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Virtual: Environmentalism, Fantasy and Intersectionality: A Comparison Between the US and the EU - UNC Global

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Virtual: Environmentalism, Fantasy and Intersectionality: A Comparison Between the US and the EU

November 5, 2020 - November 6, 2020

Note: This event has been rescheduled to Nov. 5-6, 2020. It was originally planned for March 26-27, 2020. This event will be held virtually.

This conference takes up the question of how fantasy and science fiction are used to address minority issues, specifically as they relate to environmental concerns in the European Union and the U.S. Scholars will gather from the EU and the U.S. to present and discuss work on female and ethnic minority authors and directors using fantasy to engage with environmental issues, and the impact of human society on environment. Conference panel themes include: the Anthropocene, “A Transdisciplinary Approach to Scifi”, “The Secret Life of Trash”, and “Teaching Alternative Futurisms”.

As prelude to the conference, films Snowpiercer and Children of Men were screened at UNC-CH’s FedEx Global Education Center.

Conference Schedule

Thurs., Nov. 5


1:00-2:15 p.m.

Humanization and Belonging: Reproduction, Environment, Futurity
Sherryl Vint (UC-Riverside)


2:30-3:45 p.m.

Ethics and Living with Environmental Challenges

Deniz Göktürk (UC Berkeley), “The Secret Life of Trash”
Gabriel Trop (UNC), “Giordano Bruno Latour: Bonding as Paradigm of Power”
Christina Weiler (UNC), “Uncanny Women, Exploitation, and Animal Ethics in Ludwig Tieck’s Fairy Tale “Fair-haired Eckbert”


4:00-5:00 p.m.

Rebuilding in a Post-apocalyptic Era

Sam Amago (UVA), “Anthropocenic Endings in Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men”
Eliza Rose, (UNC), “Ultrasounds of Nothing: Antinatalist Moods in Polish Science Fiction, 1981 and Today”

Fri., Nov., 6



Race, Class and Future Inequalities

Aidan Power (Exeter), “In Our Immense Sarcophagus We Lay: Charting the Anthropocene in EU Science Fiction Films”
Paul Bucholz (Emory), “Nomadism in the Environmental Dystopias of Sophie Klotz and Nicolas Born”
Evan Torner (Cincinnati), “Whiteness, Pessimism, and Futurity in German Science-Fiction Cinema”


3:00-4:00 p.m.

Pedagogical Approaches to Scifi and Intersectionality

Renée Alexander Craft (UNC), Afrofuturism, Ethical World Traveling, and Holding a Space for Difference
Michele Berger, Courtney Woods and Priscilla Layne (UNC), “A Transdisciplinary Approach to Teaching Scifi”
Susan Thananopavarn (Duke), “Teaching Alternative Futurisms”

Please RSVP for the events you plan to attend. There are three separate RSVP forms: for the symposium keynote, the panels on Thursday, November 5, and the panels on Thursday, November 6. If you plan to attend all of the symposium events, please fill out each separate RSVP form.

Read more for the entire conference schedule.


This conference is organized by Priscilla Layne, associate professor of German and adjunct associate professor of African, African American, and Diaspora Studies at UNC. The conference events are co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union. In addition, this conference is co-sponsored by the UNC Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures and the UNC Department of Romance Studies.