36th GAFIS Symposium, 2023



The “Living the Land: Global and Local (Trans)Formations” Symposium:

The connection between Humans and Nature goes beyond the boundaries of the body and mind: a deep and ancestral bond expressed in the symbiotic relationship that binds each individual to the land. In centuries of technological progress, the furious pursuit of profit, together with insane anthropocentrism, have corrupted the instinctive “sacredness” of this bond.
Nowadays, environmental crises are increasing on a worldwide scale, affecting both global and local realities and requiring the implementation of policies that would reshape human relationships with the land. Recurring in many fields of study is the attention given to sustainability and the practices that are necessary to make it a principle to live by; this entails a (trans)formation of collective and individual consciences, the promotion of values such as the respect for the land, the retrieval of ancestral knowledge, and the implementation of community practices of restoration. While the land is continuously changing and facing multiple threats, many studies recognize the centrality of nature’s agency and the importance of reconsidering the connection between people and the environment.
This symposium wants to explore past and contemporary understandings of the land, and its relationship with human beings over time, up to an era marked by constantly raising social concerns about the global environmental crisis. We propose to analyze the representations of these connections and how they are shaped by current studies, involving the works of graduate students from multiple fields of study. At the Living the Land: Global and Local (Trans)Formations Symposium, our goal is to promote a productive interdisciplinary discussion on those topics and contribute to the global debate on environmental change. We will welcome proposals from various disciplines including, but not limited to: literature, cinema studies, media studies, environmental studies, visual art, gender & women studies, sociology, geography, postcolonial studies, food studies, and more.

We hope that GAFIS 2023 will be a place of compelling and productive interdisciplinary discussion on the topic of the land.


KEYNOTE: Dr. Candace Fujikane

It is our pleasure to announce that Dr. Candace Fujikane of the University of Hawai’i (Department of English) will be joining us as this year’s keynote speaker. Professor Fujikane’s research focuses on Hawai’i literatures, Asian American Literature and Theory, Kanaka Maoli and critical settler cartographies, Indigenous knowledges and climate change, decolonial and abolitionist futures, critical ethnic studies, ecocriticism, and cultural studies.


Dr. Joshua Armstrong
(University of Wisconsin-Madison)


Dr. Candace Fujikane
(University of Hawai’i)

Dr. Grazia Menechella
(University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Dr. Stephen Young
(University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Info: GAFIS_Symposium@frit.wisc.edu


Many thanks to the Brittingham Trust, the Center for European Studies, the Department of French & Italian, the Graduate Association of French and Italian Students (GAFIS), the Department of Geography, IRIS-NRC, the Center for Interdisciplinary French Studies (CIFS), the Department of Art History, the Department of Communication Arts,  the Center for Culture, History and Environment, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries: Special Collections, the Department of English, the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, the Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program (LACIS), the Middle East Studies Program, the Department of Sociology, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, for their generous support.


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Photo: Qang Jaka (@qangjaka) on Unsplash.