I shy away from the arts. The human emotional stew…(but) I cannot avoid the library altogether – the human culture that taught me to speak in this tongue – I bring human values to the Creek, and so save myself from being brutalized.

Annie Dillard: Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

This is a blog that tries to enact what it calls out: Ecologies. It will connect, scale and balance aspects of my research and those whose research inspires me. I am Solvejg Nitzke, a comparatist by training with a strong focus on German language literatures. As I expand into the relationships, networks and entanglements of ecological storytelling, literatures – texts – it becomes ever more difficult to narrow down what field I belong to. And I like that, I am convinced that this is a standpoint which allows me and many others to connect beyond discipline(s) and contribute to a society that constists as much of scientists and academics as it does of trees and all in between. Working in the German Department at Technische Universität Dresden has put me in a position to talk to and work with all kinds of different people and I hope this blog will help sharing that connected work and inspiring more of it.

This is an attempt to share my research, but not only in the sense that I make it ‘available’ or popularize it. Rather, this is meant to be the impossible spot where I’m alone with my thoughts and at once connected to all who take part in the process – by reading, thinking with me, commenting, being there. It’s the impossible place where you can be in the forest and the library at once.

“Ecological Imaginaries” is supposed to be a record, a hub and a conversation starter, thus contains a multitude of textual formats: flash research reports, book reviews, observations from public and social media, and conversations with and guest posts by scientists and scholars working on related questions. It aims at reaching an interdisciplinary audience of scholars and scientists as well as communicating current research to an interested public. In a way, the blog itself emulates the ecologies that are its topic. Existential as well as spontaneous connections not only characterize non-human ecosystems but academic networks as well. This blog project extends an invitation to learn from trees and other non-humans how to forge connections and create conditions for livable ecologies to emerge.

Dr. Solvejg Nitzke teaches German literature at Technische Universität Dresden. She makes sure to sneak in as much cultural studies and comp lit as she can. Her research focuses on the narrative production of knowledge and environments, especially when these practices are disturbed. She has published on material and imaginary catastrophes, climate change, ecological story-telling in 19th-century Austria and nature writing. Her current project, “Making Kin with Trees,” explores the relationships humans hope to forge with giant plants. Website. Twitter. Contact.

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