Loyola University Chicago

Department of English


Graduate candidates and faculty hold “Meeting Grounds,” a critical workshop and symposium

Graduate candidates and faculty hold “Meeting Grounds,” a critical workshop and symposium

In April 2021, members of the Department of English met virtually with faculty and graduate students from various institutions to hold “Meeting Grounds: Mutual Ethics and Action in Animal Studies, Ecocriticism, and Posthumanism.” The two-day event fostered dialogue among an international audience during a critical workshop on Friday, April 23, as well as a symposium on Saturday, April 24.

The critical workshop brought together graduate students and early career researchers for a day of convivial conversation and respectful critique of participants’ work in progress. Attendees acknowledged the benefits of sustaining writing communities, especially during conditions occasioned by the ongoing, global pandemic. As such, those who engaged in the critical workshop plan to meet again in the coming months.

While the critical workshop addressed the meeting grounds of animal studies, ecocriticism, and posthumanism within literary studies, the symposium broadened the conversation to engage critical race studies, theology, and anthropology.

During the first session of the symposium, Dr. Kath Weston presented the keynote lecture “The Habit in Cohabitation (Or, How to Meet a Tiger on the Path).” Weston’s talk discussed methods by which we consider and narrate multispecies meetings. Following Weston’s talk, Dr. Suzanne Bost, Dr. Lauren Perry, and Dr. Elisabeth Bayley shared responses and questions before opening the floor for audience members to ask questions.  

The symposium’s afternoon session also featured a keynote address, three responses, and Q&A session. Keynote lecturer Dr. Joshua Bennett spoke on the significance of nonhuman animal figures in literature written by black authors during his presentation “The beginning of the end of the world: vermin being & 20th century black ecopoetics.” Respondents Dr. Long Le-Khac, LaShaunda Reese, and Courtney Walton offered insights and questions before holding space for audience participation during a Q&A session.

The recordings of Professors Weston’s and Bennett’s lectures are available to the public for free.

For more information, please contact one of the organizers of “Meeting Grounds.”


Danielle Richardsdrichards@luc.edu

Emily L. Sharrettesharrett@luc.edu

John Hawkins, jhawkins8@luc.edu