Introducing OSEH Visiting Scholar: Lena Pfeifer
Oslo School of Environmental Humanities is excited to welcome Lena Pfeifer as a visiting scholar! She is a doctoral research fellow at the Department for American Studies at the University of Würzburg.
I am excited to be joining OSEH from early May to mid-June 2022 as a visiting scholar. Besides working on my PhD project, I am particularly looking forward to engaging with other researchers from the field in workshops and beyond, exchanging ideas, and being part of the seminar Situated Research - Exploring Place and Time through the Environmental Humanities in June.
I am a PhD candidate and research assistant at the department for American Studies at the University of Würzburg, Germany. I hold an M.A. in Anglophone literature and culture with a minor in philosophy from Heidelberg University, Germany. Before that, I also studied at University College Cork, Ireland, and was a short-term visiting researcher at King’s College Cambridge, UK. Besides working on my doctoral project, I am involved as a co-organizer of the EASLCE webinar series and as co-editor for EASLCE’s graduate blog Arcadiana. As an extension of my doctoral research, I am currently co-editing, together with two of my colleagues, a volume that brings together creative approaches to academic writing about climate change. This year, I will also be presenting parts of my work at, amongst others, the EASLCE Conference, the ACLA Annual Meeting, and various smaller workshops.
My research interests are rooted in the Environmental Humanities and more broadly coverfictional and non-fictional environmental writing of the 20th and 21st centuries, narratives of the Anthropocene, environmental political theory and ethics, the intersection of politics and literature, as well as Irish literatures of the 20th and 21st centuries. I have also newly developed an interest in petrocultures, means of narrativizing different transition processes and nuclear culture.
My dissertation project seeks to examine the ethical and political implications of the Anthropocene and its surrounding discourses. I am particularly interested in understanding to what extent the category of scale and the different temporalities of the Anthropocene require a reconfiguration of the figure of the human – both as a species entangled with various other-than-human entities and as a political subject. Grounded in literary studies, the project attempts to describe and conceptualize the role aesthetic and narrative forms play in formulating these reconfigurations and ethical complexities by tracing a range of anglophone fictional and non-fictional writings from the late 1980s to the present. Understanding the Anthropocene as both epoch and narrative, I read these texts as textual manifestations of and as proposed solutions to a range of questions pertaining to the interrelation of the human, time, and scale in the Anthropocene.
During my time at OSEH, I will mostly be working on a chapter of my dissertation which deals with narratives of human extinction across deep time and with exploring the ways in which these narratives decenter the human subject and thereby call for reconfigurations of what it means to be human in the Anthropocene.