[19-11-2020] Digitaal Jaarcongres KNHG 2020 ‘Meer dan Menselijk Verleden: Historici, Eco-geschiedenis en Environmental Humanities’

CLUE+, the Environmental Humanities Center and the Koninklijk Nederlands Historisch Genootschap cordially invite you to the KNHG annual convention.

11/19/2020 | 10:00 AM

This year, the annual KNHG convention will be held online. To register, CLICK HERE.

The day will strat at 10:00h with two keynotes in English:

Keynote1: We have never been vulnerable. Inequality as common ground between COVID-19 and flood disasters–Tim Soens

COVID-19 is a global health crisis and climate change is threatening the basic conditions of life itself. We are living in times  when  popular  and  scientific  discourse  on  natural  hazards  and  disasters  is  pervaded  by  universalising narratives, conceiving nature (again) as a force beyond human control which, time and again, endangers human livelihoods. Yet, as  the  history  of  natural  disaster  invariably  shows: we have  never  been vulnerable,  only  some people living in specific conditions are. In this talk Soenswill highlight the crucial importance of inequality as a key to understand the production and impact of natural disasters. Delving into the history of major flood disasters in the  North  Sea Area,  striking  inequalities  in  the  social  profile  of  the  victims  are  revealed.  Moreover,  the  flood disasters  themselves  tend  to  be  associated  with  growing  socio-economic  inequalities,  socially  and  physically separating those who profited from the environmental benefits from those burdened with the costs of increased risks. The unfolding history of COVID-19 unfortunately tells a similar story.

Tim Soens is professor of Medieval and Environmental History at the Centre for Urban History of the University of Antwerp (Belgium). He is specialised in the history of natural hazards and disasters before 1850, with a particular emphasis on coastal floods and water management.

Keynote 2: Sinking stories. The imagination of lowlands in the Anthropocene–Katie Ritson

Literary texts are a constitutive part of the way we think about landscapes, and in our troubled times, understanding our relationship to place is of great importance. In The Great Derangement (2016), Amitav Ghosh asserts that climate change ‘is also a crisis of culture, and thus of the imagination’. He argues that the realist novel has been an important vehicle in reproducing and reinforcing the modern separation between culture and nature, and between natural history and human history. In attempting to address climate change in his fiction, Ghosh turns to the watery landscape of the Sundarbans in the Bay of Bengal and to the sinking city of Venice. In these places he finds the possibility of new stories for our time. In this talk, Ritsonwill engage Ghosh’s arguments and bring them into conversation with the literary imagination of North European lowlands, in particular the Netherlands, exploring the significance of our sinking shores for how we think about both the history and the future of our planet.

Katie Ritson studied German, Scandinavian and Comparative Literature at the University of Cambridge and at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, completing her doctorate in 2016. She is the author of The Shifting Sands of the North Sea Lowlands: Literary and Historical Imaginaries (2019). She works at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment & Society in Munich (Germany).

The afternoon programme will be in Dutch, with several sessions that will take place simultaneously. To view the full programme, CLICK HERE.

201119 EHC KNHG