Conference // Resisting Toxic Climates: Gender, Colonialism, and Environment

We are circulating details of this conference on behalf of Dr Edwin Coomasaru.

Wed 26 – Thu 27 Jul 2023, 09:00 – 17:30, Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh

Full details via the British Academy, here.

Whether it’s the spectacular event of an oil spill or the scarcely perceptible pollution of micro-plastics, toxicity is central to the environmental concerns of today. To exist in the world means being vulnerable to multiple forms of toxicity. Yet, conditions of vulnerability are unequal, shaped by enduring global histories of colonialism and capitalism.

This event will highlight the toxic valences of coloniality, asking how toxicity manifests and mutates with particular regard to gender across variously situated bodies, lands and waterscapes. While we are concerned with the interrelated forms of material toxicity that threaten the wellbeing of human and more-than-human communities, we also seek to facilitate dialogue around pertinent social, political and cultural discourses of toxification. Operating at the intersections of the medical and environmental humanities, and centering feminist, queer, decolonial and Indigenous paradigms, this interdisciplinary event brings together scholars and practitioners working across disciplines and employing creative and/or critical modes of enquiry to explore these topics.

Resisting Toxic Climates will feature a series of original artworks by Natasha Thembiso Ruwona and Caitlin Stobie, produced in response to the themes and setting of the event.

The programme will feature a tour of the exibition Shipping Roots by Keg De Sousa, led by the exhibition curator Emma Nicolson.

Conference convenors

  • Dr Rebecca Macklin, University of Edinburgh
  • Dr Alexandra Campbell, University of Glasgow
  • Professor Michelle Keown, University of Edinburgh


  • Professor Cecilia Åsberg, Linkoping University & KTH
  • Professor Mishuana Goeman, University of Buffalo
  • Professor Savage Bear, McMaster University
  • Dr Metzli Yoalli Rodriguez, Forest Lake University
  • Dr Hannah Boast, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Astrida Niemanis, University of British Columbia Okanagan
  • Dr Christine Okoth, Kings College London
  • Dr Treasa De Loughery, University College Dublin
  • Dr Dipali Mathur, Ulster University
  • Dr Jason Allen-Paisant, University of Manchester
  • Dr Thandi Loewenson, Royal College of Art
  • Dr Craig Santos Perez, University of Hawaii
  • Dr Alycia Pirmohamed, University of Cambridge
  • Professor Patricia Widener, Florida Atlantic University
  • Dr J.T. Roane, Rutgers University
  • Dr Caitlin Stobie, University of Leeds
  • Natasha Thembiso Ruwona

If you have any questions about this event please refer to our events FAQs or email

British Academy/Wellcome Trust Conferences bring together scholars and specialists from around the world to explore themes related to health and wellbeing.

Literary and Visual Landscapes Autumn Schedule

LVL is back!

We’re excited to announce our autumn schedule which brings together a diverse range of scholars and students from the environmental and geo-humanities. For this term we are keeping the series online, so all are welcome, internal and beyond. Please feel free to circulate this information and flyer to anyone you think might be interested.  

For our first instalment of the series, Dr Noreen Masud from Durham University (though joining Bristol University from January 2022) will be presenting Slippage and Fakery in Willa Cather’s Prairie Landscapes. This session will take place on Wednesday 13th October, at the usual time of 4:30-6pm UK time, on Zoom. Please join us for what will be a fascinating paper and discussion, and to welcome a new CEH member! 

Later this term we have invited Dr Susanne Ferwerda (Utrecht University) to speak on The Waves, the Ocean: Boats, Borders and Refugee Bodies in Behrouz Boochani’s No Friend but the Mountains, and Dr Anushka Peres (University of Revada, Reno) for a paper on Queer Ecovisual Rhetorics and Settler Colonial Landscapes. Details of the full semester’s events can be found on the Events page

This year’s LVL series is very generously funded by the Centre for Environmental Humanities, the School of Geography, and the English Head of Subject Fund. We are very grateful for this support and excited to present such a diverse series, bringing together scholars exploring landscapes across a range of spatial and temporal contexts, with an emphasis on queer and decolonial spaces. 

Free tickets for all the upcoming seminars can be booked via Eventbrite: A Zoom meeting link will be circulated to ticket-holders in advance of each session. 

We hope to see you there! 

Lena, Austin and Eline (the new LVL team). 

Header image: André Derain, Paysage du Midi (1906), SF MoMA

A Poetics of Inquiry: A Reading and Conversation with Tjawangwa Dema

Internationally acclaimed poet, Tjawangwa Dema (The Careless Seamstress and Mandible) will be reading from her work as part of the University of Southern California’s Visions and Voices platform. Dema is a poet, arts administrator, teaching artist, and an Honorary Senior Research Associate in the Department of English at the University of Bristol. Her writing includes work around eco-poetry, and identity and the pastoral form in poetry.

After the reading, Dema will be joined in conversation by Dr Kirk Sides of the Centre for Environmental Humanities and the Department of English at the University of Bristol.

The event takes place on Thursday 25 February at 8pm GMT, and is free. Registration is through Eventbrite.

Tjawangwa Dema’s poems are as bold, roving, and insistent as they are delicate and incisive.

Tracy K. Smith, U.S. poet laureate

Don’t miss internationally acclaimed Motswana poet Tjawangwa Dema, as she reads from her prize-winning collections The Careless Seamstress and Mandible, and performs spoken word pieces from throughout her career, reflecting on life in Botswana, the United States, and England.

By foregrounding inquiry as a poetic practice, Dema invests the mundane with philosophy and ordinary beings with beauty while exploring ecopoetry, gender, race, disobedience, labor, mythology, and empathy.

Eventbrite listing