1Mcgill - Montreal (Canada), 2Ucla - Los Angeles (United States)
Sujet en anglais / Topic in english
This session contributes to current debates about climate change that are at the forefront of public and academic discourse by re-assessing the intersections of global mobility, environmental change, and artistic invention before the advent of the modern era. It investigates how the global escalation of environmental degradation generated the creation of green worlds in the early modern period (ca. 1492-1700). Papers will explore aspects of the real and imaginary green worlds of early modernity. Green worlds are human-made environments. They are created by practices like gardening, engineering, agriculture, deforestation, and land reclamation; they are also fabricated in the fictive worlds of painting, performance, theatre, and poetry. A green world is a second world; it is a controlled space that transforms matter and thus vies with nature in shaping artfully designed settings.
The focus of the session will be on the role of visual imagery, built environments, and material artefacts that advance new understandings of the world as a human-made invention. We aim to take up questions raised by ecocritical and anti-colonial approaches to art and art history and to be particularly attentive to the power dynamics that occur in various modes of engagement with matter and materiality. We are especially interested in exploring the tension between the creation and destruction of green worlds. Of importance is how early modern worldmaking occurred in tandem with the human and environmental devastation unleashed by increasing global mobility, which facilitated the brutal exploitation and extermination of people and natural resources worldwide.