Resilient Environments and World Literatures: Post Disaster Recovery and Future Worlds (Panel)

World Literatures (non-European Languages) / Comparative Literature

Giulia Baquè (Ca' Foscari University, Venice, Italy / Heidelberg University, Germany)

Recently, resilience has become prominent in many different areas of research and scholarship. Despite its various characterizations, resilience can be broadly defined as the ability of an ecosystem to recover, after a disturbance that generated losses (see Lake 2013, Wiig and Fahlbruch 2019). In particular, the concept of resilience developed into an essential perspective in the case of environmental degradation, pollution and disaster. Literary works across cultures, languages and geographical spaces have been dealing with how communities - human and nonhuman alike - manage to survive and build resilience in the space and time of disaster or in damaged, polluted and contaminated environments. However, as Karen Thornber notices, resilience oftentimes is represented in very ambiguous terms (2016). Therefore, this panel wants to analyze the various ways in which resilience has been conceptualized, narrated or described in world literatures. It wants to address the complex issues that ecofictions bring forward across various languages and cultures and how these literary works represent the conflicted nature of resilience. Furthermore, this panel is also interested in researching the possibilities that resilience opens up for the narrativizations and conceptualizations of future worlds that could develop in the aftermath of disasters or environmental degradation. Some of the questions this panel wants to discuss are: How do world literatures construct resilience as a way to respond and overcome the collapse of the environments we and our nonhuman others live in? How do world literatures use varied expressions of resilience to build possible future worlds? How can resilience be ambiguous and how have world literatures described this ambiguity?

This panel looks at how literary works from across cultures and languages conceptualize resilience and its ambiguities in response to environmental degradation. How do world literatures use varied expressions of resilience to build possible future worlds?