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April 21 - April 22

This symposium explores how infrastructure and aesthetics, as structuring forms, are being taken up in the environmental humanities. We will attend to infrastructure’s aesthetic capacities, how built forms and their materials produce specific aesthetic effects and social uses or make aesthetic perceptions available to social practice. In turn, we are interested in the ways aesthetic qualities such as medium, genre, narrative, and color are themselves infrastructural and shape encounters with infrastructure. These questions connect infrastructure and aesthetics to environmental and political struggles, such as those for resource security, political visibility, and access to environmental futures.



Thursday, April 21
225 Temple Hoyne Buell Hall

5:00pm–6:30pm: Keynote by Brian Larkin (Anthropology, Columbia/Barnard), “The Political Aesthetics of Light”; Respondent: Zsuzsa Gille (UIUC, Sociology)

Friday, April 22, Morning Session
225 Temple Hoyne Buell Hall

8:30am-9:00am: Coffee and Opening Remarks
9:00am-10:15am: Rebecca Evans (English, Southwestern University) / Rebecca Oh (English, UIUC), moderated by Jamie L. Jones (English, UIUC)
10:30am-11:45am: Simi Kang (Gender Studies, University of Victoria) / Sevin Yildiz (Urban Planning and Public Affairs, UIC), moderated by Daniel Schneider (Urban and Regional Planning, UIUC). Simi will be joining us virtually.

11:45am-1:15pm: Lunch Break


Friday, April 22, Afternoon Session
325 Temple Hoyne Buell Hall

1:15pm-2:30pm: Jessica Varner (Society of Fellows, University of Southern California) / Pollyanna Rhee (Landscape Architecture, UIUC), moderated by Julie L. Cidell (Geography and Geographic Information Science, UIUC)
2:30pm-2:45pm: Closing remarks by John Levi Barnard (Comparative Literature and English, UIUC)




This in-person symposium is co-sponsored by the Brenton and Jean Wadsworth Endowment of the Department of Landscape Architecture, the Mellon Foundation, the Environmental Humanities Research Cluster at the Humanities Research Institute, the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE), and the Departments of Sociology, English, and Urban & Regional Planning.


For more information about this event, please contact Prof. Rebecca Oh or Prof. Pollyanna Rhee.

For more information about other events in our Spring 2022 series, please contact Prof. Conor O’Shea.




April 21
April 22


Department of Landscape Architecture
HRI/Environmental Humanities Research Cluster