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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Oceans and Deserts conference aims to bridge gap between science, humanities

    The Department of German Studies
    Promotional poster for Oceans and Deserts.

    The UA Department of German Studies will host the third annual Oceans and Deserts 2016: Charting Transdisciplinary Currents in Environment and Culture on Friday and Saturday.  This is a conference for graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and junior faculty who wish to share their environmental humanities research.

    By examining the relationship between culture and the environment, the conference bridges the sciences and humanities to understand how these two subjects are related and how they influence each other. Additionally, the conference encourages inclusivity and strives to break down institutional boundaries, which promotes the reversal of the disciplinary isolation that currently divides the humanities and the sciences.

    Organized by graduate students in the German department, there will be a number of presentations covering topics such as politicized perception of alien species in Poland, environmental culture in China, and the National Park history in the U.S., according to Dr. Joela Jacobs, an assistant professor of German studies and the conference’s faculty sponsor.

    Jacobs explained that the program “shows what humanities research can contribute to the way we think and talk about the environment and the challenges we are facing in this context.”

    “We wanted to bring together fresh research from many different areas in the humanities to tie into existing conversations here at the [UA], and to broaden our horizons by finding out what kind of research is done around the world,” Jacobs said.

    Keynote speaker Dr. Sean Ireton, an associate professor of German at the University of Missouri, will also give a talk titled, “Towards a Cross-Cultural Environmental Ethics: From Germany to Arizona.” 

    Executive Director of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Craig Ivanyi, will give a special tour of the Desert Museum on Sunday morning, in addition to Ireton’s speech. 

    There will also be an oceans and deserts themed Fisch Out of Water event on Friday evening. Fisch Out of Water is a monthly event hosted by the Deutscher Studenten Club that encourages and celebrates the uniqueness of native tongues, and how these “quirks” alter the foreign languages that one learns. 

    This special themed event will focus on environmental issues and the interconnectedness between environmental studies and the learning and development of languages.

    The conference will take place Friday and Saturday in the Environmental and Natural Resources II Building, room S107. The event is free and open to the public, however, it is appreciated if individuals wishing to attend the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum tour register in advance.

    Follow Exene Anderson on Twitter.

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