The 19th Kim Okgill Memorial Lecture
The Ewha Institute for the Humanities hosted the 19th Kim Okgill Memorial Lecture at Lee Sang-bong Hall in the ECC building on March 29.
The “Kim Okgill Memorial Lecture” is an academic series organized to pay homage to Kim Okgill (1921-1990), an extraordinary teacher who served as the 8th president of Ewha. It is designed to further develop the humanities, sociology, natural sciences, and arts and to popularize academic achievements.
This year’s memorial lecture was organized to offer a space for scholarship where the emerging issue of sustainability, or the collective awareness of life and ecology, could be discussed. Ursula K. Heise, a professor at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) studying environmental issues and climate change and actively putting her beliefs into practice, was invited as a guest speaker for this lecture. Professor Heise is not only an established ecological critic but also Director of the Institute for Environment and Sustainability and holder of the Marcia H. Howard Term Chair in Literary Studies in the Department of English at UCLA. In addition, she is a researcher and environmental activist who initiated the Stanford Environmental Humanities Project and served as the president of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE) out of a passion for global issues such as the environment and climate change.
In her lecture entitled “Beyond Realism: Narrative and Environmental Futures,” Heise emphasized the risks of climate change threaten life on the planet and the need to be aware of these risks and take appropriate actions. She has sought possibilities of thought and imagination from science fiction as a new storytelling strategy for an era of unprecedented environmental degradation and climate change. She enthusiastically delivered an intriguing speech on how literature can provide answers to questions about this new era while introducing various subjects, plots, and narrative strategies from speculative fiction that encourage the development of critical thinking about human sustainability.
“We need humanistic introspection going beyond science and technology and a policy regime, namely a new set of values, reconstruction of ethics, and intellectual imagination surpassing existing boundaries, to wisely solve the problems posing a threat to humans,” she remarked with great force.
Following the speech, Professor Sohn Ji Ae (International Studies) led an enthusiastic discussion and Q&A session with Ursula K. Heise, Professor Ae-Ryung Kim from the Ewha Institute for the Humanities (majoring in philosophy) and Professor Ji-hyung Park of Environmental Science and Engineering.
The Ewha Institute for the Humanities is in charge of the organization of the Kim Okgill Memorial Lectures. It strives to provide a place for new academic discourse while preparing various issues and topics to reinterpret and transmit the virtues and values that Kim Okgill pursued.