Friday, November 1, 2013

Contact Ecologies

Please join us for our next big MEMSI event, a day-long symposium with a keynote by Timothy Morton and presentations by Bruce Holsinger, Anne Harris, Kellie Robertson, and Steve Mentz. Although this event is free and open to the public, we need accurate numbers and ask you to please RSVP here

Contact Ecologies
Friday, November 15, 2013
Marvin Center 310
800 21st St. NW
Washington, DC 20052
11:00am - 5:30pm


11:00 – 12:30: Bruce Holsinger and Anne Harris 
Session Chair: Haylie Swenson, GWU

“Ecologies of the Archive”
Bruce Holsinger is professor of English at the University of Virginia.  His books include: Music, Body, and Desire in Medieval Culture: Hildegard of Bingen to Chaucer (Stanford 2001), The Premodern Condition: Medievalism and the Making of Theory (Chicago 2005), Neomedievalism, Neoconservatism, and the War on Terror (Prickly Paradigm/Chicago, 2007), and the forthcoming The Work of God: Liturgical Culture and Vernacular Writing in Britain, 550-1550 (Chicago).  His first novel, A Burnable Book, will be published by HarperCollins (UK) and William Morrow (US) in 2014. He is currently finishing up a book called Archive of the Animal: Science, Sacrifice, and the Parchment Inheritance, which explores the parchment record of the Western tradition.

“Eco-Echo: Acoustic Ecology and Crusader Contact”
Anne Harris received her PhD from the University of Chicago with a dissertation about stained glass in medieval and modern popular culture. She is now professor of Art History at DePauw University where she teaches courses on gender, race, class, sexuality and ecology in medieval art. She writes about the reception and perception of medieval art with an emphasis on its materiality and presence. Publications on stained glass, the Roman de la Rose, actual and virtual pilgrimage, and medieval devotional images made of alabaster, wood, and ivory continue to shape questions about the experience of medieval art. She blogs at and writes for the Material Collective at

12:30 – 2:00: Lunch 

2:00 – 3:30: Kellie Robertson and Steve Mentz
Session Chair: Lowell Duckert, West Virginia University

"Nature versus Ecology"
Kellie Robertson teaches at the University of Maryland. She is the author of The Laborer’s Two Bodies: Labor and the ‘Work’ of the Text in Medieval Britain, 1350-1500 and co-editor (with Michael Uebel) of a collection of essays entitled The Middle Ages at Work: Practicing Labor in Late Medieval England. Her current book project, Nature Speaks: Medieval Literature and Aristotelian Natural Philosophy, examines late medieval poetry in the context of its physics, arguing that both domains struggled over how to represent nature in the wake of Aristotelian science.

“Epochal Contacts”
Steve Mentz is Professor of English at St John's University in New York City. His work on the ecological and oceanic humanities includes the book At the Bottom of Shakespeare's Ocean (2009), many journal articles, and a gallery exhibition at the Folger Shakespeare Library, "Lost at Sea: The Ocean in the English Imagination, 1550-1750" (2010). He also writes about narrative romance, media technologies, and the poetics of swimming. His most recent publication is the co-edited volume, *The Age of Thomas Nashe: Texts, Books, and Trespasses of Authorship in Early Modern England* (2013), and he is currently completing a book on shipwreck and ecological globalization from Shakespeare to Defoe.

4:00 – 5:30: Timothy Morton

Timothy Morton is Rita Shea Guffey Chair of English at Rice University. He is the author of Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World (Minnesota UP, 2013), Realist Magic: Objects, Ontology, Causality (Open Humanities Press, 2013), The Ecological Thought (Harvard UP, 2010), Ecology without Nature (Harvard UP, 2007), seven other books and ninety essays on philosophy, ecology, literature, food and music. He blogs regularly at

Please email Haylie Swenson ( with any questions, and we hope to see you there!