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Hope and Grief in the Age of Climate Change: Queer Disability Politics and Ancient Jewish Story, the Sondra and Howard Bender Visiting Scholar Public Lecture
A Public Lecture by Dr. Julia Watts Belser
Wednesday, March 22 | 5:00 - 6:30 PM (MT)
via Zoom

Can Jewish text and tradition offer resources for navigating the emotional terrain of climate change? In her presentation, Prof. Watts Belser will examine ancient and contemporary stories about Jonah, the biblical prophet who famously turned away from God’s call. Alternating between flight and fatalism, Jonah eventually fixates on a prophesy of doom—one that shares striking similarities to contemporary American responses to climate crisis. In our discussions together, we will probe classical Jewish texts about the cruel city, examining how the rabbinic stories can illuminate both the realities of pervasive structural violence and the possibility of resistance. But while biblical stories about widespread social crisis often end in cataclysm, Prof. Watts Belser's talk will argue against cultural tropes of widespread destruction and inevitable doom. Instead, we’ll lift up the embodied ethics of contemporary queer disability communities on the frontlines of climate disruption, showing how disability practices of collective care offer persistent possibilities for the practice of fierce and tender hope.

Julia Watts Belser (she/her) is Professor of Jewish Studies in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, as well as core faculty in Georgetown’s Disability Studies Program and a Senior Research Fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. Her research centers on gender, sexuality, and disability in rabbinic literature, as well as queer feminist Jewish ethics. She directs an initiative on Disability and Climate Change, which brings together disability activists, artists, policy makers, and academics to address how disability communities are disproportionately affected by environmental risk and climate disruption.

Mar 22, 2023 05:00 PM in Mountain Time (US and Canada)

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