About the Workshop

This workshop, featuring Professor Alexis Wright, award winning author, Boisbouvier Chair in Australian Literature, University of Melbourne, is intended to provide an interdisciplinary forum in which to critically consider intersections and encounters between laws and the humanities in the context of the ‘Anthropocene epoch’.  A guest panel discussion with Professor Wright will also feature Dr Kate Wright, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of New England, and Co-founder and Co-coordinator of the Armidale Aboriginal Community Garden.

To be held on Friday 10th May 2019, this workshop will bring together a broad group of participants from a variety of disciplines.  Participants may be established or emerging scholars, including doctoral students.  Its purpose is to invite reflections on our writing practices and obligations in the context of climate change, in ‘writing place, writing laws’.

The call for papers is now closed.  Registration for all non-presenting participants is now open and the program is now available for download. Please send any queries to Dr Kathleen Birrell at kbirrell@unimelb.edu.au.

The workshop will be preceded by an optional Laws & Environmental Humanities fortnightly reading group, which will commence on Wednesday 27th February 2019 at Melbourne Law School. It will also continue and extend conversations on methodological engagements in laws and the humanities, begun at the Methodology in Law and the Humanities Workshop (Melbourne Law School, October 2018).

The Workshop will dwell upon the following themes and provocations:

Narrative:  How do we ‘narrate, create and legislate’ the ‘Anthropocene’?  How do we locate ourselves and our laws, in time and space, but also within the epistemological and ontological traditions in which we are immersed?  How do narratives compete and entwine in a recuperation of cosmopolitanism as ‘eco-cosmopolitanism’?

Encounter:  In what ways does climate change facilitate and/or hinder productive encounters between laws?  Between scholarly disciplines?  Between human and non-human species?  What are our responsibilities in such encounters?  How might we be responsive and attentive to authority, legitimacy and transformation from a variety of sources?

Imagination:   Climate change has been described as a crisis of culture and imagination.  How is political subjectivity and activism in this era subordinated to ‘catastrophic imaginaries’?  What is the political and juridical force of imagination in the ‘Anthropocene’?  Can the imperatives of climate change be disentangled from global rhetoric and understood from within imaginaries in place?