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Public Talk and Master Class by Dr. Jennifer Wenzel (Columbia University) Friday, February 12th (16:00-18:00)  The ASCA Political Ecologies Seminar welcomes its next guest speaker, Dr. Jennifer Wenzel for a masterclass and public lecture drawn from her most recent book, 'The Disposition of Nature' (Fordham University Press, 2020).

Detail Summary
Start date 11 February 2021
End date 12 February 2021

This year’s ASCA Political Ecologies Seminar is organized by Drs. Jeff Diamanti and Joost de Bloois and explores interdisciplinary perspectives on “The Ecology of Forms.” 

Public Lecture by Jennifer Wenzel on Friday, February 12 (16:00-18:00, live on zoom and Facebook)

Title of talk: Reading for the Planet: Environmental Crisis and World Literature

This talk situates the Anthropocene and the recent revival of interest in "world literature" as instances of broader dynamics of world-imagining. It offers an expanded narrative of globalization, by looking back to moments of capitalist expansion that precede neoliberalism and by recognizing the environment (particularly in colonial peripheries) as globalization's material condition of possibility and its product. The talk also argues for the relevance of the literary to environmental thought and practice. Far beyond the domain of literary study, our ideas about nature are mediated by literary tropes and narrative forms and genres in way that precede and exceed representation in any particular text: cultural logics shape what "counts" as nature or crisis. A supple understanding of the workings of cultural imagining and narrative logics, therefore, might foster more robust accounts of global inequality, in order to energize movements for justice and livable futures.

Suggested Readings: 

Jennifer Wenzel, “Chapter 3: From Waste Lands to Wasted Lives: Enclosure as Aesthetic Regime and Property Regime” from The Disposition of Nature (Fordham UP 2020)

John Locke “Of Property” 

Mahasweta Devi, “Dhowli”

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 878 6456 0173


Jennifer Wenzel is a scholar of postcolonial studies and environmental and energy humanities at Columbia University, where she is jointly appointed in the Department of English and Comparative Literature and the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies. Her new book, The Disposition of Nature: Environmental Crisis and World Literature, was published by Fordham University Press, and was shortlisted for the 2020 Book Prize awarded by the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present (ASAP). With Imre Szeman and Patricia Yaeger, she co-edited Fueling Culture: 101 Words for Energy and Environment (Fordham 2017). Her first book, Bulletproof: Afterlives of Anticolonial Prophecy in South Africa and Beyond (Chicago and KwaZulu-Natal, 2009), was awarded Honorable Mention for the Perkins Prize by the International Society for the Study of Narrative. Her current research examines the fossil-fueled imagination, in literature, visual culture, and public life, and she’s also at work on a pair of articles about the novels of Thomas Mofolo.  

Masterclass with Jennifer Wenzel on Thursday, February 11 (16:00-17:00)

Contact Jeff Diamanti at or Joost de Bloois at to sign up for the masterclass and for access to the readings 


Jennifer Wenzel, "Forms of Life: Thinking Infrastructure and its Narrative Grammar." 

Jennifer Wenzel, “How to Read for Oil,” Resilience 1.3 (Fall 2014)

Calvino, "The Petrol Pump"

Imre Szeman and Dominic Boyer, “The Rise of Energy Humanities”