Dear Colleagues and Friends,
we kindly invite you to the next Helsinki University Humanities Programme Environmental Humanities Forum
October 29, 2019 (Tuesday), at 14.15- 15.45
Robert Brinkmeyer,University of South Carolina, USA
“Patriotism, Land, and Community: The Agrarian Vision of Wendell Berry”
HELSUS Lounge, Porthania 244
Yliopistonkatu 3, 2 krs.
Please kindly see Abstract and short Bio of Speaker below.
Looking forward to meeting/seeing you soon!
With kind wishes, Viktor Pál and Mikko Saikku
After a brief introduction to the cultural criticism of Wendell Berry—characterized by one commentator as “a blend of political radicalism and ecological holism”—my paper will explore Berry’s agrarian political vision, focusing on issues of patriotism and what he calls “peaceability.” To explore these issues, my paper will look specifically at the connections Berry makes between America’s war on terror and America’s “cold civil war”—a conflict between forces of industrialism and traditionalism that Berry sees taking place in the American countryside. Drawing from both his nonfiction and fiction, my paper will discuss Berry’s thoroughly grounded vision, one that embraces a politics of tending rather than intending, as well as a commitment to one’s local ecosystem. As Berry makes clear, political responsibility and patriotism begin with and are founded upon a commitment to the local rather than the national or global. A healthy and strong nation, and by extension a healthy world, Berry argues, is one in which local economies and communities remain not merely intact but strong and robust.
Robert Brinkmeyer, who is the Director of the Institute for Southern Studies at the University of South Carolina, is Claude Henry Neuffer Professor of Southern Studies and Professor of English. He has published widely in the field of modern Southern literature and culture, including Remapping Southern Literature: Contemporary Southern Writers and the West and The Fourth Ghost: White Southern Writers and European Fascism, 1930-1950. Professor Brinkmeyer received a Guggenheim Fellowship to complete The Fourth Ghost, and that book won several awards, including the Association of American Publishers 2009 PROSE Award for the best book published that year in literature, language, and linguistics and the 2009 Warren-Brooks Award for Excellence in Literary Criticism. In 1994-1995, Professor Brinkmeyer served as the Bicentennial Chair in American Studies at the University of Helsinki. Over his long career, Professor Brinkmeyer has taught and lectured across the world, most recently in China, Denmark, Germany, and Poland.