TransLit: Sustainable Ethics, Affects, and Pedagogies

Research – Department of Teacher Education

TransLit: Sustainable Ethics, Affects, and Pedagogies

Kids playing. Painting.
Used with permission from From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in Sea, text by Kai Cheng Thom, illustrations by Kai Yun Ching and Wai-Yant Li (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2017).”

This new line of research considers the understudied relationship between sustainability and literature, particularly transnational writing in English from feminist, queer, and transgender perspectives. The notion of sustainability runs the risk of becoming “another consumer desirable” (Saussy 2012). In turn, this study proposes an ethics of sustainability through the lens of transnational writers and poets such as Kai Cheng Thom, Emma Donoghue, Vivek Shraya, Shani Mootoo, and angela rawlings. In different but related ways, their work portrays how communities who are rendered unproductive and debilitated—migrants, refugees, transgender children and youth—are often relegated outside the script of sustainability by a dominant politics of indifference. Simultaneously, these narratives can be employed as valuable pedagogical resources, working as vehicles for inclusion from which to promote alternative modes of feeling, while simultaneously counteracting gender and racial discrimination in the classroom.

The methodology employed, which relays on qualitative analysis, crosses the borders of genre (children’s literature, young-adult fiction, poetry, and drama) and discipline (transnational literary studies, feminist environmental ethics, queer philosophy, and trans pedagogy). The study’s focus will be on three areas: ethics, affect, and pedagogy. First, I will examine how these transnational writers redefine ethics by proposing more sustainable ways to think about responsibility, hospitality, and difference. Then, I will analyze how the ethics of sustainability that they propose interrogates negative emotions such as fear and shame, transforming them into what I call “sustainable affects” (2017). In the third part of this study, I will consider the ways in which these authors are developing sustainable pedagogies by promoting inclusive ways to think about literacy, particularly through their emphasis on gender and racial issues.

March 16 & March 17: Workshop Affect and/as Pedagogy

March 16 & March 17: Workshop Affect and/as Pedagogy

Workshop Affect and/as Pedagogy

  • Department of Teacher Education, NTNU, Norway
  • March 16 (morning/afternoon) & March 17 (morning)
  • Campus Kalvskinnet, Lysholm Building, LY41 (4th floor)

To register: please send an email to Libe García Zarranz by March 1.

Led by Professor Gregory Seigworth (Millersville University, US).

Hosted by Associate Professor Libe García Zarranz (English, ILU, NTNU, Norway) & the TransLit: Sustainable Ethics, Affects, and Pedagogies Research Group

Guests & Collaborators

Target Audience at NTNU

  • MA students, PhD candidates & Postdocs in the Department of Teacher Education
  • PhD candidates & Postdocs in the Department of Language and Literature
  • PhD candidates & Postdocs in the Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies


What is pedagogical about affect, or affective about pedagogy? Bessie P. Dernikos’ (2020) urgent question will frame our two-day workshop in various ways. As Seigworth (2020) responds, “pedagogy is affect’s first lesson or, maybe, affect is pedagogy’s first lesson” (87). In this workshop, we will unravel some of these lessons by focusing on what affect does and the locations where affect emerges. In doing so, the workshop seeks to encourage participants to reflect on and actively contribute to critical discussions around the complex ways in which affect and pedagogy intra-act (Barad, 2007).

Primary Works

Copies of the readings will be provided in advance.

Dernikos, Bessie P. (2018). “‘It’s like You Don’t Want to Read It Again’: Exploring Affects, Trauma and ‘Willful’ Literacies.” Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 1-32.

---. et al. (2020). “Affect’s First Lesson. An Interview with Gregory J. Seigworth.” In Mapping the Affective Turn in Education. Theory, Research, and Pedagogies (pp. 87-93). Routledge.

McKittrick, Katherine. (2021). “Dear Science.” Dear Science and Other Stories (pp.186-89). Duke UP.

Robinson, Dylan. (2020). “Feeling Reconciliation.” Hungry Listening: Resonant Theory for Indigenous Sound Study (pp. 201-232). U of Minnesota Press.

Seigworth, Greg. (1999). “Sound Affects.” cultstud-listserv column Fear of a Black Planet, Sept. 6.

Stewart, Kathleen. (2020). “Teaching Affectively.” Mapping the Affective Turn in Education. Theory, Research, and Pedagogies (pp. 31-35). Routledge.

Ware, Syrus Marcus. (2020). Radical Love.

Additional Suggested Readings

Dernikos, Bessie P. (2020). “Tuning into Rebellious Matter: Affective Literacies as More-than-human sonic bodies.” English Teaching: Practice & Critique, 19(4), 417-432.

Malatino, Hil. (2019). “Tough Breaks: Trans Rage and the Cultivation of Resilience.” Hypatia, 34, 121-140.

Snaza, Nathan. (2020). “Love and Bewilderment: On Education as Affective Encounter.” Mapping the Affective Turn in Education. Theory, Research, and Pedagogies (pp. 108-21). Routledge.

Springgay, Stephanie. (2020). “The Fecundity of Poo: Working with Children as Pedagogies of Refusal.” Mapping the Affective Turn in Education. Theory, Research, and Pedagogies (pp. 149- 63). Routledge.

Stewart, Kathleen. (2005). “Cultural Poesis: The Generativity of Emergent Things.” In N. Denzin and Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research (3rd Ed.) (1027-1042). SAGE.

This workshop has been organized with the support of NTNU’s Research Group TransLit: Sustainable Ethics, Affects, Pedagogies, the Strategic Funds awarded by the Department of Teacher Education (NTNU), the H2020 project Inclusive Science and European Democracies (ISEED), and the Department of Language and Literature at NTNU.

Activities and Publications

Activities and Publications

  • Peer-Reviewed Journal Article. García Zarranz, L. (2021). New literatures: Canada (journal articles). The Year’s Work in English Studies 100(1). Oxford University Press, 1271-1281.
  • The group leader co-edited The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Alumni Newsletter Vol. 3, “Spaces of Affect and Change: Reflections from the Editors” (with Sophie Thériault, Nov. 2021).
  • Group member, Katarzyna Paszkiewicz, co-organized the international conference I Simposio La cuarta ola: Especulaciones feministas para un futuro posible on November 10-12, 2021 (online). This event marked a collaboration between the U. of the Balearic Islands and the U. of Alcalá in Spain. The group leader gave an invited Guest Lecture at this conference titled “Paradojas de lo Ordinario: Estudios Trans y Otras Prácticas Feministas” on November 12, 2021.
  • Peer-Reviewed Journal Article. García Zarranz, L. (2021). “2020 and All’s Well: On Positionality, Transtemporality and Scandalous Bodies.” Canadian Literature: A Quarterly of Criticism and Review 243 (2021): 166-170.
  • Stella Millili presented the research paper “Critically Reading Refugee Literature. A Feminist Exercise of Ethical Research” at a PhD Seminar with Forskingsgruppe for litteratur og samfunn (NTNU). 12 November 2021, Trondheim.
  • Stella Millili hosts the online session “The journalistic language of power and our relentless asylum policy. Behrouz Boochani in conversation with Kristina Quintano”. 7 September 2021, Trondheim, Migration Literature Week 2021. Organized by Literature for Inclusion initiative, led by Gulabuddin Sukhanwar.
  • International member, angela rawlings, takes up a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Iceland/Århus University to conduct her Research ‘Becoming-with Whales in the Climate Crisis: Iceland as Multispecies Collaboratory’ (2021-2022). This position is funded by The Carlsberg Foundation.
  • Peer-Reviewed Journal Article. García Zarranz, L. (2020). Feeling Sideways: Shani Mootoo and Kai Cheng Thom's Sustainable Affects. University of Toronto Quarterly, 89(1), 88-106.
  • Webinar by Stella Mililli (NTNU, ILU). "Borderland Rhythms in Refugee-themed Literature. Terry Farish’s The Good Braider", Western Social Science Association Virtual Conference and Association for Borderlands Studies Webinar Series, June 3, 2020.
  • Keynote lecture by project leader. "Paradoxical Worldings: Reflections on Feminist and Trans Cultures Today", University of Cambridge, Magdalene College, Cambridge, UK, March 16, 2020.
  • Peer-Reviewed Journal Article. García Zarranz, L. (2019). Where is the transgender in the transCanadian? Kai Cheng Thom and Vivek Shraya’s response-able fictions. Revista Canaria de Estudios Ingleses, 78, 141-53. Special issue “Canadian Fictions of Globality”.
  • Invited opening speech by project leader. Art exhibit Sorry for the Inconvenience (Galleri Kit, NTNU, Trondheim, March 7, 2019).
  • Two workshops on Indigenous Feminisms organized by Amanda Fayant in collaboration with the project leader and Litteraturhuset’s Literature for Inclusion Initiative, led by Gulabuddin Sukhanwar. The workshop on March 15 was led by Dr. Ellen Marie Jensen (UiT) and the one on March 18 was led by Prof. Deatra Walsh (UiT). Both events took place in Trondheim.
  • Stella Mililli’s participation in the PhD Seminar “Border Rhythms” (University of Oslo, April 4-5, 2019).
  • Guest Lecture by Prof. Marie Carrière (University of Alberta, Canada): “Feminist Writing in Canada: Feelings, Poetics, Ethics”. NTNU, Norway, April 10, 2019. Prof. Carrière’s visit to ILU was also connected the North American Studies research project at NTNU, led by Eir-Anne Edgar.
  • Roundtable Paper delivered by project leader at the international ATGender Spring Conference “Feminist Teaching Through Emotions, Feelings and Affects” (Gijón, Spain, May 8-10, 2019). 
  • 14th ESSE Conference, Masaryk University (Czech Republic), August 29-31. Co-organization of three panels on “Ethics and Violence in Contemporary Literatures in English” by project leader and Prof. Pilar Cuder-Domínguez
  • Guest Lecture by Prof. Belén Martín-Lucas (University of Vigo, Spain): “A Decolonial Critique of the ‘War on Terror’ Metanarrative: Reading Feminist Fiction”. NTNU (Norway), September 13

Affiliated International Members

Affiliated International Members