Colloque « Voicing absences/Presences in a Damaged World »

Organisé par Marc Maufort et Jessica Maufort
Le 3 décembre 2021

By many accounts, we are now living on a “damaged planet” (Tsing et al), and by the same token we are damaged as well. This “we” encompasses all earthly life forms, from animals and plants, the soil and natural elements, human beings, to various organisms invisible to the human eye. Environmental degradation and toxification, species depletion, dwindling biodiversity, threatened cultural knowledges and languages, and even recent pandemics are but a few examples of the injuries and losses sustained by earthlings. As a result, our damaged world is saturated with uncanny “absences/presences,” or “ghosts,” i.e. “the vestiges and signs of past ways of life still charged in the present” (Gan et al G1).  

In this annual conference of the Belgian Association of Anglicists in Higher Education, contributors approach various instances of absences/presences from the disciplines of literary/cultural studies, linguistics, and/or translation studies. They reflect on the possible means of voicing, narrating, and representing them in a wide sense, since, to paraphrase Donna Haraway, we have to live with the damage and the absences/presences it creates. These strategies ultimately aim at affirming endurance against the forces of extinction, as well as fostering an ethics of care, both pragmatically and imaginatively, for our world at risk (Heise). 

The conference will feature two keynote lectures by Professor Kate Rigby (Bath Spa University), an expert in ecopoetics and eco-spirituality, and Professor Alexa Weik von Mossner (University of Klagenfurt), a pioneer in the field of affective ecocriticism.