Mellon Forum on the Urban Environment // RACE EMPIRE ENVIRONMENT
Urban Greening and the Off-Modern
With Mariah Taylor, Princeton-Mellon Fellow, and Allison Carruth, HMEI and American Studies
November 2, 2022
Betts Auditorium and Zoom via the link below:
Does urbanism include the non-human world? What can street trees tell us about infrastructure and modernity? This talk will consider Soviet urban and industrial greening projects as a way to think about climate systems, non-Western environmentality, non-Democratic participatory politics, and alternatives to the capitalistic view of the environment as a site of resource extraction.
It takes as its inspiration Svetlana Boym’s 2010 essay, “The Off-Modern Mirror,” where she writes “The twentieth century began with futuristic utopias and dreams of unending development and ended with nostalgia and quests for restoration. The twenty-first century cannot seek refuge in either.”
Boym’s advocacy of the off-modern — variously glossed as a worldview, a detour, a provocation, a project of recovery, an oblique “knight’s move,” a lateral veering, off-track, off Broadway, off-stage — continues to resonate today. Its reverberations ring new echoes as our attention bounces among tangled crises of economic/political inequity, democratic fragility and ecocide.
The Mellon Forum is sponsored by the Mellon Foundation, Humanities Council, Center for Collaborative History, HMEI, PIIRS, PLAS, Department of Art + Archaeology, Department of English, and the School of Architecture.