"Drown" By Jeffrey Jerome Cohen (Kemp Malone Lecture)

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"Drown" By Jeffrey Jerome Cohen (Kemp Malone Lecture)

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Lecture Description: Here's what your city will look like when the ice sheets melt. So declares the headline of a recent story about maps that illustrate the transformation of urban sprawls into ocean-embraced archipelagoes. As sea levels rise 40 or 80 meters, San Francisco, Vancouver, and landlocked Portland will become sudden peninsulas and clustered islands that ascend from roiled inlets, fjords, and newly formed seas. London will become Venice and Venice Atlantis. What is at stake in our desire to imagine cities submerged? Why do we seldom in the process consider the lives of those likeliest to perish in the rising waters, Katrina anew? Why are we not perturbed by the imperative these depictions hurl against land and people, the command to drown? Perhaps because we have learnt to adopt the viewpoint of Noah. Whereas Jewish and Islamic traditions wondered if Noah was a just man, since he (unlike Cain, Jacob, Abraham) did not argue with God when the Flood was declared, did not attempt to save the people with whom he dwelled, medieval Christian manuscript illustrations typically depict Noah serenely floating in his ark, surrounded by his family and a harmonious menagerie. Yet some late medieval depictions of the Deluge show the ark adrift on a sea of corpses, or render the ocean transparent so that victims of biblical climate change must be acknowledged. What would happen if we stopped using the Flood as our unspoken cognitive frame for global warming - or at least if we stopped playing the role of Noah and abandoned hope of salvaging small community in an ark built against more complicated, more collective, more livable futures. What if we thought with more sympathy about what is lost when we uncritically embrace the apocalypse conveyed by drown? More information here: https://kempmalone.wordpress.com/about/upcoming-events/lecture/

By: Kemp Malone Lecture and Seminar Series

Event website: https://www.facebook.com/838278336228888
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