“Green growth”, “ecological footprint”, “north-south divide”, “Euro crisis”, “Occupy Wall Street”, “Fukushima”, “buen vivir” – there are many terms floating around in public consciousness these days that seem to be of general importance for future-oriented world politics on the one hand, but only remotely linked – if at all – on the other. But as a matter of fact there are some very important common denominators shared between conservation and environmental politics, anti-globalisation and global justice movements and theories of alternative measurements of social welfare: Among these are the criticism of neoliberalism and corporatism, an orientation towards sustainable politics and democracy, the aim of protecting the environment and attempts to imagine a world that is based on ideas of justice, equality, and the possibility of a good life – not only for a certain percentage of people, but for everybody.
The two main domains of interest in which most critical questions around the terms above are posed are economic and ecological politics. Consequently, building upon the ideas of postcolonial ecocriticism in literary studies that emerged in recent years, this summer school aims at an interdisciplinary study of postcolonial literatures and cultures with an economic and ecological focus (Eco-Ecocriticism). The idea is not only to discuss what meaning (new) ecology and economy in a postcolonial context could have and what critical forms of literary and cultural studies have contributed to the political or theoretical discourse in recent years. It also tries to fathom the (utopian or dystopian) potential of scenarios outlined, performed, brought forward in today’s global and local cultural practices.
In a series of lectures, workshops and discussion groups we would invite you to examine narratives of the hierarchical relation of human societies to other human communities and the anthropocentric separation of culture and nature. We will talk about how dominantly political terms like sustainability, growth (and its limits), equality, crisis, globalisation or justice are taken up in cultural production. Finally, we are interested in their interrelation, what kind of past(s), present(s) and future(s) are imagined and what the difference between the representation and judgement of bottom-up grassroot and top-down international politics might be.
This summer school is supported by ASNEL/GNEL and is hosted at Austrian, German, or Swiss universities every other year. These summer schools are very special due to the fact they are organised by students for students. In 2013, we, the students of the Unversity of Potsdam, are in charge of this task and we are very enthusiastic about this year’s focus topic. We are happy to convene this non-commercial event and are very much looking forward to welcome in Potsdam soon.