Robert E. Knoll Lecture: Stacy Alaimo

Date: Time: 5:00 pm–7:00 pm
Andrews Hall Room: Bailey Library
Additional Info: ANDR
Contact: Marco Abel, mabel2@unl.edu
The 2017 Robert E. Knoll Lecture, “Deep Sea Speculations: Literature and Science in the Abyss,” will be presented by Stacy Alaimo, professor of English, Distinguished Teaching Professor, and Former Director of the Environmental and Sustainability Studies Minor at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Perhaps because deep sea life has long been a mystery, the literature and science of the abyssal realms have been intertwined through their speculative practices. Such speculations mix science and aesthetics, taxonomy and narrative imaginings of the lifeworlds of “alien” creatures. William Beebe, the early 20th century scientist and explorer, attempted to describe the animals he encountered while diving into the deep seas in his bathysphere in the 1930s. Beebe’s scientific stories are xenophilic, but John Wyndam’s 1953 novel, THE KRAKEN WAKES, which begins with Beebe, ultimately imagines strange “xenobathic intelligences” that threaten humanity. Drawing on Vilém Flusser and Lois Bec in VAMPYROTEUTHIS INFERNALIS who present a weird meditation on what it could mean for humans to cross into the world of a mollusc, this talk will consider the challenges of marine animal studies, abyssal posthumanisms, and the blue humanities. The talk draws from Dr. Alaimo’s book in progress, COMPOSING BLUE ECOLOGIES: SCIENTIFIC AND AESTHETIC CAPTURES OF ABYSSAL LIFE.

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