Contemporary ecological discourse and science oscillate between the affirmation of a love that would occur spontaneously among living beings and the prescription of a compulsory love accompanied by a spirit of repentance. By its own confession, the problem of ecology is an erotic problem: we fail to love the planet. We have not been educated or accustomed to thinking of love as something that can affect individuals belonging to different species or kingdoms: and as we see in fairy tales, we are ready to love a frog only if it turns into a prince. This talk will ask what it means to think about nature as if the relationships that bind species are (as complicated as) love relationships and if we can understand what love is, in its original and paradigmatic form, as that which always binds us to individuals of other species.
Presented by the Department of English and Comparative Literature, the Office of the Dean of Humanities, the Institute for the Study of Sexuality and Gender, the Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities, the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, and the Maison Française at Columbia University