The Consortium for Language Teaching and Learning

Columbia University

May 3-4, 2024

Language and Climate

Making Connections for a sustainable future

The relationship between climate and language is multifaceted and complex. It involves the constant interplay between environmental conditions, human adaptation, cultural practices, and language use. This symposium aspires to explore the nexus between climate and language study and examine the ideological assumptions that shape the relationship between the natural world and the language used to speak about it.

In person at Columbia
May 3-4, 2024

The Consortium symposium will take place at Columbia University in the South Hall of the historic Riverside Church (directions here). Check-in on Friday starts at 4pm and the keynote introduction will begin at 4:30pm.

Saturday, May 4 will feature panels of climate scholars, language professionals, administrators, and students. Breakfast will start at 8:30am, and the symposium will end at 4:30pm.

Please note that the symposium will also be livestreamed and will be available to the general public. Please check back for livestreaming information closer to the symposium date.

Keynote Speakers

Genevieve Guenther

Symposium Keynote Speaker

Genevieve Guenther is the founding director of End Climate Silence and affiliate faculty at The New School, where she sits on the board of the Tishman Environment and Design Center. Dr. Guenther advises NGOs, corporations, and policymakers on fossil-fuel disinformation and climate communication, and she serves as Expert Reviewer for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Her research has appeared in both scholarly journals and media outlets such as Scientific American, The New Republic, and MSNBC, and her next book, The Language of Climate Politics: Fossil-Fuel Propaganda and How to Fight It, is available for pre-order from Oxford University Press.

Christina Gerhardt

Saturday Opening Keynote Speaker

Christina Gerhardt is Leir Professor of Comparative Literature at Clark University, former Associate Professor and lead of the Environmental Humanities at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa; former Barron Professor in Environment and the Humanities at the High Meadows Environment Institute at Princeton University (2021-2022); and a permanent Senior Fellow at the University of California at Berkeley, where she taught previously. She is also an environmental journalist. Her writing has been published (under “Tina Gerhardt”) in The Guardian and Sierra Magazine, among other venues. She is the author of Sea Change: An Atlas of Islands in a Rising Ocean, published by the University of California Press and named one of the “Best Popular Science Books of 2023” by the New Scientist and called “a work of art” by the LA Times

Mark Turin

Closing Keynote Speaker

Mark Turin is an anthropologist, linguist, and Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia, where he directs the Digital Scholarship in Arts (DiSA) program. His academic background has focused on Indigenous studies, endangered languages, and oral literature. Dr. Turin is known for his extensive research in the Himalayan region and the Pacific Northwest, as well as his collaborative work with Indigenous communities. He has authored numerous books and served on research projects focusing on language documentation and revitalization. Additionally, he is recognized for his advocacy for linguistic diversity and has been involved in projects funded by organizations such as the Arcadia Fund and NASA.

Panelists

Francisca Aguiló-Mora

Francisca Aguiló-Mora is a Spanish Lecturer in the department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures at Columbia University. She earned a PhD in Romance Studies from the University of Miami, specializing in sociolinguistics, Latina/o Studies, and second language acquisition. She has a background in English Studies from the Universitat de Barcelona. She has recently developed an interest in the interface between language, cultural studies, and environmental discourse, and is now dedicated to exploring how this interdisciplinary encounter travels to the academic realm of Second Language Education.

Francisca’s other research focuses on three key areas: (1) literary and critical discourse analysis of US Latina narrative, drama, and performance, with an emphasis on phenomena of language use and language contact; (2) sociolinguistic and ideological aspects of Spanish in the US and Catalan in Spain; and (3) Spanish second language acquisition from the perspective of sociocultural theory, and heritage language teaching. These lines of research continue to lead to publications, and conference presentations.

Bruno Bosteels

Bruno Bosteels is Dean of Humanities in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences; Jesse and George Siegel Professor in the Humanities, with a joint appointment in the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society. He returned to Columbia in 2016, after having taught for thirteen years at Cornell University, for three years at Columbia, and for six years at Harvard University. His research covers a wide range of topics in literature, culture, and politics in modern Latin America as well as contemporary philosophy and political theory. He is the author of numerous scholarly books and translations.

He just finished a collection of a collection of essays on the antiphilosophers Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Lacan, and Žizek in dialogue with Badiou, titled ¿Qué es la antifilosofía? (forthcoming with Prometeo Libros). He is currently preparing two new books, the first a sustained polemical engagement with contemporary post-Heideggerian thought, titled Philosophies of Defeat: The Jargon of Finitude (Verso); and the second, a collection of recent and previously unpublished essays forthcoming under the title The State and Insurrection: New Interventions in Latin American Marxist Theory (University of Pittsburgh Press). With Joshua Clover he co-edits the book series “Studies in Literature and Revolution” for Palgrave Macmillan; and with George Ciccariello-Maher the book series “Radical Américas” for Duke University Press.

Claire-Marie Brisson

Dr. Claire-Marie Brisson is a Franco-Michigander who situates her rhizomatic identity between the United States and Canada, with roots in Metro Detroit and familial connections to Québec. Claire-Marie is the founder and host of The North American Francophone Podcast and is a Special Correspondent for Radio-Canada Alberta.

A life-long learner, Claire-Marie has combined her passion for research with a dedication to topics in Second Language Acquisition. Her practice weaves elements of design thinking, digital humanities, and global trends into her courses. She is a proponent of experiential learning and the blending of virtual and in-person experiences.

Sarah Cole

Sarah Cole is the Interim Dean of Faculty at the Columbia University School of the Arts, Parr Professor of English and Comparative Literature, and Dean of Humanities up to September 2023. A specialist in literary modernism, she is the co-founder of the area-wide NYNJ Modernism Seminar. She teaches courses in literary modernism and other topics in the 19th and 20th centuries, including war and violence,  the body and sexuality,  Irish literature, and author focused courses on Woolf, Eliot, Wells, Joyce, and others. She is the author of three books, Inventing Tomorrow: H. G. Wells and the Twentieth Century (Columbia, 2019), At the Violet Hour: Modernism and Violence in England and Ireland (Oxford, Modernist Literature and Culture series, 2012) and Modernism, Male Friendship, and the First World War (Cambridge, 2003), and has published articles in journals such as PMLA, Modernism/modernity, Modernist Cultures, Modern Fiction Studies, and ELH, and in edited collections.

Professor Cole has a longstanding interest in war, and as Dean of Humanities founded the Humanities War and Peace Initiative. She is currently working on a book about the imagining of futurity.

Professor Cole was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her Ph.D. is from the University of California, Berkeley (1997) and her B.A. from Williams College (1989).

Fransha Dace

Fransha (pronounced ‘fran-SHĀ’) Dace is a climate scientist from Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood. Fransha earned her bachelor’s degree in environmental science at Emory University and her master’s degree in Climate and Society at Columbia University. As a researcher at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Fransha deepened her interest in climate adaptation planning. In her current pursuit of a PhD at the Yale School of the Environment, Fransha hopes to combine this interest with her passion for localized resilience efforts to build prepared, supportive and safe communities domestically and internationally.

Ana Fernández-Cebrián

Ana Fernández-Cebrián is an assistant professor of Latin American and Iberian cultures. Her research focuses on the historical shifts pertaining ideological production and the transformations of the public sphere in modern and contemporary Spain, with a special emphasis on literature, cultural studies, film, and media. She earned her B.A. in Hispanic Philology from Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain, and her Ph.D in Spanish and Portuguese from Princeton University.

Her book Fables of Development: Capitalism and Social Imaginaries in Spain (1950-1967) (Liverpool University Press, 2023) focuses on a basic paradox: why is it that the so-called “Spanish economic miracle” —a purportedly secular, rational, and technocratic process— was fictionally portrayed through narratives in which providential or supernatural elements were often involved? In order to answer this question, this book examines cultural fictions and collective social life at the time —the 1950’s and 1960’s— when Spain turned from autarky to industrial and tourist development.

Her second book project, tentatively entitled Land and Water: Literature of the Commons in Modern and Contemporary Spain, studies the relationship between nature, political and literary imagination, and communitarian experiences. Other research and teaching interests include the impact of the accounts of progress, modernity, and scarcity on the expectations of a social majority in the current economic crisis.

Erin Friedman

Erin Friedman is a research scientist at the City University of New York Remote Sensing Earth Systems Institute and serves as the social science coordinator at the NOAA Center for Earth System Sciences and Remote Sensing Technologies. She focuses on analyzing the political economy of climate adaptation, uneven development, and vulnerability in urban coastal areas in both Caribbean countries and the United States. Erin employs mixed-methods approaches such as critical discourse analysis, corpus linguistics, and geographic information systems to conduct her research. Her work has appeared in various academic journals including Global Environmental Change, Climate Risk Management, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, as well as Annual Review of Public Health. 

Harrison Gerson

Harrison Gerson is a Columbia University undergraduate studying Sustainable Development, engaged in the circular economy, environmental tourism, and diplomacy in multilingual settings. Harrison speaks English, French, Spanish, and German and studies seven more languages to understand cultures and contribute to international sustainability.

Harrison developed sustainability plans for Columbia’s Global Center in Paris, the Chilean Tourism Federation in Santiago, and Patagonia Camp Hotel. He also works with Barnard Sustainability on their circular platforms and has developed interactive platforms on reframing tourism with environmental justice for NYC. Harrison is also an inaugural Student Scholar of the Institute of Global Politics at Columbia’s School of International & Public Affairs, where he researches the effects of artificial intelligence and language on democracy. His multilingual experiences frame how he engages in climate action.

Sandra Goldmark

Sandra Goldmark is a designer and professor whose work focuses on the circular economy and interdisciplinary climate strategies. Sandra is the Director of Sustainability and Climate Action and an Associate Professor of Professional Practice at Barnard College, and Senior Assistant Dean for Interdisciplinary Engagement at the Columbia Climate School. Sandra teaches courses in sustainable design, circularity, and climate. From 2013-2019, Sandra founded and operated Fixup, a social enterprise repair service dedicated to healthy and circular patterns of consumption. Sandra is a co-creator of the Sustainable Production Toolkit, a free climate action and sustainability resource for performing arts organizations, and serves on the Board of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, MSNBC, the BBC, The Sunday Times of London, The Daily News, Salon.com, and many more. A graduate of Harvard College and Yale University, Sandra is the author of Fixation: How to Have Stuff without Breaking the Planet. www.sandragoldmark.com

María Eugenia Lozano

María Eugenia Lozano joined Barnard’s faculty in 2010. Previously, she taught at Columbia University, University of Massachusetts, Amherst College, Holyoke Community College, and Washington State University.

Professor Lozano’s research interests include second language acquisition, language maintenance among immigrants, and the use of Web 2.0 technologies for language teaching. At Barnard she teaches beginner, intermediate, and advanced Spanish languages courses.

Ross Perlin
Ross Perlin is co-director of the Endangered Language Alliance (ELA), a non-profit research institute focused on documenting and supporting endangered languages in New York City and beyond. At ELA since 2013, he has edited the Languages of New York City map (www.languagemap.nyc) and managed a variety of projects focused on language documentation, language policy, and public programming around urban linguistic diversity. Himalayan languages are a research focus — for his PhD in Linguistics at the University of Bern, Ross created a trilingual dictionary, a corpus of recordings, and a descriptive grammar of Trung, an endangered language of southwest China, based on several years of fieldwork. Ross has a BA from Stanford, an M.Phil. from Cambridge, and an MA from the University of London (SOAS). Ross is also a writer and translator. His most recent book is Language City.

Jorge Méndez-Seijas

Jorge Méndez-Seijas is the Spanish Language Program Director and Senior Lector at Yale University. He holds a Ph.D. and an M.S. in Spanish Linguistics/Second Language Acquisition (Georgetown University), an M.A. in Phonetics and Phonology with a concentration on Second Language Acquisition (The Spanish National Research Council, Spain), and a B.A. in Spanish-American Language and Literature (Universidad de Los Andes, Venezuela). Before joining Yale, he taught and served as a course and/or program coordinator at Harvard University, Princeton University, Georgetown University, and the University of Rhode Island. 

Jorge’s research interests include curriculum design, theoretical and applied linguistics, second language acquisition and teaching, and heritage language education. He frequently presents at national and international conferences and publishes his work in specialized scholarly venues. His work on curriculum design has been recognized with the Innovation in Language Program Direction Award twice (2020, 2022), an award conferred by the American Association of University Supervisors, Coordinators, and Directors of Language Programs.

Américo Mendoza-Mori

Américo Mendoza-Mori teaches and researches topics on Latin American, U.S. Latinx, and Indigenous studies at Harvard University.

Dr. Mendoza-Mori is involved with different academic and community-oriented projects to raise awareness of the relevance of Quechua languages and literatures, Latinx and Latin American cultures, and Indigenous Knowledge Systems. His work has appeared in a variety of academic publications, TEDx Talks, and has been presented at major institutions such as the United Nations and international media (The New York Times, BBC, NPR, The Guardian).

Previously, he served as the founding coordinator of the University of Pennsylvania’s Quechua Language Program. Currently, he is a Lecturer in Latinx Studies and founder of the Quechua Initiative on Global Indigeneity at Harvard.

Renata Ruiz Figueroa

Renata joined Columbia University’s Latin American and Iberian Studies department as a Ph.D. student in 2020. She holds a B.A. in History from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Her interests lie at the intersection between agrarian history, environmental humanities, and visual and religious studies. Her research takes a trans-historical approach to explore the relations between the human and the non-human in processes of nation-building and the expansion of capitalist frontiers in Mexico, more recently focusing on the Nahua concept of altepetl (water-mountain) as an ecological complex. She is also interested in the uses of history, the politics of space and time, the history of rural movements and migrations, and the ecology of cloud forests.

Clare Sisisky

Dr. Clare Sisisky is the executive director of the Global Education Benchmark Group, a nonprofit organization that supports 360+ member schools and districts around the world in all aspects of K-12 global education. She is also the inaugural postdoctoral research fellow at the Klingenstein Center of Teachers College, Columbia University where she is also an adjunct faculty member. She has written and spoken widely on intercultural competence, climate action, and global citizenship education. Clare spent twenty years as a teacher and senior administrator at independent and public schools in the US and as an educator and researcher in Bangladesh, China, India, and Mauritius. She earned a master’s degree from Harvard University and a doctorate in education from the University of Pennsylvania. Clare’s research at the Klingenstein Center focuses on intercultural immersion learning and climate action in the curriculum.

Theresa Summer

Theresa Summer is Associate Professor of Teaching English as a Foreign Language at the University of Bamberg in Germany. Her research and teaching interests encompass learner perspectives, critical language pedagogy, pop culture, grammar, and global citizenship education. She has contributed theoretical, empirical, and practice-oriented works to these fields. As a co-editor of the volume Taboos and Controversial Issues in Foreign Language Education (Routledge), she aims to integrate functional language learning with relevant themes and important content, fostering an engaging approach to language education. One of her current projects within the competence network lernen:digital in Germany focuses on exploring the potential of immersive virtual reality for environmental learning.

Questions? Concerns?

You can contact the organizing committee by emailing lrc@columbia.edu