Lecture Series

Air: Perspectives from the Environmental and Medical Humanities

Organized by Tatiana Konrad, University of Vienna

Mondays, 4.45-6.15 pm (CET)

March 28 – June 20, 2022

The aim of the lecture series is to provide environmental and medical perspectives on air, in particular how it has historically been envisioned in American, Canadian, and British cultural and literary narratives. The lectures will explore how these representations can help us understand the complex nature of air as it pertains to the COVID-19 pandemic, air pollution, and broader environmental degradation.

These events, organized at the University of Vienna, will bring together national and international scholars in the environmental humanities, medical humanities, cultural studies, visual studies, literary studies, gender studies, disability studies, and history. The lecture series will last for one semester, with one lecture being delivered each week. Each lecture will be given by an invited expert, and will last for 45 minutes, followed by an enriching 45-minute question-and-answer session.

This research was funded in whole, or in part, by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) [10.55776/P34790]


March 28, 2022
(Lecture 1)

“Dirty Air: Literary Tropes of the Canadian Nation”
(Christian Riegel, University of Regina)
April 4, 2022
(Lecture 2)
“Air Pollution from Cars and Trucks: Can Regulating Emissions Reduce Greenhouse Gases?”
(Gordon M. Sayre, University of Oregon)
April 25, 2022
(Lecture 3)
“Where There Is Smoke… Making Climate Visible in a World on Fire”
(Jesse Oak Taylor, University of Washington)
May 2, 2022
(Lecture 4)
“Carried by Currents”
(Jeff Diamanti, University of Amsterdam)
May 9, 2022
(Lecture 5)
“Points of View from Life without Air”
(Arthur Rose, University of Exeter)

May 16, 2022
(Lecture 6)

“The Ocean of Air: Revisiting Romantic Airspace in the Age of COVID-19”
(Siobhan Carroll, University of Delaware)
May 23, 2022
(Lecture 7)

“‘The Endless Space of Air’: Helen Keller’s Worldbuilding and the Resuscitation of Aura”
(Jayne Lewis, University of California, Irvine)
May 30, 2022
(Lecture 8)
“The Importance of ‘Open-Air’ in a Time of Epidemics: From Tuberculosis to COVID-19”
(Clare Hickman, Newcastle University)

June 13, 2022
(Lecture 9)

“Rumpled Bed Sheets and Online Mourning: Social Photography and the COVID-19 Pandemic”
(Corey Dzenko, Monmouth University)
June 20, 2022
(Lecture 10)
“Breathing as a Transformative Phenomenon”
(Magdalena Gorska, Utrecht University)


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the full program