The pace and unpredictability of the phenomena we've been referring to as "climate change" makes that phrase seem almost euphemistic; recognizing that we are in an age of climate chaos calls us to a heightened sense of urgency and opens new areas for creative engagement. This presentation explores art that encourages us to "take the climate personally," using many affective registers--beyond guilt, shame, fear, and anger--to realign our values, thoughts, and feelings with more realistic and resilient attitudes to the strange new world ahead.
Una Chaudhuri is Collegiate Professor and Professor of English, Drama, and Environmental Studies at New York University. Her publications include No Man’s Stage: A Semiotic Study of Jean Genet’s Drama, Staging Place: The Geography of Modern Drama,Rachel’s Brain and Other Storms: The Performance Scripts of Rachel Rosenthal, and Land/Scape/Theater (co-edited Elinor Fuchs). Chaudhuri is a pioneer in the field of “eco-theatre”— plays and performances that engage with the subjects of ecology and environment—and helped to launch that field when she guest-edited a special issue of Yale’s Theater journal in 1994. Her introduction to that issue, entitled “’There must be a lot of fish in that lake’ Theorizing a Theatre Ecology,” is widely credited as a seminal contribution to the field. Chaudhuri was also among the first scholars of drama and theatre to engage with another rapidly expanding new inter-disciplinary field, Animal Studies, and guested edited a special issue of TDR: The Journal of Performance Studies, on “Animals and Performance.” In 2014, she published books in both these fields: an Animal Studies book entitled Animal Acts: Performing Species Today (co-edited with Holly Hughes) and an ecocriticism book entitled The Ecocide Project: Research Theatre and Climate Change (co-authored with Shonni Enelow). Professor Chaudhuri also collaborates on creative projects, including the multi-platform intervention entitled Dear Climate, which has been presented in New York, Santa Barbara, Troy, Dublin, Abu Dhabi, and the Netherlands.