Prof. Dr. Kate Rigby
Following undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the University of Melbourne and Freiburg University, I completed my PhD at Monash University in 1991 and took up a Lectureship in German Studies at Monash that year. In 1994, I returned to Germany as a Humboldt Fellow at the University of Paderborn, and in 1997 was promoted to Senior Lecturer in German Studies. Since 1996, I have also been on the Board of the Centre for Religious Studies, and from 1999 to 2004 I held a dual appointment in German and the Centre for Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies, of which I was the Director from 2004-2007. I was promoted to Associate Professor and elected to the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 2006, and in 2013 I became Australia’s first Professor of Environmental Humanities, a post that I currently hold in the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics at Monash University.
Informing my more recent research in the Environmental Humanities is my strong interest in ecocriticism, ecophilosophy and ecotheology. I am senior co-editor of the ecological humanities journal, PAN (Philosophy Activism Nature) and I was the founding President of the Association for the Study of Literature, Environment and Culture-Australia-New Zealand (http://www.aslec-anz.asn.au/) between 2004 and 2008. I am also the founding director of the Forum on Religion and Ecology@Monash (http://artsonline.monash.edu.au/fore/), the regional Australia-Pacific counterpart to the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale University, and a member of the Australia-Pacific Mellon Humanities for the Environment Observatory (http://hfeobservatory.com.au/).
- Dancing with Disaster: Histories, Narratives, and Ethics for Perilous Times, Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015.
- " 'Come forth into the light of things': Material Spirit and Negative Ecopoetics" in Gregory C. Stallings, Manuel Asensi and Carl Good (eds), Material Spirit: Religion and Literature Intranscendent. New York: Fordham UP, 2014, pp. 111-128.
- “ ‘Wo die Wälder rauschen so sacht‘: The Actuality of Eichendorff’s Ecopoetics,“ special issue of Limbus: Australian Yearbook of German Literary and Cultural Studies on “The Actuality of Romanticism” (2012), pp. 91-104.
- Topographies of the Sacred: The Poetics of Place in European Romanticism. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2004.
- “Earth, World, Text: On the (Im)possibility of Ecopoiesis,” New Literary History, 35.3 (Summer 2004), pp. 427-42.
Writing After Nature: Ecopoetics in the Anthropocene
This project contributes to current research in the field of environmental literary studies ("ecocriticism") through a reconsideration of the relationship between ethics and aesthetics in Romantic and post-Romantic poetry of nature and place, within the historical and conceptual horizon of the Anthropocene (i.e the era in which human activities have altered our earthly environs in ways that will be traceable in the geological record for millennia). While there is now a substantial body of ecocritical research on English Romantic verse, this project has a wider geographical and historical reach, encompassing studies of both English and German Romantic ecopoetics, as well as considering how these European models have been translated and transformed in colonial and postcolonial Australia. In addition, this project extends existing research in ecocritical theory by reflecting upon the status of nature writing in the era of the Anthropocene. The approach to be taken here will be “post-natural” in a double sense, presupposing both the cultural construction of our notions of “nature” and the anthropogenic character of our earthly environs. However, it will also be argued that our cultural constructions are themselves dependent upon, and susceptible to being disrupted by, other-than-human material entities and processes. The key question to be addressed here, then, is what kinds of poetic practice might contribute to an enhanced awareness of both of the role of language in shaping human perceptions, and of human moral and material entanglement with non-human others in an increasingly anthropogenic, and ecologically embattled, world?