“The “Greening” of the Past – “The French Wars of Religion and the Environment” on December 9 at Washington College


Illustration of the French Religious Wars between Catholics and Huguenots by a contemporaneous artist Frans Hogenberg (1535 – 1590)

CHESTERTOWN, MD—The human casualties of four decades of intermittent civil “Dominion and Domain: The French Wars of Religion and the Environment” will discuss this question and the development of a history of modern eco-consciousness–the “greening” of the past. Jeff Persels, associate professor in the University of South Carolina’s Department of Language, Literatures, and Cultures, will lead this conversation of 16th-century France’s potential contributions to that history.

The French Wars of Religion, also known as the Huguenot Wars, lasted from 1562-1598 — 36 years and one month — although there was not constant fighting. It began in the era of Catherine de Medici, the queen-mother of France, and was the second deadliest European religious war. (The deadliest was the Thirty Years’ War, 1618 -1648, which took over eight million lives in what is now Germany.) But there was more than religion at stake.

The talk, sponsored by the William James Forum and the Center for Environment & Society, is set for December 9 at 11:15 a.m. in Hynson Lounge and is free and open to the public.

Persels’ research interests focus on early modern French prose and verse polemic. He teaches courses in early modern French literature and culture, French theater, contemporary French culture and society and European Studies. He also stages student and amateur French-language plays, most recently an original co-authored creation at the Columbia Museum of Art, Tableaux vivants, tableaux parlants (March 2013). He and his wife Brigitte write, produce, and perform puppet shows in French based on classic children’s tales. His publications include FLS 39. The Environment in/and French and Francophone Literature and Film (editor and introduction, Rodopi 2012), and he is currently working on a manuscript called Man Bites God: The Ludic Quality of Early Modern French Religious Polemic, as well as an adaptation for the English-language stage of Montaigne’s Essais.

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.


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