Environmental Affairs Symposium Focuses on the Notion of Facts in Our Time
By Franchesca Schrambling BA ’22
The 24th Annual Environment Across Boundaries (ENVX) Symposium–titled “A Post-Truth Environment?”–will take place October 19 through October 21. This year, the ENVX schedule features in-person, online, and livestreamed events, including the opening and closing receptions, themed panels, and thought-provoking workshops. Panelists will include faculty members from the College of Arts & Science and the School of Law, as well as guest speakers.
On October 19, at 6 p.m., Naveed Mansoori, a political theorist from Princeton University, will deliver the keynote address titled “Propaganda and Post-Truth Politics.” It will be followed by a discussion and Q&A with faculty panelists James Proctor, professor of environmental studies and director of ENVS, and Kundai Chirindo, associate professor of rhetoric and media studies.
Mansoori is a postdoctoral research associate in the Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies at Princeton. His scholarship has interrogated the nature of truth, media, and crisis in the intellectual history of modern Iran. His keynote will apply these concepts in the larger context of environmental facts, politics, and persuasion.
“Mansoori writes about post truth, which helps us explore the times we’re in,” said Proctor. “In our current era, we can’t just show people proof and hope it’s sufficient to motivate action, especially following a political administration that exploited distrust of institutions of truth. But we can still have meaningful and effective conversations.”
This year’s student cochairs are Alexandre Chapelle BA ’24, Chris Kerkhof BA ’22, Liv Ladaire BA ’24, Anélyse Regelbrugge BA ’22, and Lewis Summers BA ’24.
“Nothing affects everyone more than the environment,” said cochair Summers, who has yet to declare his major but came to L&C from Virginia specifically for the ENVS Program. Summers was the point of contact for keynote speaker Mansoori.
“Dr. Mansoori has focused on post-truth and politics in Iran. I’m interested to see how our faculty panelists relate that back to our studies,” said Summers. “Talking about opinion formation is very relevant, and I think having a nuanced discussion, not just a politicized one that assigns blame, helps us understand what we can all fall into.”
ENVX—the annual symposia series sponsored by L&C’s Environmental Studies (ENVS) Program—promotes interdisciplinary approaches to environmental issues. Since its inception, the symposia have been organized and executed by student cochairs, with the help of the faculty director. ENVX is one of the signature symposia of the college and invites students, faculty, and community members to cross boundaries and examine complex environmental issues and topics.