The Meaning of Literature in an Era of Climate Emergency

A Digital Essay on "European Climate Fiction" - A Joint Project by Freie Universität Berlin and the Literary Colloquium Berlin / Available online starting August 19, 7:00 p.m.

No 139/2020 from Aug 17, 2020

A joint project between Freie Universität Berlin and the Literary Colloquium Berlin (LCB), available online from 7:00 p.m. on August 19, centers on the significance and functions of literature and its aesthetic strategies in a climate emergency. Students at Freie Universität Berlin and the LCB present a digital essay developed in response to an ongoing seminar series, "The Climate Crisis in European Literatures." The event will take the form of a digital essay to be published on the LCB homepage in English on August 19 and then available online at lcb.de/digitalessay/­european-climate-fiction. Access is free, and no registration is necessary.

The digital essay is divided up into four parts, each examining the topic of climate fiction from a European perspective. Part I focuses on the role of climate fiction in young people’s literature. Part II investigates emotions in response to the discourse around the climate emergency and its potential as a catalyst for activism. In Part III, the discussion centers on how climate change is transforming landscapes and social spaces. Finally, Part IV looks at aesthetic strategies of writing in the Anthropocene - a term used by scientists to designate our current era characterized by the influence of human beings on the Earth. Can literature offer strategies for thinking differently about time and space?

The project includes a discussion via videolink between dramatist Thomas Köck, the author Saci Lloyd, and Clara Mayer from Fridays for Future

The original seminar from which the project emerged was held as part of the master’s degree program "Applied Literary Studies - Contemporary Literature," a degree offered jointly by the Institute of English Language and Literature, the Institute of German and Dutch Languages and Literatures, the Institute of Romance Languages and Literatures, and the Peter Szondi Institute of Comparative Literature at Freie Universität Berlin.


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