Medieval Devysings is excited to host Shannon Gayk, Professor of English at Indiana University, whose expertise spans late-medieval religious writing, poetry and poetics, ecocriticism, environmental humanities, visual and material culture, and experiential learning. 

Her talk, "Becoming Beholden: Floods, Fires, and Acts of Attention," delves into the question of what it means to be beholden to a dying world, bringing medieval texts into conversation with our contemporary moment. Drawing from her forthcoming book, Apocalyptic Ecologies: Medieval Religious Literature and the Environmental Imagination, this talk explores how premodern accounts of biblical flood and fire probe the ethics of seeing ecological catastrophe and responding to the suffering it generates.

Professor Gayk's groundbreaking work reveals that medieval representations of catastrophe are not always what we might expect. Rather than emphasizing human dominion over or contempt for the physical universe, medieval writers often reimagined their biblical sources and used distinctive formal strategies to invite attention to and connection with a suffering world. Here she aims to model how early literature might help us see ourselves and the world we inhabit in new ways.

Becoming Beholden