Help pick the book FES Reads!

From Frankenstein to The Year of the Flood, good books have always played a large role in environmental understanding and action.

In a fun twist on CBC Radio’s “Canada Reads” program, the Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) has come up with FES Reads! Four York professors will “drop the gloves” to argue how their selected novels should be the one book that everyone in FES reads this year.

Part one of FES Reads! will take place Tuesday, Oct 4, from 12:45 to 2:15pm, at 140 Health, Nursing & Environmental Studies Building, Keele campus. Part two will happen Tuesday, Nov. 29, from 11:30am to Galore Book Cover1pm, at the same location with FES Professor Catriona Sandilands, Ella Soper, a FES postdoctoral fellow, and Amanda Di Battista, a FES PhD student, moderating both events. Everyone is welcome to come and make some noise for the book they like. Noisemakers are welcome.

The idea for the book face-off is that literature can help readers to think through the complexity of environmental issues, to feel passionately about the unjust impacts of environmental disasters and to act ethically with the perspectives of others in mind.

FES Professor Gail Fraser, whose areas of interest include ecology – avian, Fantasia Book Coveraquatic, marine, terrestrial – wildlife management and extractive industries, will champion Michael Crummy’s Galore (Random House, 2009) about the power of stories to shape and sustain us. It is a family saga and love story spanning two centuries in remote and isolated rural Newfoundland.

Stefan Kipfer, a FES professor and PhD program coordinator, will argue for Assia Djebar’s Fantasia: An Algerian Cavalcade (Heinemann Educational Books, 1993), which intertwines the history of Algeria with the life of a young girl in the old Roman coastal town of Cherchel, who joins her brother in the fight against French domination. It covers the period from the time of the French conquest in 1830 to the War of Liberation of the 1950s. Elle Book CoverKipfer’s research includes a look at urban-regional politics and planning, urban social movements and restructuring, colonization, territorial relations and regional planning.

FES Professor Tim Leduc will fight for Douglas Glover’s Elle (Goose Lane Editions, 2007) about a young French woman headed for Canada in 1542, who is marooned on the desolate Isle of Demons during Jacques Cartier’s ill-fated third and last attempt to colonize Canada. Leduc is interested in intercultural views on northern climate change, ecological worldviews, religion and eco-humanities, as well as colonial and indigenous knowledge in Canada.

Zora Neale Hurston Book CoverLeesa Fawcett, FES associate dean of students, will advocate for Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God (Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2006), originally published in 1937. The book follows the life of an African-American woman, Janie Crawford, as she negotiates life as a woman in the black town of Eaton, Florida, under the shadow of slavery. Fawcett’s research looks at, among other things, gender and environments, and globalization and international development.

FES Reads! is sponsored by the Faculty of Environmental Studies and the Sustainable Writing Lab.

For more information, visit the FES website.