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Contact: Christine Payton Feb. 16, 2011
(337) 482-6397, payton@louisiana.edu
 
LONGING FOR HOME WITHOUT EVER LEAVING
55th Annual Louisiana Folklore Society Meeting
 
It’s a peculiar homesickness. It’s something that occurs when, instead of leaving home, home leaves you. The people of South Louisiana have an intimate understanding of it.

Hurricanes, breached levees, coastal erosion, oil spills, a drilling moratorium, the commercialization of a culture—our sense of home is under constant threat, and a nagging feeling of loss is widespread. It’s called solastalgia, and it is the theme of this year’s Louisiana Folklore Society Meeting.

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is hosting the 55th Annual Louisiana Folklore Society Meeting.

From Murdock University in Perth Western Australia, Dr. Glenn Albrecht will deliver a keynote address about solastalgia on Friday, March 25 at 7 p.m. at the Acadiana Center for the Arts. This event is free and open to the public.

On Saturday, March 26, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. presentations will be delivered at UL Lafayette’s Dupre Library, 300 West Congress, by scholars from various universities with topics ranging from the coping strategies of a cattle rancher along an eroding coast, to reviving a Native American language, to the creative refiguring of coastal homes threatened by rising waters, moving them up, not out. This event is open to the public. A small registration fee is required.

Dr. Albrecht’s keynote address will reflect his recent publication on ecosystem sustainability where he presents the concept of solastalgia, a form of human distress related to the lived experience of negatively perceived environmental change. It is the longing for home without ever leaving. His work has garnered the attention of New York Times Magazine, Wired, and WorldChanging.

Today, Dr. Albrecht conducts a collaborative study into the relationship between human and ecosystem health in a coal-mining region in Australia. His address will explain the similarities and differences between that project and Louisiana.

“ The connections between my work and Louisiana are many and varied,” said Albrecht. “What has happened in Louisiana has also taken place in Australia, especially with land clearing and dry land salinity, loss of coastal wetlands, and now, huge issues with our major river, the Murray-Darling with over-engineering and over-allocation of water permits. And ‘the big one’ of course, climate change impacting on everything.”

Albrecht went on to explain, “due to complex consequences of our actions, or inactions, natural systems are in distress. Such distress in nature is then replicated in human culture and our health. We have multiple interacting syndromes of distress in nature, culture, physical and mental health. When I think about it, the total impact of Louisiana Distress Syndrome (LDS) is really no different than that of Western Australia Distress Syndrome.”

Conni Castille, vice president of the Louisiana Folklore Society, said that “this meeting’s theme is a first step toward bringing Louisiana residents together to share stories on our rapidly changing home. It is why we invited Dr. Albrecht to give the keynote address. His presentation will explore the full implications associated with the collapse of our physical and mental health, caused by things we’ve done or allowed to be done.”

“ Restoration and repair of damaged biophysical landscapes can only occur once we address the damage done to our conceptual, cultural, and emotional landscapes,” said Albrecht.

For a schedule of Saturday’s presentations, visit www.louisianafolklife.org. Contact 337-277-5292 for more information. Sponsors include University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Murdoch University, Acadiana Center for the Arts, and The Independent Weekly.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Document last revised Wednesday, February 16, 2011 1:56 PM

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