Call for Papers: Unexpected Encounters with Deep Time: Haunting | Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network

20110225_171844_RowellseedvaultCall for Papers: Unexpected Encounters with Deep Time: Haunting
 Posted on 11th February 2016 by David Farrier

Unexpected Encounters with Deep Time: Haunting
9-5pm, Wednesday, 20th April 2016
Project Room, 50 George Square, University of Edinburgh

The third and final workshop in the Unexpected Encounters with Deep Time series, organised by the Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network. The workshop will be accompanied by a public keynote lecture from Prof Steven Hartman, title tbc, at 6pm on Tuesday 19th April.


Ghosts are, perhaps first and foremost, expressions of desire: to connect, communicate, or commingle across boundaries. One of the most challenging aspects of the Anthropocene—both conceptually and ethically—is the way it puts the present in contact with distant times (past and future) beyond the scope of human experience, or even imagining. The time we live in is, in this respect, very much out of joint.

This workshop, the final in our series of discussions of ‘unexpected encounters with deep time’, will take the figure of the ghost as an index of this disjunctive time, as a way of thinking about the connections between deep pasts and deep futures that reside within the everyday. Much recent work in the Environmental Humanities has considered the implications of the uncanny time of the Anthropocene, from the multispecies and geologic genealogies of (respectively) Deborah Bird Rose and Kathryn Yusoff, to the urging of the distant ancestor (Nigel Clark) and the ghost of the unborn (Timothy Clark) that disturbs the unilateral excesses of contemporary (capitalist) ‘presentism’. The conceptual frameworks in play have been equally diverse, from Derridean hauntology to indigenous worldviews, and the example of Holocaust studies. This strand of the ‘Unexpected Encounters’ series will consider this equation of haunted time with ethical time, and how the spectral can complicate our ways of thinking and describing the enduring presence of deep time.
As the final workshop in our series of discussions of ‘unexpected encounters with deep time’, Haunting will allow us to both develop new lines of thought, and to revisit the scenes of Enchantment and Violence explored in our previous workshops. Haunting is suggestive of both the impress of the fantastic upon the real (‘conjuring’ ghosts), and of the potential for acts of violence or rupture to echo into the present (and beyond); therefore this final strand will allow for a useful examination of how all three strands in our series interact.

We hope to also explore questions such as:
• How might the ghostly help us to think about the connections that exist between apparently very distant times and states of being?
• The ghost is also the one who endures. What kind of change in perspective can we achieve by knowing ourselves as the ghosts who will endure in the dark ecological futures inaugurated by our collective actions?
• In what ways can non-Western traditions of the spectral or supernatural help our understanding of the haunting presence of deep time within the everyday?
• What forms of ‘uncanny ethics’ (multispecies; intergenerational) emerge in these haunted temporalities?
• In what ways can we productively reappraise the value of melancholia, espoused by Timothy Morton’s ‘dark ecology,’ in shaping a viable response to the Anthropocene?
Papers addressing these and related questions are very welcome. Please submit your proposal by email to, by the 11th of March. Responses will be provided by the 18th of March. Proposals for alternative presentations/formats are welcomed..

via Call for Papers: Unexpected Encounters with Deep Time: Haunting | Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network.

CfP: Unexpected Encounters with Deep Time: Violence | Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network

9-5pm, 23rd February 2016, Evolution House, University of Edinburgh

Organised by the Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network

There is a one in 59,000 chance – give or take shifting orbital trajectories – that asteroid 2015PU228 will collide with the Earth in the year 2081. Heavy and fast-moving, PU228 was likely shunted into its present orbit by a collision several million years ago. According to the European Space Agency, the asteroid poses ‘no unusual level of danger’ – after all, the chances are 99.9983% that it will not hit Earth. Even so, PU228 reminds us that the Earth is not a closed system, but is vulnerable to cosmic events, thus drawing us into a deep time perspective. Yet deep time is not singular, and intersects with vulnerability and violence in multiple ways. The scale and speed of environmental change, for instance, as forests are cleared, hormones disrupted and food webs collapse, overwhelms the adaptive capacities of many nonhumans; we can see the unravelling of ancient Earthly biographies all around us. More broadly, the geo-social formations that cause and suffer climate violence are not evenly distributed, but follow sedimented lines of imperial, racial and other inequalities. Closely related, petro-violence proliferates as different groups – from corporate behemoths to apocalyptic jihadists – profit from fossilised stores of energy laid down in deep time. Current world disorders also interact with the deep time of viruses: the high mutation and replication rate of Ebola allows it to evolve extremely rapidly, while avian flu strains also evolve at increased rates in the bio-techno-cultural incubators of the globalised poultry industry. These and many other kinds of violent encounters with deep time provoke different responses, from fear to mourning, from turning away to impassioned intervention.


As the second of three workshops in our Unexpected Encounters with Deep Time series, this workshop asks what the perspective of deep time might bring to environmental humanities approaches to cosmic, planetary, intra-human and inter-species violence. Building on our first workshop, Enchantment, and looking ahead to our final workshop on Haunting, we hope to explore topics including but not limited to:

  • Assessing different responses to violent earthly/cosmic forces that precede or exceed human capacities.
  • “Love is evil!” quips Zizek. How can we deal with the fact that violence inheres in acts of love and care, and how much collateral violence can we tolerate in making valued life live?
  • How to transform existing, unjust geo-social formations? How might divine violence, revolution, or other forms of politics confront the politics of deep time?
  • What wounds does deep time inflict on thinking itself? What comes after blood has been spilled – reconciliation, mourning, or mopping up?
  • What happens when different temporalities collide? How can we theorise the violence of deep time as banal, systemic, indifferent, symbolic, bodily, or cosmic?

Papers or interventions of any kind (for 30 minute slots) addressing these or any related questions are welcome. Please submit your proposal by email to the addresses given below by 18th January 2016. Responses will be provided by 20th January 2016.

Proposals for alternative presentations/formats are welcome. Please contact the organisers to discuss.

Contact: Franklin Ginn ( and David Farrier (

via CfP: Unexpected Encounters with Deep Time: Violence | Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network.

Call for Papers: Cultivating Ecologies, RGS/IBG 2015

Cultivating Ecologies

RGS/IBG Conference 2015 (Exeter 1st-4th Sept) Session Call for Papers,

Session convenors: Stephanie Lavau (Plymouth University) & Franklin Ginn (University of Edinburgh)

Whether as fossil fuels, domesticated crops, weedy foot-soldiers of Empire, habitat for endangered species, cosmopolitan globalisers from below, carbon sinks, or indicators of climatic change, plants have been significant players in cultivating the ecologies of the Anthropocene. Cultivation, like domestication, is often narrated as the taming or appropriation of the wild through human practices of control, selection, categorisation, exploitation, privatisation, breeding, and tending. The consolidating field of plant geographies have shown the power of plants to exceed and subvert such narratives, as well as beginning to scrutinize the ties of labour, disease, affect and violence that bind human and plant communities. New plant science, meanwhile, has also demonstrated plants to be communicative, adaptive beings with a hitherto under-appreciated phenotypic plasticity. This has provoked sustained meditations on the challenges to received notions of personhood, ethics and vitality posed by vegetal life. Finally, if plants and their cultivation have led us into the Anthropocene, it remains to be seen how better ways to live after the Anthropocene might take root out of new ecologies of cultivation.

In this session and its accompanying field trip, we invite participants from across the discipline to disrupt monocultural accounts of cultivation and help produce a mixed crop of stories, including those that address:

  • Agencies involved in cultivating ecologies with, for, or against plants
  • Ecological work as practices of cultivation
  • Political ecologies of / resistance to the Gene Giants
  • Plants in imaginary, extra-terrestrial, or prehistoric ecologies
  • Prevailing ideas of domesticated/cultivated ecologies as either civilised or inauthentic versions of the wild
  • Ambiguities, accidents and exchanges that unsettle dreams of control and certainty

Topics could include critical geographies of horticulture, agriculture, silviculture, ecological restoration, rewilding, post-industrial ecologies, landscape management, botany, and gardening. We particularly welcome papers that combine empirical fecundity with theoretical speculation.

Please send abstracts of 200 words or less to and by 18 February 2015.

Marder, M. 2013. Plant thinking: A philosophy of vegetal life. New York: Columbia University Press.

Hall, M. 2009. Plants as persons: A philosophical botany. SUNY.

Pollan, M. 2013. Plant intelligence. New Yorker

Head, L., J. Atchison and C. Phillips. 2014. The Distinctive Capacities of Plants: Re-Thinking Difference Via Invasive Species. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers.

Fully funded AHRC PhD Studentship

Funded AHRC PhD Studentship

 University of Edinburgh

 “Caring for the future through ancestral time: Faith-based activism and climate change”

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship funded by the AHRC. The studentship is on the theme of “Caring for the future through ancestral time: faith-based activism and climate change”, and will examine the role of Scotland’s eco-congregation movement in fostering environmental care and action. The PhD will be based in the School of Social Science and supervised by Dr Elizabeth Bomberg (Politics and International Relations) and Dr Franklin Ginn (Geography) at the University of Edinburgh. The studentship will be part of a broader project investigating the potential for ‘ancestral time’ to offer an alternative to both economistic and climate apocalyptic temporalities.

The Studentship

The precise topic of the PhD will be confirmed through discussions between the student and supervisors.  In broad terms, the PhD will need to assess the role of narratives of the future and past in mobilizing care about climate change among faith-based groups. The student will engage in extensive fieldwork, focusing on the project partner, Eco-Congregation Scotland, which consists of over 280 church communities across Scotland. The student will be responsible for developing the research methodology, and there is scope for comparative assessment of other faith-based or secular climate activism in the UK and beyond.

The studentship is supported for 3 years and includes tuition fee waiver for EU students, and tuition fees plus an annual stipend of around £13,726 for UK residents. (EU students meeting certain residency requirements may also be eligible for a stipend.) Guidance on residence requirements is available here (see Annex 1):

How to apply

Applicants should have qualifications or experience equal to the standard of a good honours degree at a first or upper second class level, and a Masters/MSc degree in a relevant field of social sciences or the humanities. Applicants should also have experience of relevant qualitative research methods. We particularly welcome applications from those with experience in third sector organisations. Applicants should ensure they meet the AHRC eligibility requirements (see Section 7.5 of the AHRC guidance document).

Applicants should submit: a two-page curriculum vitae; a cover letter (two-three sides) outlining your reasons for applying and your qualifications for the studentship; a sample of writing such as a dissertation, coursework essay, thesis chapter or report; and the names and contact details of two academic referees. These should be sent by email to both: and no later than 24 June 2013.  Please put ‘AHRC studentship’ in the subject line.  Interviews, which will be held in Edinburgh, are scheduled to take place on 5 July 2013.

For further information regarding the studentship, including a full description of the project, please contact either Dr Elizabeth Bomberg in Politics ( or Dr Franklin Ginn in Geography (