Loyola University Maryland

Humanities Symposium

Silhouette of two people standing on water, facing a field of wildflowers as a giant planet peers over the horizon

Bestselling science fiction writer Jeff VanderMeer will deliver the 2022 Humanities Symposium keynote address on Thursday, March 17 at 6 p.m. in McGuire Hall. His talk titled, "Landscape, Change, and the Long Road Ahead," will address environmental themes in this year's text, Usual Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness, as well as the ecological themes in his own writing. The event will also be livestreamed.

The 1969 novel at the center of the conversation, which won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards, follows a human ambassador’s visit to Winter, an icy planet on which the gender of its inhabitants is inherently fluid. The book speaks to issues of gender, nationalism, and climate change, and allows for conversations that defy easy disciplinary categorizations. VanderMeer often highlights issues related to climate change in his many novels—one of which includes Annihilation, the first volume in the Southern Reach Trilogy, which was adapted into a movie by Alex Garland. Read the full press release.

Loyola will host additional events leading up to the Keynote Address. These in-person and virtual events are free and open to the public, but registration is required for the virtual events.

Event Information

Jeff VanderMeer headshot in a wooded area

Keynote Address

March 17, 2022 at 6 p.m., McGuire Hall. Book signing to follow.

Author Reading

March 17, 2022 at 3 p.m., McGuire Hall. Jeff VanderMeer will also offer a reading from his own work. Book signing to follow.

Student-Faculty Colloquia

Loyola faculty are encouraged to invite their classes to the student-faculty colloquia to discuss The Left Hand of Darkness on Tuesday, March 15 and Wednesday, March 16 in the Fourth Floor Program Room.

Faculty Teaching Seminar

Faculty seminars for professors who will be teaching the text and participating in the colloquia are scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 16, 4:30-5:45 p.m. or Thursday, Feb. 17, 12:15-1:30 p.m. 

For more information about the 2022 Humanities Symposium events, please email Marian Crotty, professor of writing, at mgcrotty@loyola.edu.

This event will be captioned. If you require additional accommodations, please contact Disability Support Services at dss@loyola.edu.