Online lecture by Prof. Marco Caracciolo: ‘Short Forms and Uncertain Times in Climate Change Fiction’

Pisa / Online, 12 December 2023, 9:00-10:00 CET

Credits: 1EC (please see assignment details below)

Registration opens via this link on November 1st, 9am and closes on December 5th, end of day.

On December 12th, Prof. Marco Caracciolo (Ghent University) will give a hybrid lecture titled ‘Short Forms and Uncertain Times in Climate Change Fiction,’ as part of a conference on short fiction taking place at the University of Pisa. Prof. Caracciolo’s talk and the ensuing Q&A will be in English, and will be streamed online for OSL students; a Google Meet link will be shared with all registered participants closer to the date of the event.

The ecological crisis doesn’t only give rise to unprecedented material, technological, and political challenges, but it also takes a heavy toll on mental health. This paper focuses on narrative literature that foregrounds the psychological ramifications of climate change; literature, in other words, that portrays characters experiencing what has been variously called “eco-anxiety” or “solastalgia” (in Glenn Albrecht’s terminology). I am particularly interested in how short narrative forms and brevity on a stylistic level can evoke the sense of fragmentation and futurelessness that defines the psychology of climate anxiety. To that end, I will draw on work on the phenomenology of anxiety and discuss examples from contemporary Anglophone literature, including fiction by Lauren Groff and Jenny Offill.

In order to obtain 1EC from this activity, OSL students are required to:
1) Read Chapter 1 from Marco Caracciolo, Contemporary fiction and climate uncertainty : narrating unstable futures, Bloomsbury, 2022, Open Access (‘Uncertainty in the Future Tense,’ pp. 25-54);
2) Send a question for Prof. Caracciolo to by December 10th, end of day;
3) Submit a short report on the talk and Q&A (approx. 300 words) to by Monday 8 January 2024, end of day.

Speaker’s Bio
Marco Caracciolo is an Associate Professor of English and Literary Theory at Ghent University in Belgium. After receiving a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Bologna in 2012, he has held fellowships in Hamburg, Groningen, and Freiburg. In 2011, he was a visiting scholar within Project Narrative at Ohio State University. His work has been funded by the European Research Council, the Dutch Research Council (NWO), and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. He is the author of several books, including most recently Slow Narrative and Nonhuman Materialities (University of Nebraska Press, 2022) and Contemporary Fiction and Climate Uncertainty: Narrating Unstable Futures (Bloomsbury, 2022). His articles have appeared in journals including New Literary History, PMLA, SubStance, Poetics Today, and Narrative.