On the morning of June 18, the fourthsessionof international seminar on “Culture and Literature” hostedby the School of Foreign Language was held on theVoov Meetingplatform as scheduled. Thekeynotespeaker, Professor Lisa E. Bloom,delivereda wonderful lecture titled “A View from the Future: Writers and Filmmakers Turn to Science Fiction to Write a Message about our World” tothe audience. Professor Jiao Xiaoting from the School of Foreign Language presided over the seminar, andotherteachers, undergraduates, postgraduates from Henan University and other universitiesalso joined init online.
Professor Bloom began her lecture bytwo terms ofAnthropocene and Capitalocene. Anthropocene refers to a new geological period when humans have become geological agents and it is characterized by ecosystem failures, rising sea levels, pandemics and others.Capitalocene, as a more pointed supplement to the term Anthropocene, suggests that ecological despoliation of humans is a consequence not ofhumans,but of Capital.Since the future is already upon humans, scholars in the environmental humanities including historians, science studies, cultural studies, and literature professors turn to speculative fiction and science fiction as a way of responding to the challenging times humans are all currently living through. Then, Professor Bloom discussed a short science-fiction style text titledThe Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Futureand a short science-fiction video titledA Message from the Future.The book, written from the vantage point of 2093, offers a future viewpoint and the act of writing about the present in the past tense makes the account of current situation even more chilling. She quoted the openingremarksof the book “Science fiction writers construct an imaginary future; historians attempt to reconstruct the past. Ultimately, both are seeking to understand the present”. The short video, based on the premise that humans pulled off a Green New Deal emphasizes the role of the artistic imaginary that constructs a new reality in which humans do not merely survive, but transform. Afterwards, Professor Bloom mentioned the COVID 19 and discussed issues of American governments’ attitudes toward the pandemic, the challenges faced by the globalization and others. At last, she indicated that writers and filmmakers were creating new ways of seeing, thinking, and writing to orient humans and inspire future scholars, writers, artists, and witnesses to come together to make a more just and resilient global community.
At the end of the lecture, Professor Gao Jihai, and other audienceshad a heated discussion on human’s influenceon the earth, males’ and females’ different attitudes towards human’s activities and the relation between science fiction and politics,etc..(Author: Ding Lan,Jiang Shu)