Imagining Climate Change: Science and Fiction in Dialogue brings together French and American science fiction authors, graphic novelists, scholars, physical scientists and researchers, to discuss the effects of climate change on the physical environment and the human imaginary. As we move into a warmer, drier, and more unstable global climate, climate studies will be more central to our scientific understanding of the world. The distinctive literary form of our time, science fiction bridges elite and popular cultures and engages enthusiasts and critics alike. It is uniquely suited to lively and productive debates of questions of fundamental concern to scientists and humanists tasked with forecasting our individual and collective futures.
This project creates a series of venues in which artists, scholars, scientists, and the general public will collaborate on the necessary work of imagining climate change. We will bring influential and award-winning French and American authors and artists to the UF campus to engage in public dialogue with UF scientists working in climate studies and water management, to explore new ways of representing and responding to environmental change, and of communicating the probable and possible consequences of that change to the general public. Our conversations will aim at a better understanding of the relation between the sciences and imaginative fiction and art, and a mapping of the effects of science on fiction and of fiction on science, so as to gauge the influence of anthropogenic climate change on literary and cultural production. We will foster also international dialogues on these subjects, showcasing the work of major French authors, graphic novelists, and scholars (Christian Chelebourg, Yann Quero and Jean Marc Ligny), putting these individuals into close contact with their American and African counterparts (Nathaniel Rich, Tobias Buckell, Jeff Vandermeer, Wanuri Kahiu) with American scientists (Andrea Dutton, Ellen Martin), and with an American public. Thus we promote French literary production to a diverse and influential American audience and will, we are confident, create new opportunities for joint international research and artistic creation.
The first event took place on October 9-10, 2015 at the University of Florida. Participants included Jean-Marc Ligny, Nathaniel Rich and Andrea Dutton. Detail of the program can be found here: Fall 2015 Symposium
The second event will take place on February 17-18, 2016. Program and details can be found here: Spring 2016
The UF units participating in the project include the FFRI, which coordinates, the Department of English, the Center for African Studies, the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere, the UF Water Institute, and the Florida Climate Institute.
Project coordinators: Dr Alioune Sow (LLC / Center for Afircan Studies and Dr Terry Harpold (English)
Other participants: Gangnes Madeline (English)