Transience, Garbage, Excess, Loss: The Ephemeral, 1500-1800

Transience, Garbage, Excess, Loss: The Ephemeral, 1500-1800

Jonathan Goldberg (English, Emory)
Elizabeth Heckendorn Cook (English, UCSB)
Friday, April 21, 2017 / 1:00 PM-4:30 PM
Saturday, April 22, 2017 / 8:30 AM-4:00 PM
Loma Pelona Conference Center

With the present rise of ephemera studies, we hope to investigate the limits, depths, and abilities of the ephemeral as it may pertain to literature, art, music, history, religion, philosophy, or other fields of inquiry. How is the ephemeral intimately connected to our study of early modernity? And what is at stake in plumbing what is, by definition, “short-lived” or “transitory”?

After teaching in Yale University’s English Department 1990-1995, Elizabeth Heckendorn Cook moved to UC Santa Barbara. She is affiliated with the Early Modern Center and the Literature & Environment initiatives in English, and with UCSB’s Environmental Humanities Center. In Epistolary Bodies: Gender and Genre in the Eighteenth-Century Republic of Letters (1996), she examined how epistolary novels play with and against print culture (Montesquieu, Richardson, Riccoboni, Crèvecoeur). In 2012, she co-edited the collection Invaluable Trees: Cultures of Nature 1660-1830. She is currently working on a book entitled Talking Trees: Others and Ethics in Long-Eighteenth-C. British Literature, which considers the history of environmental ethics in writing about trees and forests. Recent articles have focused on avian migration, botany and monstrosity, and the 18th-c. global circulation of flora. Together with several graduate researchers, she is developing the Early Modern British Theater: Access (EMBTA) project, which collects resources for teaching theater studies 1500-1800, at

Jonathan Goldberg joined the Emory faculty in fall 2006 as Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor. He previously taught at The Johns Hopkins University, where he was Sir William Osler Professor of English Literature; he also has held positions at Temple, Brown, and Duke Universities. His work includes Endlesse Worke (1981), James I and the Politics of Literature (1983), Writing Matter (1990), Sodometries (1992), Tempest in the Caribbean (2004), and The Seeds of Things (2009). He is also the author of a book on Willa Cather, editor of Milton and of the anthologies Queering the Renaissance (1994) and Reclaiming Sodom (1994). He edited Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s posthumous The Weather in Proust (2011). He published a monograph for Arsenal Pulp’s Queer Film Classics series on Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train in 2012. He is co-editor of This Distracted Globe: Worldmaking in Early Modern Literature, which appeared in 2016, as did Melodrama: An Aesthetics of Impossibility, a book about films by Douglas Sirk, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Alfred Hitchcock and Todd Haynes and fiction by Patricia Highsmith and Willa Cather.

Sponsored by the IHC, Graduate Division, Letters & Sciences, College of Creative Studies, the Dept. of Spanish & Portuguese, the Dept. of Philosophy, the Dept. of Linguistics, the Dept. of Germanic/Slavic Studies, the Comparative Literature Program, the Dept. of French & Italian, and the Dept. of English.