Malcolm Sen will provide an overview of Irish literature’s long history of ecological resonances. The talk will center on the recently published A History of Irish Literature and the Environment (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022). From Gaelic annals and medieval poetry to contemporary Irish literature, A History of Irish Literature and the Environment examines the connections between the Irish environment and Irish literary culture. Tackling themes such as Ireland’s island ecology, the ecological history of colonial-era plantation and deforestation, the Great Famine, cultural attitudes towards animals and towards the land, the postcolonial politics of food and energy generation, and the Covid-19 pandemic. Sen will demonstrate how these factors not only guide us to fresh perspectives on Irish literature but also provide pathways to imagine habitable futures at a time of climate collapse.
Malcolm Sen is an Associate Professor at UMass Amherst and directs the Environmental Humanities specialization offered by the Department of English. His research focuses on questions of sovereignty, migration, and race as they emerge in climate change discourse. His literary archive spans global Anglophone, Indian, and Irish literatures. He is the co-editor of Postcolonial Studies and Challenges of the New Millennium (Routledge, 2016). He is the editor of The History of Irish Literature and the Environment (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2022); and Race in Irish Literature and Culture (with Julie McCormick Weng) to be published by Cambridge University Press in 2023. Sen’s monograph Unnatural Disasters: Irish Literature, Climate Change and Sovereignty is under review. Recent articles include “An Ordinary Crisis: Covid-19 and Irish Studies” in Mike Cronin et al., Eds., A Handbook of Irish Studies (Routledge, 2021) and “Sovereignty at the Margins: The Oceanic Future of the Subaltern,” in Barbara Haberkamp-Schmidt, Ed., Representing Poverty and Precarity in a Postcolonial World (Amsterdam: Brill, 2022), and “Joyce and Race in the Twenty-First Century” in Catherine Flynn, Ed., The New Joyce Studies: Twenty-First Century Critical Revisions (Cambridge University Press, 2022). Forthcoming essays include, “Climate Wars in the Anthropocene: Migrant Lives and Militarized Statehood,” which will be published in Sharae Deckard, Kerstin Oloff, and Treasa DeLoughrey, Eds., Routledge Companion on Literature and the Environment (London and New York: Routledge, 2024), “The Poetics of Identity in Contemporary Ireland,” Eric Falci, Ed., The Cambridge History of Irish Poetry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2024), “Irish Writing and the Anthropocene,” Derek Hand and Katherine Sullivan Costello, Eds., Companion to the Contemporary Irish Novel (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2024).
Book cover art: Eoin Mac Lochlainn, 'Siúlóid Sléibhe no. 1'