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Patryk Szaj

Patryk Szaj

Roundtable Title: Challenges and Tensions of the Narratives from the Affective Anthropocene

Participants: Forrest Clingerman, Magdalena Hoły-Łuczaj, Silviya Serafimova & Patryk Szaj

Title: Opening futures through the work of mourning

Abstract: The scalar dissonance of the Anthropocene that many scholars write about (Lynn Keller, David Wood, Timothy Clark, Monika Rogowska-Stangret, among others) has both a cognitive and an affective side. In my intervention, I will show that the Anthropocene disorder marks a fundamental state shift that amounts to the end of the world as we knew it (which may be called a “Modern Constitution” after Bruno Latour). However, this does not mean the end of the world as such. What is at stake during the Anthropocene is how to change that negative experience into something new, positive, and emerging – something that, for a change, may be called the Chthulucene (after Donna Haraway). The phenomenon of “ongoingness” that Haraway mentions in her book means that multiple multispecies futures are still possible. In order to “welcome” that ongoingness, I will demonstrate that one has to do the proper work of mourning, that is, accepting the loss. I will co-think this question with some Polish poets who try to overcome the crisis of imagination through the lenses of climate grief (Małgorzata Lebda), interspecies solidarity (Szczepan Kopyt), affective kinship with other animals (Anna Adamowicz), and critique of Capitalist realism (Tomasz Bąk).

Bio: Patryk Szaj is an Assistant Professor of Literary Studies at the Pedagogical University of Kraków. In his work, he focuses on environmental humanities, the Anthropocene discourse, and contemporary Polish poetry.