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Co-Curricular Events

Theme Semester: Climate

Theme Semester includes events throughout the semester to spark discussion about many facets of climate. 

Keynote Speaker 

Richard Alley, a noted geologist and host of the PBS documentary Earth: The Operator’s Manual, will present the keynote address for Theme Semester 2021. 

Co-Curricular Programming Award Recipients

Please join us in congratulating the following faculty members, who will receive support to develop programming and events for Theme Semester 2021. We are excited about the ways that these innovative programs and events will engage audiences with the theme of Climates, in all sense of that word. 

While this page recognizes the faculty who proposed events and received co-curricular awards, view our public Theme Semester page for the most recent calendar.

Pessimistic views about climate change are often dismissed by activists as irresponsible “doomism.” Yet after more than thirty years of increasing carbon emissions, decreasing democratic accountability, and repeated failures to constrain global warming, optimism seems unwarranted — and perhaps irresponsible in its own way. What are the ethics of climate pessimism? Is it a justifiable position? In this lecture and discussion, Dr. Roy Scranton, the director of the Environmental Humanities Initiative and an associate professor of English at the University of Notre Dame, will address the dramatic crises in physical, geopolitical, and civil climates presently facing humanity, and how a pessimistic view of these crises is not only defensible, but ethical and prudent.  
Drawing from his recent works We’re doomed. Now what? (2018) and Learning to Die in the Anthropocene: Reflections on the End of a Civilization (2015), Dr. Scranton will discuss how confronting the worst-case scenarios of climate change may actually help us avoid them.  

David Barbeau 
School of the  Earth, Ocean and Environment

The second annual “Violence and (In)justice” lecture series features scholars from across the U.S. who study violence, inequality, and injustice. This year, the lecture series will focus on how racism, homophobia and sexism foster hostile climates: environments that are not only violent and unjust, but hostile to the "mental, moral and emotional” well-being of affected populations and broader society. 

Kaitlin Boyle
Criminology  and Criminal  Justice 

Deena Isom Scott
Criminology  and Criminal  Justice 

Laura Brashears  

Suzanne Swan 
Psychology /  Women’s and Gender Studies 

Dawn Campbell 
Women’s and  Gender  Studies 

Since 2011, emerging museum professionals have been voicing their resistance to the lack of inclusion and equity in museums, including the lack of diversity in staff, exhibitions and collections. The cultural climate in museums has been brought to the fore as voices calling for a change in the climate of museums have multiplied exponentially. 
One of those voices is Stephanie A. Johnson-Cunningham, the founder of Museum Hue, an organization dedicated to advancing Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color in the cultural field. She will present the history and vision for Museum Hue, as well as outline strategies and tools for making museums more inclusive and keeping them that way. 

Lana Burgess, McKissick Museum

This event aims to make visible the contributions of Latin American critical thought and artistic production to ecocriticism and the environmental humanities. 
After the screening, faculty experts will present on themes connected to their research in ecocriticism as well as on the relationship between academic research and public scholarship and activism when confronting climate change on the local, regional and global scales.  

Rebecca Janzen 
Languages, Literatures, and Cultures 
Andrew Rajca 
Languages, Literatures, and Cultures 

Faculty from a range of departments including the School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment; Biological Sciences; Geography; and Philosophy will give short presentations featuring their research relevant to anthropogenic climate change. 
This event will showcase the breadth of interdisciplinary research happening in the college to both characterize and manage anthropogenic climate change.  

Erin Meyer-Gutbrod 
School of the  Earth, Ocean and Environment

This film screening will feature the works of environmental documentarian Yann Arthus-Bertrand. Films will include Home (2009), Human (2015), Terra (2015) and Woman (2020). This will include virtual as well as in-person screenings and discussion opportunities, as well as a virtual question and answer session with the filmmakers. 

Jeff Persels 
Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

Amanda Dalola 
Languages, Literatures, and Cultures 

This symposium will examine issues related to African Americans and climate justice. Using the film Mossville: When Great Trees Fall as a way to think about environmental issues facing African American communities, we will discuss the impact of pollution, floods, and contaminants in food and water on African Americans in the South and in other areas of the country. 

Kim Simmons 
Anthropology/African-American Studies/ Institute for African American Research 

What if we view our climate emergency as an opportunity to wake up, re-evaluate our existence, re-imagine how we live with each other and how we love one another? Imagine the new products and services, new technologies, new jobs, new economies, and new systems we can create over the next few decades. This is where climate designers come in. 
Climate Designers is an international collective of designers focusing their creative talents on issues related to the climate crisis. The organization serves as a platform for communication, networking and education for designers seeking ways to integrate climate-consciousness into their professional practice. In addition to a public lecture by O’Brien, this event will include a 48-hour design challenge and give graphic design students the opportunity to have their ideas to be presented to the Climate Designers. 

Marius Valdes
School of Visual Art and Design

Stephanie Nace 
School of Visual Art and Design

Meena Khalili 
School of Visual Art and Design

Brent Dedas 
School of Visual Art and Design

Renowned science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson joins UofSC faculty in a virtual conversation about the ethics and social implications of climate change. 
In his latest novel, “The Ministry for the Future,” Robinson uses fictional eyewitness accounts to tell the story of how climate change will affect us all. It is not a desolate, postapocalyptic world, but a future that is almost upon us and whose challenges we still have a chance to overcome. 

Lori Ziolkowski 
School of the  Earth, Ocean and Environment


 Additional Affiliated Programming

This lecture bu Xuefeng Peng will feature the often overlooked, unseen majority of our living world, microorganisms, and their role in shaping, recording, and responding to climate change. 
Backed by the latest research, the lecture will be accessible to a general audience.The goal of the lecture is to raise people’s awareness in the role of microorganisms in climate change and to encourage responsible behaviors that can have a positive impact on the earth’s microbiome. 

Xuefeng Peng 
School of the  Earth, Ocean and Environment


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.