WEBINAR: Plant-human Hybrids in Contemporary Fiction. Environmental Lunchtime Discussion

Can monstrous plants help human beings imagine and transform themselves into more sustainable creatures? In this talk, Dr. Astrid Møller-Olsen analyses fictional plant-human hybrids that question the nature-culture dichotomy and explore alternative paths to understanding the planet as a cross-species environment.

Image may contain: Green, Plant, Leaf, Food.

Foto: Astrid Møller-Olsen.

In a world where environmental concerns loom large in the media and classrooms alike, it is not only in apocalyptic or ecocritical fiction that we encounter ecological motifs and botanical characters. This talk examines three literary works, from three different generic traditions, that feature plant-human hybrids: Dorothy Tse’s speculative short story “Bitter Gourd Girls,” science fiction writer Chi Hui’s “The Rainforest,” and Can Xue’s surrealist novel Love in the New Millennium.

Recent scholarship in critical plant studies have highlighted that attention to botanical characters may help us understand, if not how plants communicate and sense the world, then at least how we imagine they do. Attempting to circumvent anthropocentrism, this radically non-human perspective, produces alternative visions of the planetary future as well as ecologically situated readings of human history. Combining ecocriticism with the figure of the monster (human-like, yet not human), this talk analyses literary plant-human hybrids in contemporary Sinophone fiction.

About the speaker

Astrid Møller-Olsen is postdoctoral research fellow in an international position between Lund University (Sweden), the University of Stavanger (Norway), and the University of Oxford (UK). She has a background in both comparative literature and Chinese studies and has published on fictional dictionaries, urban forms of narrative memory, and sensory approaches to the study of literature. Her current research is a cross-generic study of plant-human relationships in contemporary Sinophone literature from science fiction to surrealism.

About the event series

The OSEH Environmental Lunchtime Discussion series consists of short, 15 minute presentations by invited guests, followed by a discussion. We invite speakers from a wide variety of fields, both academic and beyond. The presentations are accessible and are aimed at anyone with an interest in environmental issues. All are welcome.

Tags: Environmental Humanities, HF, IKOS, OSEH, Fiction, China
Published Dec. 4, 2020 10:56 AM - Last modified Jan. 18, 2021 10:56 AM