CDRS Research Spotlight: Discourses of Sustainability and Futurity across the Environmental Humanities

In-person and Online

Collaborative Digital Research Space MN3230 at the University of Toronto Mississauga

Zoom link sent to registered attendees


Text, "CDRS Research Spotlight."

Join the CDRS on November 20th, 2023, at 12pm EST for a hybrid Research Spotlight event: “Discourses of Sustainability and Futurity across the Environmental Humanities.” Panelists Joseph Gerbasi (UofT), Sarandha Jain (UofT), Bethany Wiggin (UPenn), Jane Robbins Mize (UPenn), Venus Bivar (Oxford), and Martha Swift (Oxford) with moderator Imre Szeman (UofT) will discuss the role of futurity in ’sustainability’ discourses. Approaching this issue from various disciplinary backgrounds, the panellists will also consider how their own work engages with speculative environmental futures which are foundational to the notion of 'sustainability' itself. All are welcome to join either in person at the Collaborative Digital Research Space in the Maanjiwe Nendamowinan building (MN3230) at the University of Toronto Mississauga, or virtually on Zoom.

Flyer for event, "CDRS CDRS Research Spotlight: Discourses of Sustainability and Futurity across the Environmental Humanities."

Speaker Bios:

Imre Szeman is the Director of the Institute for Environment, Conservation and Sustainability at UTSC and a full professor of Human Geography. He was previously University Research Chair of Environmental Communication at the University of Waterloo (2017-2022), Canada Research Chair of Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta (2009-2016), and Senator William McMaster Chair in Globalization and Cultural Studies at McMaster University. In 2020, I was named as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. From 2021-2022, he served as the Climate Critic for the Green Party of Canada. The focus of my current research is on social and political change emerging from and in relation to energy transition.

Venus Bivar is Associate Professor of Environmental History at St Anne's College, University of Oxford. Her research and teaching are located at the intersection of environmental, economic, and European history. Her scholarship excavates the histories of major contemporary global phenomena, from the international agricultural trade system and climate change, to the primacy of economics in political life and the centrality of free markets to the liberal democratic state.

Bethany Wiggin is a Professor of German and the Founding Director of the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities; Graduate Groups in Comparative Literature and English. Her books and essays explore histories of migration, language, multilingualism, and cultural translation since the Columbian exchange across the Atlantic world, and her work has appeared in journals ranging from the PMLA to the journal Nature.

Jane Robbins Mize is Visiting Assistant Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at Hamilton College and received her Ph.D. in English from the University of Pennsylvania and her B.A. in English and Latin from the University of Texas at Austin. Her current book project, Waterworks: Settler Industrialization and North American Literature, examines case studies in the Mojave Desert, Florida Everglades, and elsewhere to reveal how writers theorized human–water relations at sites of large-scale industrial transformation.

Joseph Gerbasi is a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto researching the influence of Greek oratory on Plato’s dialogues, showing how Plato’s political thought is rooted in the concerns of the public speech of his day—concerns about civic identity, collective memory, and democratic sovereignty, for example. His research has taken inspiration from longstanding debates in social and political theory and history. He is also beginning a project that brings together ancient philosophy and environmental humanities. 

Sarandha Jain is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto studying the multi-nodal network of petroleum manufacturing, circulation, and use in India, examining petroleum as an infrastructure for the Indian state and society. To understand the politics of petroleum in the everyday, she studies the modes of government, forms of sociality, and constellations of power that petroleum produces and is produced by, both in its manufacturing and its use. 

Martha Swift is a writer, researcher and educator. She is currently a Commonwealth Scholar at the University of Oxford, where she is a DPhil Candidate in the Faculty of English. She is also a Postgraduate Member of the Rothermere American Institute