Scott Pincikowski
(Hood College, Frederick, MD)

“Assessing our Relationship with Nature through the Environmental Humanities:
A Bioethics Approach to Sarah Orne Jewett’s ‘A White Heron’ (1886)”

May 21, 2024, 16:15-17:45, Fakultätssaal, 01-185 (Philosophicum)


In this class we will analyze Sarah Orne Jewett’s short story “A White Heron” through the lens of the environmental humanities. We will treat this text as a prototypical example of eco-literature, experimenting with different ecological readings based upon varying bioethical modes of thinking. In doing so, we will discuss the possibilities and limitations of opening a fictional text to multiple interpretations of environmental worldviews, evaluating what role literature, and the humanities for that matter, can have helping people assess their own relationship with nature, and helping shape their attitudes about the environment. As part of this discussion, we will also attempt to “rewild” “A White Heron,” reimagining the story through traditional ecological knowledge and indigenous American bioethics as found in Robin Wall Kimmerer’s groundbreaking book Braiding Sweetgrass.


Dr. Pincikowski is environmental humanist, professor of German, chair of the Department of Global Languages and Cultures, and student of Environmental Biology at Hood College. His research focus has been on medieval German culture and literature, and now explores how different cultures perceive nature and the environment. He is the author of Bodies of Pain: Suffering in the Works of Hartmann von Aue and co-editor of End-Times in Medieval German Literature: Sin, Evil, and the Apocalypse. He is currently working on a chapter on tree nationalism in German culture for his book project on memory and the German Middle Ages. He was Fulbright Visiting Professor in the Humanities and Social Sciences in at the University of Innsbruck, Austria in 2014 and Visiting Professor of German at the University of Pennsylvania in 2012.


You can download the poster for the event here.


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