to get in touch with the team of PARVIS at UPEM, a project which “consists in studying representations of the future city, in order to identify the multifaceted futuristic urban imaginaries, particularly in terms of climate change.” The PARVIS research project shares a number of close research interests with my own current project “Imagining City Futures” – looking forward to learn more and to collaborate. Thanks to prof. Irene Langlet for putting this together!

Master class title: ”Peopling Urban Futures” (11.2.2020)

Invited talk title: « Imaginer les villes futures à travers les discours : Affordances de la fiction littéraire, de l’aménagement et de la politique » (12.2.2020)

 

Programme (in French)

Paroles de villes 1: Approches / journée d’études

12.2.2020

9H30 – 10H Accueil (café, thé)

10H Introduction de la journée d’étude

Session 1 : A l’intersection des discours urbains et écologiques

Lieven Ameel: « Imaginer les villes futures à travers les discours : Affordances de la fiction littéraire, de l’aménagement et de la politique »

Pierre Schoentjes: « Le changement c’est quand ? Littérature et écologie »

11H40 >12H Pause

Session 2 : Bidonvilles en France, récits par l’image

Pascale Joffroy et Jacques Ippoliti, Groupe Parvis “Slumcity”

12H45>14H Déjeuner

Session 3 : Cadrage générique

Nadège Pérelle : « Fictions climatiques : cartographie des genres »

Irène Langlet: « Fictions climatiques, fictions urbaines, science-fiction : tentative de relevé de terrain(s) »

15H20>15H40 Pause

Session 4 : Paroles citoyennes et imaginaires urbains

Un représentant.e du CTC national (Collectif pour une Transition Citoyenne) et un.e représentant.e de l’Institut des Futurs Souhaitables.

16H20>16H30 Pause

Session 5 : Atelier PARVIS – Groupe “Modele”

Catherine Dominguès à propos du corpus soumis au Traitement Automatique des Langues

17H Mot de conclusion

 

Hope for the Future

(Future Turku / source: https://www.turku.fi/blogit/kohti-vuotta-2029/tulevaisuuspaivaa-turusta)

This spring I’m teaching a course on Hope in Future Narratives at the University of Turku. At the background of this course is a sense, undoubtedly familiar to many, that we live in a particularly future-oriented era, in which knowing the future has become something a of a moral imperative, a time in which we are individually and collectively urged to make decisions and take action based largely on future projections.

At the same time, many of the future visions were are confronted with – in media, policy texts, literature, and everyday modes of storytelling – are distinctly pessimistic, to the extent that their gloominess may impact on our sense of possible agency. Hence, a.o. recent calls for more “hopeful” visions of the future, or for the examinations of seed of hopefulness in the way current media and other narratives project possible worlds.

The aim of my course is to examine questions of hope and agency in literary (and other) narratives that are set in future or alternative storyworlds. How are such storyworlds structured? What rhetoric and narrative structures are put into play to convey hope, agency, or trajectories towards desirable or possible alternative futures?

As our opening discussions during the first lecture made clear, the subject of the course resonated with a number of students, with environmental anxiety one obvious point of reference, but also a more broadly felt sense of the need to be able to discuss and project possible alternative worlds.

Below, the readings for the course – all thoughts more than welcome!

Hope in Future Literature – From Golden Age Utopias to Contemporary Climate Fiction

[Toivoa tulevaisuudesta. Kaunokirjalliset tulevaisuusvisiot utopian kultakaudesta ilmastofiktioon]

University of Turku, Finland / Comparative Literature / Spring 2020 / lieven.ameel [a] utu.fi

Primary material

  • Leena Krohn 1985: Tainaron. 1st letter
  • Edward Bellamy 1888: Looking Backward: 2000–1887.
  • H. Auden. 1939. “In memory of W.B. Yeats.”
  • Edwin Morgan. 1965. “In Sobieski’s Shield.”
  • Oyvind Rimbereid. 2004. “Solaris korrigert” / “Solaris corrected”.
  • Colson Whitehead 1999: The Intuitionist.
  • Emily St. John Mandel 2014: Station Eleven.
  • EVAN global scenarios / Juha Itkonen 2009: Pelin henki.
  • Turku City Master Plan 2029.

Secondary material

  • Lubomir Dolezel 1998. Heterocosmica . Fiction and Possible Worlds. Johns Hopkins UP, 113-132.
  • Caroline Edwards 2019. Utopia and the Contemporary British Novel. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 16-25; pp.  35-49
  • Ernst Bloch: ”Introduction.” The Principle of Hope.
  • Richard Gunn 1987: ”Ernst Bloch’s The Principle of Hope.” The Edinburgh Review pp. 1-5.
  • Pirjo Lyytikäinen: “Modernin allegorian A ja O.” Joutsen / Svanen 2014. pp. 13-21.
  • Gifford, Terry. 2014. “Pastoral, Anti-Pastoral, and Post-Pastoral.”
  • Barbara Adam and Chris Groves 2009. Future matters: action, knowledge, ethics. Brill. pp. 13-15, 25-38.

Further reading

  • Ameel, Lieven. 2016. “Cities Utopian, Dystopian and Apocalyptic.” In Tambling, Jeremy (ed.): Palgrave Handbook of Literature and the City. London: Palgrave, 2016, 785-80.
  • Lilley, Deborah. ”Pastoral.” In Robert Eaglestone and Daniel O’Gorman (eds.): Routledge Companion to Twenty-First Century Literary Fiction. London: Routledge, 2019.
  • Wendell Bell 2003. Foundations of Futures Studies. London: Routledge.

Thanks to all the feedback I received from colleagues when I asked for future stories of hope – thanks, in particular, to Brian McAllister for suggesting Morgan’s “In Sobieski’s Shield”, to Anne-Marie Evans for reminding me of Station Eleven, and to Caroline Edwards for getting me inspired about the possibility of a utopian method of reading!

(Un)Fair Cities, Limerick 12-13 December 2019

The next few days will be quite hectic, with my first-ever visit to Ireland. Tomorrow I’ll be in Limerick for a meeting with people from the European COST Action “Writing Urban Places“, with work on the interstices of literary studies, architecture, and planning. Thursday and Friday 12-13 December I’ll participate in the conference “(Un)Fair Cities: Equity, Ideology and Utopia in Urban Texts”. The conference is the second ALUS conference (the fourth, if we include the previous HLCN conferences), and the first international conference of the Association for Literary Urban Studies. The conference is organized in collaboration with the Ralahine Centre for Utopian Studies.

Very much looking forward to the wide range of topics at the conference, which promises to be an intense but also cozy and reasonably small-scale gathering of literary urban studies and utopia scholars. Looking forward, in particular, to the keynote by Caroline Edwards, “The other city, the city of dreams: Literary Utopias and Literary Utopianism”

I’ll present a paper on “Peopling the Future Fair City: Affordances of Literary Fiction, Planning and Policy”, part of my research project at TIAS.

Paper abstract:

“Narrated future visions of (un)fair cities are about putting in place meaningful storyworlds (or cityworlds), with distinct spatial, temporal, moral, social, linguistic, and metaphoric dimensions and guided by their own modalities. But as important is the way in which these storyworlds are peopled in a way that gives readers of such future visions access to the qualia – the ’how it feels like’ – and to situated agency.

This paper draws on Adam and Groves’ Future Matters (2007), in which the authors warn against an “emptying of the future” (ibid., 2), in a bid to consider how different textual genres envision and people the future fair city. It aims to examine the affordances of literary fiction, urban planning, and policy, for imagining fair future cities, and the possibilities to act towards fair futures. Drawing on recent examples from New York City’s planning and literary fiction, I will argue that literary fiction is geared more toward embedding and embodying moral dilemmas, while planning and policy texts tend to focus on embedding decisions. However, the increasing use of non-fictional elements (reportage, lists, scientific detail) in future fiction, and the increasing use of fictional elements (fictional characters, personal experiences) blurs such clear-cut distinctions.”

Thanks for everyone at the Ralahine Centre, in particular Michael G. Kelly and Mariano Paz for the inspiring collaboration and for all the good work on the practical issues.

More on the conference:

(Un)Fair Cities. Equity, Ideology and Utopia in Urban Texts seeks to explore relations between the urban and the utopian, as manifested and explored in literary and cultural practice understood broadly,along another strand of the utopian problematic: that of the complex relations of the utopian and the ideological. These can be understood as antagonistic, with utopian departures challenging and undermining dominant ideological structures, of which the city is both producer and product. But they may also be analysed as dialectically conjoined, whereby utopian projections or disruptions form the basis upon which ideological reformulations are subsequently imagined and put in place.

(Un)Fair Cities. Equity, Ideology and Utopia in Urban Textsis the second international conference of the Association for Literary Urban Studiesand is organizedin association with the Ralahine Centre for Utopian Studies at the University of Limerick. Conference Organizers: Lieven Ameel (ALUS), Michael G. Kelly and Mariano Paz (Ralahine). Confirmed keynote speakers: Prof Antonis Balasopoulos (Associate Professor in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies,University of Cyprus);Dr Caroline Edwards (Senior Lecturer in Modern & Contemporary Literature, Birkbeck, University of London).

More on ALUS:

Association for Literary Urban Studies

The Association for Literary Urban Studies (ALUS, formerly Helsinki Literature and the City Network) provides an international and interdisciplinary platform for scholars studying the city in literature. Membership is free, and all scholars working within literary urban studies are warmly invited to join the association. It welcomes approaches that examine city narratives in a broad understanding, including approaches that combine urban studies, cultural geography, urban planning, future studies, and other relevant fields with the examination of narratives of cities. It aims to foster interdisciplinary research on city literature, including literature written in all languages and encompassing all historical periods. The Association for Literary Urban Studies organizes meetings twice a year in Finland for members residing in Finland or passing through, and one international conference every two years. It aims to cooperate with other international organizations to organize international seminars, conferences and events.

Scholars interested in the city and literature from all fields of study are most welcome to join ALUS. For further information on joining the network, contact ALUS secretary Anni Lappela at anni.lappela[at]helsinki.fi or ALUS president Jason Finch at jfinch[at]abo.fi


Image source: Shutterstock, Will Rodrigues

 

“The Future of Cities – Perspectives from Literature”

Today I’ll give a talk at the Turku City Library on ”The Future of Cities – Perspectives from Literature”. Welcome!

Turku Main Library – source: turku.fi

I’ll give a general overview of some of the findings from my current research project on imagining cities at the water across genres, with a particular focus on what literature can tell us about the future of cities. I’ll discuss a.o. Nathaniel Rich and New York; Antti Tuomainen; Anders Vacklin and Aki Parhamaa on Helsinki; Guido van Driel on Amsterdam.

The talk is part of the TIAS public lecture series.
More details below (in Finnish)

Puhun tänään Turun kaupungin pääkirjastossa kaupunkien tulevaisuudesta. Tervetuloa!

Luentoni on osa Turun yliopiston Ihmistieteiden tutkijakollegiumin yleisöluentosarjassa.

Kaupunkien tulevaisuus tässä ja nyt – näkökulmia kirjallisuudesta

http://www.turku.fi/tapahtuma/ma-11252019-1800-kaupunkien-tulevaisuus-tassa-ja-nyt-nakokulmia-kirjallisuudesta

Rannikoilla sijaitsevat kaupungit ovat epävarmojen aikojen edessä: nouseva merenpinta, ilmastonmuutos, muuttuvat työ- ja asumisolot luovat uhkaavia tulevaisuuskuvia. Radikaaleihin muutoksiin valmistaudutaan erilaisilla tulevaisuusvisioilla, joita tuottavat niin kaupunkisuunnittelijat, ajatushautomot, virkamiehet kuin taiteilijat ja kirjailijat. Tulevaisuusvisiot suuntaavat ymmärrystämme tulevaisuuden mahdollisuuksista sekä siitä, millaisina hahmottuvat kaupunkiemme tulevaisuuksien rajat. Tämä luento esittelee kaunokirjallisuuden mahdollisuuksia ja rajoja mahdollisten tulevaisuuksien luojana.

• ma 25.11. FT Lieven Ameel: Kaupunkien tulevaisuus tässä ja nyt – näkökulmia kirjallisuudesta
TIAS-luentosarja Studiossa maanantaisin klo 18-19.30
Tapahtuman osoite:
Linnankatu 2, Turku
Studio (pääkirjaston uudisosa, 1. krs)

Ontological Instability in Rimminen’s Early Prose at Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland

I’ll present a paper today on spatiality and ontological instability in Mikko Rimminen’s early prose today at the Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland, as part of the book launch of Contemporary Nordic Literature and Spatiality.

The paper will present the key arguments of my article “A Geo-ontological thump…” The full article is available in open access here.

Congratulations and thanks for excellent work on the book, Kristina Malmio and Kaisa Kurikka!

Programme of today’s seminar

(1 November 2019)

14:15 Kristina Malmio (University of Helsinki) & Kaisa Kurikka (University of Turku): Spatial Stories of the Nordic Countries

14:45 Lieven Ameel (University of Turku): “To the the end of the world” – Urban Apocalypse in Mikko Rimminen’s Early Prose

15:15 Short break

15:30 Elisabeth Friis (Lund University): On the Commons: a Geocritical Reading of Amager Fælled

16:00 Ralf Andtbacka (poet): Potsdamer Platz as Historical and Imaginative Space

16:30 Reception

 

 

Imre Szeman research visit to TIAS

Over the next few weeks, professor Imre Szeman from the University of Waterloo, Canada, will be visiting TIAS. Really looking forward to connect with his work with the environmental humanities and energy humanities.

We’ll have several research workshops, meetings with other scholars, and also two guest lectures – the lectures are open to the public, but please register if you plan to attend the Turku event:

Quitting (the) Habit: Fossil Fuels, Governmentality and the Politics of Energy Dependency

Guest lecture by Prof. Imre Szeman and Round Table

31 October 2019, Time: 14h-16h Place: Porthan Hall, Maaherran makasiini, University of Turku (Henrikinkatu 10, Turku)

Round Table with Imre Szeman, Pia Ahlback, Heikki Sirviö, Tere Vaden & Lieven Ameel

More information here

Energy (and) Humanities Seminar
hosted by UH Environmental Humanities Hub and HELSUS, University of Helsinki
Time: November 5th, 2019, at 2 pm – 6 pm,
Venue: Porthania, room 224, HELSUS Hub Lounge

Imre Szeman: “Eight Principles for a Critical Theory of Energy”

16.00-17.15: Prof. Imre Szeman (the University of Waterloo, Canada)
Imre Szeman conducts research on and teaches in the areas of energy humanities, environmental studies, critical and cultural theory, social and political philosophy, and Canadian studies. His most recent work has focused on energy humanities and petrocultures. http://imreszeman.ca/
17.15-18.00 – panel discussion “Energy Humanities’ Agenda”

More information here

Research Trip to New York – October 2019

I’m off to New York City for a research trip of a bit more than a week. I’ll be visiting a range of waterfront sites I’m examining in my research project “Imagining City Futures“. A.o. Hudson Yards, Riverside Park, Battery Park in Manhattan; Greenpoint, Red Hook, Rockaways and Jamaica Bay in Brooklyn. I’ll meet up with several people at City University of New York, and will talk about my work at the Department of City Planning.

(source: wikicommons)

Any thoughts on what lesser-known sites to absolutely see at the NY waterfront? Or people to meet who are working on planning narratives/waterfront futures/literary New York? Let me know! lieven.ameel [a] utu.fi

More on my New York waterfront research so far:

“The ‘Valley of Ashes’ and the ‘Fresh Green Breast’: Metaphors from The Great Gatsby in planning New York.” Planning Perspectives 2019, 34:5, 903-910. link

“Agency at / in the waterfront in New York City: Vision 2020 and New York 2140.” Textual Practice 2019. link

“Metaphorizations of the waterfront in New York City’s comprehensive waterfront plan Vision 2020 and Foer’s ‘The Sixth Borough.’” Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 2018. link