Karen Thornber

Thornber PosterProfessor, Harvard University

Ecoambiguity: Asia and the Environmental Humanities

Thursday, September 18, 2014
Stern Center, Great Room, 7 p.m.

This talk examines East Asian writing on environmental degradation, introducing the concept of ecoambiguity (environmental ambiguity) to highlight the contradictions in human behaviors vis-a-vis the nonhuman.

This event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Department East Asian Studies.

Thornber photoBiography (provided by the speaker)

Karen Thornber is professor and chair of comparative literature, Harvard University; she is also chair of Harvard’s Regional Studies East Asia Program and holds an additional faculty appointment in Harvard’s Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations.  Thornber’s research and teaching focus on world literature, East Asian literatures, the literatures of the Indian Ocean Rim, postcolonialism, diaspora, environmental humanities, and medical humanities.

A 2006 Harvard Ph.D., her books include Empire of Texts in Motion: Chinese, Korean, and Taiwanese Transculturations of Japanese Literature (Harvard, 2009) and Ecoambiguity: Environmental Crises and East Asian Literatures (Michigan, 2012), both of which were awarded multiple international prizes.  She is the author of over 50 articles/chapters as well as of an award-winning translation of Japanese poetry; Thornber is additionally guest editor of a special issue of the journal Literature and Medicine (2013) on world literature and health. Working in over a dozen languages, Thornber is currently writing two books: Global World Literature and Health and Networking Literatures and Environments.

Video of the Lecture