Annual Conference

Climate Fictions

2020 GCLR Graduate Student Conference 

Venue: Online

Time: November 21, 2020, at 10 a.m. Please email Christene d'Anca ( for the Zoom link. 

As climate change has become a central topic of discussion, laced with the uncertainty of tomorrow, the UCSB Graduate Center for Literary Research invites scholars from a variety of disciplines to reframe their conversations with a focus on this ubiquitous topic as it has been interpreted in literary fiction, as well as within the arts. 

Originally coined by Dan Bloom, Climate-Fiction, popularly known as Cli-Fi, is a type of fiction that explores what the earth might become if climate change continues at its current rate, and specifically if humans do not intervene to save the planet. 

As many successful authors, such as Margaret Atwood, T. C. Boyle, Amitav Ghosh, Ursula Le Guin, Lydia Millet, David Mitchell, and Leslie Marmon Silko, have contributed to promulgating the topics of climate change and global warming into the public eye, Cli-Fi has gained prominence as more than a fringe genre.

Conference papers will address the following issues:

  • In terms of climate change, and the mediums that engage with it, are genre fictions, fict-documentaries, mainstream novels, poetry, works of nonfiction, and film, really so separable? 

  • What does each bring to the table? 

  • How do they overlap, and where do they diverge? 

  • How does climate fiction reflect and/or imagine the nonhuman/posthuman experience of environmental change and destruction? 

  • As climate change compels us to rethink geopolitics, how does it complicate questions of post-coloniality? 

  • How are people from around the world responding to climate change? 

Conference Schedule


10:00   Opening remarks offered by Sven Spieker, GCLR Director, and Christene d’Anca, GCLR Research Coordinator

10:15 Panel One

Panel Chair : Pujita Guja, University of California, Santa Barbara

10: 20 Lydia Borowicz, University of California, Santa Barbara

Performing Carbon Ruins: Climate Futures as Embodied Potential

10: 35 Margarita Delcheva, University of California, Santa Barbara

          Minimalism and the Revelatory Tool of Apocalypse in Ben Lerner’s Novel 10:04 and Béla Tarr’s Film The Turin Horse

10: 50 David Vivian, University of California, Santa Barbara

          Chaos in the Anthropocene: Subjectivity, Time, and the Role of Fiction in Ben Lerner’s 10:04

11:05 Wendy Sun, University of California, Santa Barbara

Climate Fiction as World Literature? A Case Study on The Wandering Earth

11:20 Discussion

11: 40 Break


11:55 Panel Two

Panel Chair : Ben Beitler, University of California, Berkeley

12:00 Rachel Feldman, University of California, Santa Barbara 

Green, Beige, White: Visualizing the Ends of the Earth

12:15 Michelle Robertson, University of California, Irvine

Nuclear Colonialism at the Twilight of Humanity: Jeff VanderMeer’s Borne

12:30 Discussion

12:45 Break


1:00 Panel Three

Panel Chair : Surojit Kayal, University of California, Santa Barbara 

1:05 John Schranck, University of California, Santa Barbara   

Storms of Our (Un)Doing: Shakespeare’s AnthropoTempest and the “Brave New World”

1:20 Sage Freeburg, University of California, Santa Barbara 

Nuance and the Anthropocene: Fictions in Animal Conservation Efforts

1:35 Discussion


1:50 Closing remarks offered by Christene d’Anca