London-Paris Romanticism Seminar: Kate Rigby, online seminar, Friday 21 April 2023

The next meeting of the London-Paris Romanticism Seminar will take place via Zoom on Friday 21 April 2023 at 17.30-19.30 London time (GMT+1). As our distinguished guest speaker, we are delighted to welcome Professor Kate Rigby of the University of Cologne, who will present a paper entitled Sympoesie: Augmentation, Conviviality and Collaboration in Romantic Ecopoetics. This will be followed by a discussion in which questions from the audience are invited. The seminar will be chaired by David Duff.

The seminar is free and open to everyone. Prior registration is necessary. To book a place via the Institute of English Studies website, click here. When you register, you will be provided with a Zoom link and details of how to join the online forum. Whether you wish to contribute or simply to listen in, we invite you to join us.

Prof. Dr. Kate Rigby is Alexander von Humboldt Professor of Environmental Humanities at the University of Cologne, where she leads a research hub for Multidisciplinary Environmental Studies in the Humanities. Her research lies at the intersection of environmental literary, philosophical, historical and religious studies, with a specialist interest in European Romanticism, ecopoetics, and multispecies studies, and her books include Topographies of the Sacred: The Poetics of Place in European Romanticism (2004), Dancing with Disaster: Environmental Histories, Narratives, and Ethics for Perilous Times (2015) and Reclaiming Romanticism: Towards an Ecopoetics of Decolonization (2020). A key researcher with the Humanities for the Environment Mellon Australia-Pacific Observatory, she was the inaugural President of the Association for the Study of Literature, Environment and Culture (Australia-New Zealand), and the founding Director of the Australia-Pacific Forum on Religion and Ecology. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

Regarding the topic of her paper, Kate writes:

‘Sympoiesis, literally meaning “making-with”, has become a key term in contemporary endeavours to reconfigure human inter-relationships with our Earth others in the face of deepening ecological and climate crisis. This paper examines the pre-history of this concept within German and British Romantic thought and literature, disclosing three distinct variants of sympoiesis within Romantic ecopoetics: namely, potentiation, whereby human creative agency is understood as the realisation of possibilities that would otherwise lie dormant within natural becoming; conviviality, entailing creative practices that affirm collective flourishing; and collaboration, enabling forms of multispecies co-creation. This consideration of Romantic precursors to the current enthusiasm for sympoiesis reveals ambiguities and complexities of meaning that can help to clarify the promise, but also the potential pitfalls, of sympoetic praxis in the present.’