Book launch: Moth

Date and time
8 June 2016
6.30-8 PM GMT

Location
Stoke Newington Bookshop, 159 Stoke Newington High St, London N16 0NY 

Book launch: Moth

nspired by the plants and animals found in marginal spaces and wastelands, Matthew Gandy has written a new book, Moth. This book forms part of the Reaktion Animal series which weaves together aspects of science with cultural history.  Labelled as “wonderfully idiosyncratic” by The New York Times, the Animal series offers a novel approach to exploring the historical significance of various animals. Matthew’s book focuses on the moth: long associated with darkness and the gothic imagination, yet significant in a myriad of other ways, from silk production to sensitive indicators of environmental change.

“The rich history of vernacular names speaks to the significant place of moths in early cultures of nature: names such as the Merveille du Jour, the Green-brindled Crescent and the Clifden Nonpareil evoke a sense of wonder that connects disparate fields such as folklore, the history of place and early scientific texts, ” Matthew writes.

Manufacturing Gesellschaft: Urbanized Nature and the Green Screen

Date and time
Thursday 2 June 2016
2.30-4 PM GMT

Location
G07, Pearson Building, UCL Department of Geography, London, WC1E 6BT

Manufacturing Gesellschaft: Urbanized Nature and the Green Screen 

Dr Hillary Angelo, University of California, Santa Cruz

This talk offers a sociological account of urban greening: the normative practice of using nature to fix problems with urbanism. Through a historical comparison of greening practices at three moments of major urban restructuring in Germany’s Ruhr Valley, I find that urbanization made nature into a tool for manufacturing Gesellschaft, or ideal urban society, and that a social imaginary of nature as a vehicle for social goods, which I call urbanized nature, makes greening practices possible. In addition, the comparison reveals that greening operates with characteristic social logics. While spatializing very particular ideals of bourgeois urban publics, nature’s “green screen” allows protagonists to carry out greening projects as universally beneficial investments in the public good, and conditions audiences to respond in kind.


Dr. Hillary Angelo is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of California Santa Cruz. Her work explores the relationship between ideas about nature and urbanization processes from historical, theoretical, and ethnographic perspectives. She is currently preparing a book on urban “greening” in Germany’s Ruhr region, and is at work on two new projects: one on infrastructure and sociology (with Craig Calhoun), and the other on equity in urban sustainability planning. Recent publications include “From the city lens toward urbanisation as a way of seeing: Country/city binaries on an urbanising planet” (Urban Studies 2016) and “Urbanizing urban political ecology: A critique of methodological cityism” (IJURR 2015, with David Wachsmuth).