ENVIRONMENTAL ARTS AND HUMANITIES

REGIONAL GRADUATE CONFERENCE 2020

Oregon State University 

Thursday, May 28, 2020

ZOOM CONFERENCE

Morning Zoom (password required):

Lunchtime (12pm) Webinar (Wagner):

Afternoon Zoom (password required)

Evening (4pm) Webinar (Hillegas-Elting)

Contact: jacob.hamblin@oregonstate.edu

FEATURING

Lunchtime (12pm) keynote speaker:

Eric Wagner

Author of After the Blast: the Ecological Recovery of Mount St Helens

Evening (4pm) keynote speaker:

James V Hillegas-Elting

Author of Speaking for the River: Confronting Pollution on the Willamette

Partners

OSU Environmental Arts and Humanities Initiative

Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word

OSU College of Liberal Arts

Organized by Jacob Darwin Hamblin

Director, Environmental Arts and Humanities

Oregon State University

Contact: jacob.hamblin@oregonstate.edu

Morning schedule

Introduction and Welcome (820am): Jacob Hamblin

Session 1 (830am-10am)

Session Chair: Professor Julia Bradshaw

Heidi Rockney and Alexandra Avila (Oregon State University), “A Scientist Journey: a New Approach to Science Communication”

Vaughn Robison (Oregon State University), “Net Values: Framing the Conversation of Socioeconomic Impacts of Marine Reserves”

Kei Lin Chang (Oregon State University), “Analyzing National Geographic as a Case Study for Identifying and Utilizing Narrative Strategies in Environmental Communication”

Timothy Pape (Oregon State University), “What Values Drive the Conservation Reserve Program in the Columbia River Basin?”

10am-1015: BREAK

Session 2 (1015am-1145am)

Session Chair: Professor Jacob Hamblin

Sarah Sheldrick (Oregon State University), “We are Groot:” Collaboration vs Compromise. Exploring the Components of Group Communication”

Colette Ohotnicky (Oregon State University), “This Earth Emanating Enchantment: What Wonder and Joy Can Teach Us Within Traditional Western Environmentalism”

Joe Sussi (University of Oregon), The Toxic Sheep: Cartography, Violence, and Ecology in Adrian Piper’s Utah-Manhattan Transfer

Avery Fischer (Portland State University), TBD

12pm-1pm: keynote reading by Eric Wagner, author of After the Blast: the Ecological Recovery of Mount St Helens

Afternoon schedule

Session 3 (115pm-245pm)

Session Chair: Professor Cari Maes

Alex Werndli (Oregon State University), “Making the Desert Bloom [Again]: Colonial Rhetorics of Science and Agriculture in the Maghreb”

Alex Diaz-Hui (Oregon State University), “’Mocking Capitalism in a Sinking World:’ Ecocriticism in Popular Music”

Souksavanh Keovorabouth (Oregon State University), “Queering Native American Urban Relocation: The Two-Spirit Experience in the Settler-Colonial State”

Spencer Abbe (University of Oregon), “Blood and Ashes:  Untangling Volcanism and Indigenous Resistance in 18th Century Kamchatka”

245-3pm: BREAK

Session 4 (3pm-345pm)

Session Chair: Professor Jacob Hamblin

Dan Shtob (University of Oregon), “Resilience, Recovery, and Reality: Hurricanes, Housing, and the Human Cost of Disaster.”

Raechel Root (University of Oregon), “Herstory if caught by the camera’s eye:” Photographing the Experimental Geographies of Oregon’s Lesbian Lands”

4pm-5pm: Keynote address by James V. Hillegas-Elting, author of Speaking for the River: Confronting Pollution on the Willamette

Speaking for the River: Regional Manifestations of International Environmental Themes, 1920s–1970s

 

Titles and Abstracts (alphabetical by presenter)

Abbe, Spencer (University of Oregon)

 

“Blood and Ashes:  Untangling Volcanism and Indigenous Resistance in 18th Century Kamchatka”

 

In 1740 a volcanic eruption occurred on the Kamchatka Peninsula at the eastern extent of the Russian Empire.  This eruption occurred in conjunction with a revolt by indigenous Itelmen people.  Observers in the area reported a consistent and widely believed rumor that volcanic eruptions always meant revolts or warfare would occur, with the intensities of these conflicts determined by the intensity of the eruptions.  This presentation examines the evidence for disproving this rumor while examining how human events in the history of Kamchatka were closely tied to the active geology of the peninsula.

 

Avila, Alexandra, and Heidi Rockney (Oregon State University)

“A Scientist Journey: a New Approach to Science Communication”

Many scientists have come to realize that without proper communication and engagement of the general public, science information can easily get distorted, misinterpreted, taken out of context and generally not understood or taken seriously, especially in today’s complex world of fast and expanding multiple-looped communication technologies (i.e. telephones, satellites, internet, etc.) and volatile, shifting political and economic climate. Part of the issue of communicating science to the general public is the fact that starting from birth, we learn how to communicate and relate to storytelling as a way of sharing information, but the standard science writing approach is completely out of the sphere of where the language and feel of narrative stories rest. The order of events in a typical scientific manuscript is unfamiliar and confusing to readers not trained in this particular writing style and is extraordinarily atypical when compared to other forms of day to day social communication. This often results in scientists research being unrelatable and unengaging to any audience that may not understand some of the grimier science details of their work, which excludes a huge portion of the human population from accessing their research. However, it is not an easy shift to go from stiff, scientific writing into a natural and relaxed narrative story, especially if no previous creative writing has been practiced. I propose an interactive group game, entitled, A scientist Journey, for scientists of all ages and experience that will help them learn how to format their research into a storytelling narrative form that nonscientists can understand. The game is based on Joseph Campbell’s conceptual map of the Hero’s Journey, proposed in his book, A Hero of a Thousand Faces., which laid out the generic blueprint plotline of a hero that was basically the same in all stories, but adapted to different contexts of time and place can change. The journey originally had 17 stages, which have been converted into eight relatable stages that scientists can utilize to create a narrative story format for their own research.

 

 

Change, Kei Lin (Oregon State University)

 

“Analyzing National Geographic as a Case Study for Identifying and Utilizing Narrative Strategies in Environmental Communication”

Marine debris, classified as any human made object that gets intentionally or accidentally discarded in the oceans or Great Lakes, is a growing problem around the world and science communication is a crucial method to disseminating information revolving around the topic. Using their world-renowned reputation, National Geographic’s June 2018 “Planet or Plastic?” magazine started their ongoing awareness movement surrounding plastic pollution. I use Robert Rowland’s interpretation of narrative rhetoric—which looks at how stories are a persuasive means for people to understand the world—to explore the narrative strategies National Geographic employs in the June 2018 magazine to communicate the urgency of acting upon mitigating the marine debris issue. This case study identifies narrative strategies that can be utilized in the future for environmental communication.

 

Diaz-Hui, Alex (Oregon State University)

 

“Mocking Capitalism in a Sinking World:” Ecocriticism in Popular Music

This project analyzes how musicians redefine the practice of critique, particularly in relation to ecocriticism, critical race feminisms, and other anti-racist articulations. Specifically, I will look at Rina Sawayama’s debut album SAWAYAMA for its critique of Western objectifications of Asian women, waste, techno-orientalism, capitalist structures during the current ecological crisis. I will focus on her single “XS” to highlight Sawayama’s multi-genre approach that coexists with her critique of the wasteful exploitation of the world by Western capitalist societies. I will conclude by discussing the limits of mainstream views of Western music in order to articulate how sound studies must critique late stage capitalism and devasting ecological crisis outside Western projects of modernity.

 

Hillegas-Elting, James V (keynote speaker)

“Speaking for the River: Regional Manifestations of International Environmental Themes, 1920s–1970s”

Since advocates first came together in the mid-1920s to clean-up Oregon’s Willamette River, their efforts have been part of a broader national and international story. Through and beyond the twentieth century, regional water pollution abatement work has reflected evolving scientific knowledge, increasingly more complex engineering approaches, and strongly-debated policy changes, all spurred by environmental degradation that interfered with peoples’ ability to use natural resources in both customary and new ways. Reviewing key people, organizations, and events in the history of water pollution abatement within the Willamette watershed provides tangible regional examples of interdisciplinary environmental themes with global resonance.

Keovorabouth, Souksavanh (Oregon State University)

“Queering Native American Urban Relocation: The Two-Spirit Experience in the Settler-Colonial State”

According to the 1980 United States Census, about half of Native Americans were living in urban areas, and the 1990 Census reported 63%. In the most recent United States Census, 2010, there was a total of 71% of American Indians who live in urban areas. The shift from reservation Natives to urban Natives has been influenced by the Relocation Act of 1950. Such as the Relocation Act of 1830, the Relocation Act of the 50s was intended to assimilate Native people into western society by removing us from reservations to cities, detaching us from any of our cultural connections. I argue that, overtime, the Relocation Act of 1950 has severely impacted the livelihood of Two-Spirit and Native women in urban areas today. Results from The Honor Project indicate high levels of assault among urban Two-Spirit people in the US: 78% of female-identified respondents reported being physically assaulted in their lifetime, and 85% reported being sexually assaulted in their lifetime. According to an analysis of 2016 Census data, 50.2% of the urban Indian population identified as female; the data in this report includes LGBTQ+, non-binary, and Two-Spirit individuals.

Ohotnicky, Colette (Oregon State University)

“This Earth Emanating Enchantment: What Wonder and Joy Can Teach Us Within Traditional Western Environmentalism”

G.K. Chesterton once stated, “I am concerned with a certain way of looking at life, which was created in me by the fairytales, but has since been meekly ratified by the mere facts….The only words that ever satisfied me as describing Nature are the terms used in the fairy book, “charm,” “spell,” “enchantment”.” (Orthodoxy 89, 94) Enchantment, as we will discover, is a compelling description of nature, and the traditional Western worldview leads to enchantment through an attitude of wonder such as we find in the fairytales. Enchantment, as we will see, is a possible way to look at the world which reveals depths of meaning and wonder. It is, like a fairytale, both imaginative and filled with what Chesterton calls “the mere facts.” Enchantment shows us the truth and beauty of nature and brings with this vision such joy that once we have been enchanted we will seek to always see nature in this way, the way of enchantment.

Throughout this essay, we will examine the facts which “ratify,” as Chesterton calls it, an enchantment approach to nature. Enchantment is based in a Western worldview that understands humans as uniquely rational, a trait enabling them to interact with the transcendent world and with the physical natural world. This human interaction begins with wonder, where falling in love with beauty and learning about the natural world can lead to an attitude of awe and an experience of joy; in other words, to a moment of enchantment. We will then see how enchantment can impact our ethics, our environmental action, the role of stories in our education, and our practice of science.

Pape, Timothy (Oregon State University)

“What Values Drive the Conservation Reserve Program in the Columbia River Basin?”

The USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) was created in 1985 by the Food Securities Act and allows farmers to voluntarily convert environmentally sensitive land to vegetative cover in exchange for an annual rental payment. Since the Columbia River Basin has been designated a Critical Conservation Area by the Secretary of Agriculture, this project will study the CRP in the region using Elinor Ostrom’s Social-Ecological Systems (SES) framework, Qualitative GIS research, and existing environmental concepts of sustainability from philosophers Paul Thompson and Bryan Norton.

Robison, Vaughn (Oregon State University)

 

“Net Values: Framing the Conversation of Socioeconomic Impacts of Marine Reserves”

 

Oregon’s five marine reserves were established to conserve habitats and biodiversity by closing stretches of nearshore waters to extractive activities such as fishing. The success of the conservation objectives behind these protected areas are legally mandated to be considered alongside any adverse social and economic impacts on the ocean users who were displaced by them. Despite this consideration, managers, researchers, and ocean users may have competing or incompatible understandings of these impacts based on their individual value systems. Further, each group may communicate these impacts quite differently, leading to gaps in their acknowledgment. My work uses communication theory as a tool for better understanding how ocean users experience and express the social and economic impacts of conservation by allowing them to self-define their values and explicitly frame the conversation around them.

Rockney, Heidi, and Alexandra Avila (Oregon State University)

“A Scientist Journey: a New Approach to Science Communication”

Many scientists have come to realize that without proper communication and engagement of the general public, science information can easily get distorted, misinterpreted, taken out of context and generally not understood or taken seriously, especially in today’s complex world of fast and expanding multiple-looped communication technologies (i.e. telephones, satellites, internet, etc.) and volatile, shifting political and economic climate. Part of the issue of communicating science to the general public is the fact that starting from birth, we learn how to communicate and relate to storytelling as a way of sharing information, but the standard science writing approach is completely out of the sphere of where the language and feel of narrative stories rest. The order of events in a typical scientific manuscript is unfamiliar and confusing to readers not trained in this particular writing style and is extraordinarily atypical when compared to other forms of day to day social communication. This often results in scientists research being unrelatable and unengaging to any audience that may not understand some of the grimier science details of their work, which excludes a huge portion of the human population from accessing their research. However, it is not an easy shift to go from stiff, scientific writing into a natural and relaxed narrative story, especially if no previous creative writing has been practiced. I propose an interactive group game, entitled, A scientist Journey, for scientists of all ages and experience that will help them learn how to format their research into a storytelling narrative form that nonscientists can understand. The game is based on Joseph Campbell’s conceptual map of the Hero’s Journey, proposed in his book, A Hero of a Thousand Faces., which laid out the generic blueprint plotline of a hero that was basically the same in all stories, but adapted to different contexts of time and place can change. The journey originally had 17 stages, which have been converted into eight relatable stages that scientists can utilize to create a narrative story format for their own research.

Sheldrick, Sarah (Oregon State University)

“‘We are Groot’ Collaboration vs Compromise: Exploring the Components of Group Communication”

Learn to identify and include different communications styles in a group dynamic. What are the skills you can use to self-monitor a slow down a conversation in real time? Discover the benefits of how different communication cultures can shape a team’s collaborative power.

Shtob, Dan (University of Oregon)

“Resilience, Recovery, and Reality: Hurricanes, Housing, and the Human Cost of Disaster.”

Although resilience is an often-used term that can motivate and justify the deployment of significant resources, it has been criticized as meaningless and defined to death. Seeking to overcome this paradox—that the term is both conceptually powerful and derided as meaningless due to semantics—this dissertation seeks to reframe our approach to resilience by focusing on what it creates, rather than how it is described. Synthesizing natural hazards, environmental, and urban sociology with critical approaches to environmental justice, ideology, design, and the  production of space, I argue that disaster-based environmental inequality often originates in the pre-event preparedness phase, as programs focused on building resilience reflect and reproduce existing social priorities. These priorities may manifest both before and after the occurrence of disaster and may take shape by seemingly neutral efforts to protect people and structures. The goals of this project are to emphasize the importance of critical approaches to disaster planning well before a disaster focuses the public eye, as well as to challenge the assumption that uncritical disaster design and resilience planning represents a win-win.

Werndli, Alex (Oregon State University)

“Making the Desert Bloom [Again]: Colonial Rhetorics of Science and Agriculture in the Maghreb”

Scholarship on the Israeli project in Palestine has explored the “Making the Desert Bloom” metaphor that paints settlers, equipped with ‘modern’ science and logistics, as uniquely positioned to restore agricultural productivity to a barren desert. This presentation will adopt a rhetorical approach and apply the same lens to the French colonial project and its legacy in the Maghreb. Although the exact narratives differ between contexts, commonalities can be found in the invocation of technical expertise, restriction of deliberation, attempts to establish continuity with an imagined past, and ultimate aim of legitimating land claims. Analyzing the colonial narrative as such grants insight into the effects of metaphor on agricultural policy and the importation of rhetoric across different colonial contexts, with implications for postcolonial policy, hydrocapitalism in the age of neoliberalism, and modern environmentalism.

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