This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

‘Fluid Culture’ continues its watery ways

Published: March 15, 2012

“Fluid Culture,” the 2011-12 series presented by the Humanities Institute, continues its presentation of art, literature and media events related to water, globalization and culture with three spring lectures by distinguished international authors.

All are free of charge and open to the public.

On March 19, Amitav Ghosh, the celebrated Bengali author, humanities scholar and a much-translated star in the international literary firmament, will present a talk titled “The World’s Emporium.” It will take place at 7 p.m. in Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall, UB North Campus.

The lecture, which also serves as the keynote lecture of the Global Perspectives Academy of UB’s Undergraduate Academies, is co-sponsored by the Asian Studies Program.

The recipient of dozens of major literary awards, Ghosh is best known recently for his Ibis trilogy, a series of novels with enormous historical sweep set on the high seas.

The first novel in the trilogy was the bestselling “Sea of Poppies,” shortlisted for the Man Booker prize in 2008. It chronicles the seafaring adventures of an ordinary village woman, a mulatto American sailor, an Indian rajah and an evangelist opium trader in an era before the Opium Wars. The second, published in 2011 to critical acclaim, is “River of Smoke,” which follows its storm-tossed characters to the crowded harbors of China.

He also is the author of “The Circle of Reason,” “The Shadow Lines,” “In an Antique Land,” “Dancing in Cambodia,” “The Calcutta Chromosome,” “The Glass Palace” and “The Hungry Tide.”

On March 28, Lucia Sa, professor of Brazilian cultural studies at the University of Manchester, will present a talk, “Fluid Stories, Water in Amazonian Literature,” at 4 p.m. in 120 Clemens Hall, North Campus.

Sa specializes in Brazilian literature and culture, and, in particular, the Brazilian city, ethnopoetics and native cultures in Brazil and the South American lowlands.

She is the author of “Rain Forest Literatures: Amazonian Texts and Latin American Culture.”

On April 11, Ursula Heise, who specializes in contemporary American and European literature and literary theory and is a leader in environmental criticism since the early 1990s, will present a talk, "Plasmic Nature and Animated Ecologies," at 4 p.m. in 120 Clemens Hall.

Heise, professor of English at Stanford University who currently is a Guggenheim Fellow, has published extensively on the ways in which global environmental crises impact the literatures of the U.S., Eastern Europe and Latin America

She is the author of “Sense of Place and Sense of Planet: The Environmental Imagination of the Global,” which addresses environmentalism, ecocriticism and globalization.

Her most recent book is “After Nature: Species Extinction and Modern Culture.”

She currently is working on “The Avantgarde and the Forms of Nature,” which deals with the role of biological form in works of the European, Latin American and North American avant-gardes of the 20th century.

The Fluid Culture series is organized by Justin Read, associate professor, and Colleen Culleton, assistant professor, both in the UB Department of Romance Languages and Literatures.

Carrie Tirado Bramen, associate professor of English, serves as executive director of the Humanities Institute; Erik R. Seeman, professor of history, is director.