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FHI - Sarah Nuttall, "Pluviality and Pluvial Time: Hydrocolonialism, Untethered Temporalities and African Elemental Forms"

You are invited to a lecture by Sarah Nuttall. This lecture is presented by the Franklin Humanities Institute as part of The Entanglement Project.

In this presentation, I work with the concepts of pluviality and pluvial time that I have developed for rainworlds falling and flooding in a multiplicity of registers and contexts, material and imaginative, forming elemental languages related to but distinct from humanities scholarship focused on water and the oceanic. I draw on forms of expressive culture from the African South to articulate pluviality as an event or condition, including in its traumatic aspects, in registers of wet and dry, hard and soft. Pluviality and pluvial time carry interpretative potential, when situated within work on hydrocolonialism, layering hydrological cycles onto post-imperial histories and driving a debate on the elemental media of anti-colonial nationalisms, and of colonialities and decolonialities being shaped in the present. The talk is situated in relation to scholarship on hydropoetics, and draws on Hugo kaCanham's writing in his book Riotous Deathscapes, in a tense "untethered" from the present but in a time of the always now, an idea that everything is now and that time fails: that where we must deploy tense, we can also perceive "the reverberations of things that push against the surface of temporality and rest in its folds."

Sarah Nuttall is Research Professor in Literary and Cultural Studies at WISER at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. From 2012-2022 she was Director of the Institute. Recently, she has been involved in collaborative and public humanities projects at WISER on reading for water in the archives of southern African literature and cultures and on exploring materiality as method. She is also working with colleagues on a project on hinterlands as regional formations, drawing on global South archives and centering questions of extraction, abandonment, and care. One of several works published in 2023 is Reading From the South: African Print Cultures and Oceanic Turns in the Work of Isabel Hofmeyr, a work of feminist historiography. A second strand of her work has been on her concept of 'the redistributed university' and she has been involved in the emergence and launching of critical university studies in South Africa. Her latest monograph On Pluviality is forthcoming.

Lunch will be served at noon, and the lecture begins at 12:30 pm.

Contact: FHI