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Scholars Explore the Relationship Between Nature and Narrative

The Department of English hosted the interdisciplinary conference, “Nature and Narrative,” bringing together scholars from across the globe to discuss the interconnectivity of story and environment.

Organized by SLU-Madrid professor Ryan Day, Ph.D., the all-day event was characterized by a ground-breaking, respectful and profoundly multifarious focus. With participants hailing from Italy, Spain, the U.S., Germany, Czech Republic, Morocco, the U.K and even India, the diversified atmosphere echoed the very identity of SLU’s Madrid Campus.

Nature and Narrative conference

Dr. Anne McCabe introduces SLU-Madrid alumna, Dr. Raelynne Hale (M.A., 2014), who connects from Germany via videoconference to present. 

Dr. Day, whose fields of research and expertise align with the topics handled at the conference, commented, “With discussions ranging from ecocriticism, ecofeminism, ethnobotanist, biosemiotics, biopoetics, animal studies and umwelt building, it was a day in which the attendees sought to create bridges through the anthropocene and explored pedagogical methods to bring students closer to the world they occupy through writing.”

During the the Ecological Humanities panel, an audience member posed the following question to the board: Is conservation still relevant? Imana Pal, Ph.D ventured a thought-provoking response, “Yes, but it is more of a learning experience than an informational experience.”

The day continued to invite conversation about topics that are difficult, such as the future of the environment, psychology and human-nature relationships; Tiara Roxanne’s utterance of “dehisence” as an alternative solution to healing through splitting was evocative, while Dr. Kevin Moore delved into the complexity of the overused and oftentimes overlooked literary term of stream of consciousness, tracing it back to William James and his proposition of a stream of thoughts flowing freely along images that are steeped into our mind.

Both the English department and the conference organizers extend their thanks to the participants who contributed to making this conference a success.