- This event has passed.
The Ultimate Cli-Fi Book Club for Sustainability in Higher Education
August 3 @ 2:45 pm - 4:00 pm EDT
This workshop has passed. You can purchase a copy of the recording and resource materials.
Are you a non-literary type who has never attended a book club? Or a bookworm who is obsessed with Cli-Fi? Somewhere in between? Everyone is welcome to attend this interdisciplinary short course in climate fiction (“Cli-Fi”) and address the question: How can fiction help to stimulate new thinking and conversations about our planetary predicament?
A broad overview will be provided of environmental, post-apocalyptic, science fiction, solarpunk, hopepunk, graphic novels and climate fiction, which are all swiftly changing as writers respond to the climate crisis and as climate impacts (fires, floods, storms, sea-level rise) become observable in our real lives. We focus on the qualities of teachable novels, and support design of assignments, courses, campus book clubs, or whatever application works on your campus or just for your reading pleasure. The course is relevant for faculty in all academic disciplines, as well as counselors, librarians, and sustainability coordinators interested in engaging with students and faculty.
The course will take place over 5 monthly meetings, with the last session for those who wish to design an assignment or course of their own. The first session, a webinar open to all, will provide an overview of this genre which is changing the landscape of literary fiction. Participants will then read one book a month from a curated book list of the most teachable novels that integrate science, economics, engineering, psychology, into humanities, communication, and storytelling to imagine a new future. A monthly discussion allows participants to meet new colleagues from other institutions and share ideas and interpretations as well as hear from guest speakers.
- Gain an overview of the genres of climate fiction;
- Learn speed reading techniques to share with students and how to create time to read more;
- Practice discussion techniques including Literature Circles pedagogy with other sustainability champions;
- Engage with faculty from a variety of disciplines including science, humanities, and social sciences;
- Integrate imagination and the envisioning of climate change mitigation, adaptation, and resilience.
What makes this the “Ultimate” Cli Fi Book club is the participants. Getting to read amazing books with smart people from a variety of disciplines, as well as campus librarians, counselors, and sustainability coordinators, is Krista’s idea of a good time. Join us!
Course participants will meet virtually on the first Thursday of the month from 2:45–4:00 p.m. ET starting on August 3 and continuing through December 7.
The course is preceded by a free introductory webinar on June 21. All course participants are strongly encouraged to participate or watch the recording of the webinar prior to the first meeting and read the first book before August 3. See detailed schedule below.
|Registration Type||Registration Fee|
|Individual (non-student) associated with an AASHE member organization*||$95|
|Individual (non-student) not associated with an AASHE member organization||$125|
* To check if your organization is a current AASHE member, please search the AASHE Membership Directory.
Discounts are available for group registration. A limited number of scholarships are available to individuals who need financial assistance to participate. Please apply two weeks before the program begins (i.e., 7/20/2023) to be considered for a scholarship for this workshop.
- Registration deadline is Thursday, August 3, 12:00 p.m. ET.
- Payment is accepted in the form of Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover cards.
If you need to pay by check or ACH, please contact us at least 5 weeks prior to the event start date. Registration using these forms of payment must be received 4 weeks prior to the event start date and full payment must be received by AASHE within 2 weeks of event start date.
- Cancellation Policy: A 20% processing fee applies to any cancellation prior to July 24, 2023. No refunds will be given after July 24, 2023.
- No substitutions are allowed.
- Registered participants will receive access to the recording after the live event.
- Review all Terms & Conditions.
What previous participants say:
“As a two-year member of the AASHE Ultimate Cli Fi Book Club for Sustainability in Higher Education, I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and recommend the club to anyone interested in sustainability education, especially the sustainability of our planet’s climate! The book club host, Krista Hiser, has a knack for selecting climate fiction (and related) books for the group to read and discuss, especially Ministry for the Future, and her guidance and leadership during these very interesting conversations has been helpful in synthesizing key points, both those related to the overall climate education topic, teaching practices, and form-and-style issues. The discussion board and library have also been helpful to share resources, ideas, and related projects.
Krista’s encouragement of club participants to share how they themselves have used the readings and ideas to advance sustainability education is much appreciated. I myself have shared our sessions’ overall learnings by incorporating them into my professional talks, my classes, and my climate-related publications. The club has also inspired me, a lifelong sustainable business academic, to make initial attempts at writing climate fiction myself! For all these reasons, and because AASHE’s Daita Serghi so adeptly organizes and oversees the technological aspects of the sessions, I strongly encourage anyone interested in sustainability-oriented education to join (and enjoy) this aptly named Ultimate Cli-Fi Book Club!”
Mark Starik, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer, University of Wisconsin Extended Campus Sustainability Management Program
Krista Hiser, Professor, Kapi’olani Community College
Your course instructor is Krista Hiser, an English professor who facilitates the AASHE “Ultimate Cli-Fi Book Club for Sustainability in Higher Education” (see 2021 and 2022 archives), authors the blog, “Ultimate Cli Fi Book Club” and has been an obsessive reader of post-apocalyptic and climate themed fiction for many years.
She published an essay in 2010 called Pedagogy of the Apocalypse, and she was recently featured on Episode 51 of Citizens Climate Radio “Art and Identity in a Time of Climate Change”. She is interested in how fiction can help students visualize sustainability solutions and the issues and impacts of our climate predicament.
2023 Book Club Themes, Novels and Schedule
An overview of the emerging genre of Climate Fiction and its function in Literature and Environmental Humanities. What makes a teachable novel? How can literature be used across disciplines and in extracurricular settings? Bonus: speedreading techniques and facilitating interdisciplinary dialogue. Guests: Bryan Alexander, Mary Fifield and Kristin Thiel, book club alumni.
August 3: How to Save the Planet using Every Academic Discipline?
Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson
Engineering, Economics, Ethics, Environment
Yes, we are reading this book AGAIN, and alumni from prior book clubs are warmly invited to return for a continued discussion about this optimistic multi-disciplinary novel. Kim Stanley Robinson’s epic world-building tale describes a crazy-quilt of solutions that come together to reduce carbon in the atmosphere. We’ll discuss these solutions from the perspectives of economics, engineering, environmental impact, and ethics. What does your academic discipline bring to the table?
Guest: Bryan Alexander, Resident Futurist to the Ultimate Cli Fi Book Club.
September 7: What’s (Nuclear) War Got to Do with It?
Canticle for Leibowitz (1959) Walter Miller
“But wait,” you say: “that’s a nuclear apocalypse novel, not a cli-fi novel”. And yet, this superb story has an important lesson about existential crisis and the role of education and literacy. The ongoing threat of nuclear war has haunted generations of students, and remains present in multiple conflicts. Management of nuclear waste and nuclear energy facilities is a major consideration for a post-oil future.
October 5: The Literature of Restoration
Night in the World, by Sharon English
Set in Toronto, this is the story of brothers Oliver and Justin, a biologist and a restauranteur, and Gabe, a biologist, living in modernity: “the world of nightclubs and coke addiction, of anti-fracking activism, of academic research and perhaps most unforgettably, of moths. Shadowing all three lives is the fact of climate dissolution, and a relentlessly extractive and dissociated human world.”
Guest: Sharon English, author.
November 2: The Literature of Water
Memory of Water, Emmi Itaranha
Set in a future Scandinavia without snow. A teenage girl gets information passed to her from her dying father about an underground spring and must protect the information. Technically a YA novel and translated from Finnish, this is a short accessible read that raises some interesting social dynamics around water scarcity. We will discuss “the Literature of Water” in general, including stories and poems found or written by the participants, to create a water-related assignment or activity that could be adapted for different courses or campus contexts.
December 7: So What, Now What?
How to integrate climate fiction on your campus, what to read next, cultivating imagination, future-vision, and storytelling capacities. This will be a working meeting for any participants working on a course design, assignment, or book club project of their own. Discussion of new cli-fi books and the curated list. Consult with other teachers, counselors, and librarians to inform your assignment or idea.