ASLE-Affiliated Conferences

 

We will post here any calls for papers or information on conferences related to ASLE and affiliated organizations, including international groups, ASLE-sponsored panels at other conferences, and ASLE-sponsored off-year symposia.  Calls for panels at the 2015 ASLE Biennial Conference will be posted below, email info@asle.org to have yours added to this page.


 

Calls for Proposals

 

Posted September 5, 2014. The Truth Beneath: Environmental Mysteries. I'm exploring the idea of forming a panel or roundtable (depending on content of any proposals received) tentatively titled The Truth Beneath: Environmental Mysteries, for ASLE 2015 at U Idaho.  I have taught courses in which we investigate environmental issues through the detective novels of Nevada Barr, Carl Hiasson, Dana Stabenow, and many another.  Such a panel/roundtable might include:

  a.. ecocriticism of environmental mystery/suspense novels
  b.. pedagogical experiences using mystery/suspense novels
  c.. readings from such works (in progress or published, by their authors)
  d.. any of the three above as applied to dramatic film/documentary if the usual suspects (e.g. Beasts of the Southern Wild) are avoided
  e.. any creative approach to this subject not covered by the above

Please send any queries, suggestions, fully-formed short proposals, etc., to Fred Waage, East Tennessee State University (waage@etsu.edu)


 

October 20, 2014. "Fractured Ecopoetics from the Beat Underground," panel proposed for the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID.  As direct heirs to Dostoyevsky's bleak vision in Notes from the Underground, the Beat Generation also wrote from the cultural and poetic underground of the twentieth century at a pivotal moment of transition in Zeitgeist. As avant-garde, subterranean writers, the experimental lifestyle and poetics of the Beats were forces that shaped one of the most important forms of contemporary subculture--a fact that has been largely recognized. However, a fact that has remained mostly unrecognized to this day is that Beat experimental procedures--from sketching composition to cut-ups and Buddhist-inspired poetics--also belong to the precursor forces that fractured the pastoral and the romantic, and laid the groundwork for contemporary forays into the territory of wild radical avant-garde ecopoetics.

Indeed, with the exception of Gary Snyder, what the Beat Generation brings to ecopoetics has been largely disregarded. Yet, the Beats' grounding in the urban, the toxic, the "wilderness of the mind," and the experimentally aesthetic offers a fluid poetics of field-being that invites us to rethink both physical and mental ecologies, as well as the link between them.

Open to both scholars and practising poets/artists, this panel wishes to explore how the Beat underground and its experimental practices are soils nourishing and renewing our understanding of experimental ecopoetics and its contemporary offshoots. Papers/creative contributions investigating--but not limited to--the following questions are sought:

  • To what extent do concepts like composting, accretion, sedimentation, recycling, waste, rhyzomatic proliferation, fractals, fracking, and others help us to understand Beat poetics as an ecopoetics?
  • Conversely, to what extent do Beat poetics anticipate/partake of some of the varieties of radical landscape poetry today and wild avant-garde experimental practices (including digital poetry)?
  • How do Beat writings fracture, bend, and renew the pastoral into the post-pastoral, the romantic into the post-romantic? To what extent do Beat writings mesh with the concept(s) of "dark ecology"?
  • What light do Beat experimental practices throw on the question of flow and fracture between eco-aesthetics and eco-ethics?
  • How do the shifting structures, processes, and material agencies underground help us to understand the Beat underground better in terms of a transitional avant-garde formation? And by extension, how does the physical underground below our feet help us rethink the avant-garde and the cultural underground? How can we reconceptualize the avant-garde and its different waves anew by using material underground forces as a reading grid?

Please send 300 word abstracts for 15 minute papers & a biosketch to both Franca Bellarsi (fbellars@ulb.ac.be) and Chad Weidner (c.weidner@ucr.nl) by 20 October 2014.


 

October 31, 2014. “When the Alien Emerges: Eco-Teaching Speculative Fiction Film,” ASLE/SFRA panel at the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID.

Related to the 2015 ASLE conference theme – Notes From Underground: The Depths of Environmental Arts, Culture, and Justice – this panel or roundtable [we will determine the form based on the quantity of selected proposals] will explore eco-critical analyses of speculative fiction films with creatures who come “from underneath” or who “get underneath” and how those films can be used in the classroom. Proposals are invited for critical approaches to one or more speculative films that consider environmental pedagogy. Topics might focus on underground movements, activism, resistance, and emergence, considering how sf, environmental theory, and the teaching of these often fall into these categories. How can the convergence of the “what if” element of sf and the accessibility of film be a rich site to interrogate environmental issues? How has the cinematic notion of “underground” changed in eco-critical analyses over the decades? How can films about oceanic and/or other subterranean “monsters” be used in teaching to analyze environmental issues? How can films about parasitic creatures break down the “skin” between human/non-human? What do the human/nonhuman-ness of the creatures in these films say about human understanding of the non-human world? While this list of questions is merely a start, please make it clear in your proposal that your talk engages with teaching, whether experientially, anecdotally, or speculatively.

This panel is sponsored by the Science Fiction Research Association (SFRA), a professional affiliate organization of ASLE. Please submit a 250-word proposal in the body of an email to both Andrew Hageman at hagean03@luther.edu and Bridgitte Barclay at bbarclay@aurora.edu by October 31, 2014.


 

November 1, 2014. “Un/Earthing the Digital Humanities,” panel proposed for the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID.

Few would consider the digital humanities an underground movement. And yet, much of what digital humanists do is perceived as inaccessible, buried beneath layers of technical expertise and politics. Riffing on the theme of the 2015 conference, this panel seeks both to “unearth” and to “earth” digital humanities practices in the context of environmental criticism. That is, we aim to bring to the surface existing environmentally-informed approaches to digital scholarship and to ground digital humanities in and through ecocritical perspectives. Topics of presentations or performances may include, but are not limited to:

* Ecocritical digital humanities projects and tools
* Environmental impacts of technology
* Digital humanities and sustainability
* Creative works that engage both the digital and the environmental
* Digital archives of environmental literature
* Text mining and other metaphors of unearthing in the digital humanities
* Distant reading ecosystems or environments (fictional or real)
* Ecomateriality of digital objects

Please send paper title, abstract (300 words), and CV to Alicia Peaker (apeaker[at]middlebury.edu) by November 1st. Potential panelists will be notified by December 1st.


 

November 1, 2014. "Literatures of the Gold Rush," WLA-Sponsored Panel at the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID. As an ASLE affiliate organization, the Western Literature Association (WLA) hosts a panel at the ASLE biennial conference. With attention to the 2015 ASLE conference theme -- "Notes From Underground: The Depths of Environmental Arts, Culture and Justice" -- this panel will address western literatures of extraction and mining, with particular attention to texts related to western gold rushes. Proposals are invited that critically examine texts that engage the complex history of mining operations in the West from a diversity of perspectives. How do varied cultural and historical contexts impact the way mining, particularly gold mining, is imagined? How are relationships to land and place influenced by mining operations and the search for mineral wealth? How does mineral extraction impact western environments and the stories we tell about the West? How are practices of extraction inscribed on the land and/or in the formal elements of literature?

Please submit a 150-word abstract to Amy Hamilton at amyhamil@nmu.edu by
November 1; please include in the subject line of your email "WLA Panel at
ASLE." The WLA panel will be formed in time to resubmit your proposal to the
general call if your submission is not selected for the WLA-sponsored panel.


 

November 1, 2014. “What Lies Beneath Monster Movies: Exploring Ecohorror Cinema.” Panel proposed for the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID.

Ecohorror reveals our fears about the natural world. In it, animals become monsters; landscapes become nightmares; environmental practices lead to apocalyptic destruction. In this panel, we are interested in exploring cinematic versions of these narratives and the ways in which these films help us grasp our own cultural anxieties, our relationship with particular species and ecosystems, and past and current environmental politics and policies.

Because horror is a genre concerned with dark and often hidden fears and desires, ecohorror provides a promising space for discussion of ideas relevant to this year’s conference theme of the underground. Ecohorror may engage with repressed anxieties about the natural world or environmental issues, resistance to the environmental status quo or to environmental change, or monstrous hybrid species and landscapes. We are particularly interested in papers about monster movies, but we are open to a range of ideas on ecohorror film.

Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words to both Christy Tidwell (christy.tidwell@gmail.com) and Carter Soles (csoles@brockport.edu) by November 1, 2014.


 

November 1, 2014. War and Ecology, panel proposed for the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID.

In honor of the centenary of World War I, this panel aims to address the part that ecology and other environmental images/narratives play in capturing the tensions and terrors of war, conflict, protest, and resistance. The concept of the trench inspires the topic of this panel, as the trench was conceived of as a way to protect combatants from death and/or disfigurement. Those that resorted to "trench warfare" overlooked the fact that in protecting soldiers from the scars of war, the trenches would instead indefinitely scar the earth. We can see this most evidently in the fields of France where the deep wounds in the ground are still healing, now grown over and caved in as the land reclaims itself for its own. In keeping with the conference theme of "underground," we will be exploring how the various parties within a conflict -- from the combatants on the battlefield, to the citizen opponents and enemies of the state -- must seek shelter within the earth, either metaphorically (as in political parties that must "go underground" to survive) or literally (for example, the poets of the Great War who wrote from the trenches). The panel is open for broad, global interpretations of the relationship between war, literature, and ecology; scholars of all geographies and languages are welcome to submit to the panel. As we are in the centenary years of the fighting of World War I, papers on the literature of the Great War are of particular interest, but are not intended to be the sole focus of the panel. Please submit 250-word abstract and brief bio, along with any audiovisual specifications that would be needed for the presentation to the chair before November 1, 2014. For any inquiries and to submit to the panel, please send all correspondence to Anna Hiller at Idaho State University (hillanna@isu.edu).


 

November 1, 2014. “Underground Religion”, panel proposed for the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID. Much contemporary environmental writing relies on religious terms and concepts, even when authors themselves do not profess a particular faith. While some critics tend to read these references merely as rhetorically savvy appeals to a religious audience, the prevalence of religious language in environmental texts suggests a deeper connection between these two subjects. As Lawrence Buell writes in his essay “Religion and the Environmental Imagination in American Literature,” “however much religion is repressed or theorized out of existence by western intellectual discourse, its resources will still be needed and called upon . . . to conceptualize humankind’s relation to the nonhuman.” This panel seeks papers that probe the religious roots of environmentally-oriented texts in order to shed light on the ways that theology can enrich our environmental imaginations.

Please submit a 250-word abstract and a brief bio by November 1, 2014. Send inquiries and submissions to Jeffrey Bilbro, jbilbro@arbor.edu.


 

November 7, 2014. Cultures of Extraction Roundtable, panel proposal for the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID.

The work of the dead and the sleeping is the work of discerning the bottom, the earth as ground of the upside down or inside out, as vowels and consonants are ambassadors of arrival and departure.
                                                                        --Jed Rasula, This Compost

In keeping with this year’s theme of “Notes from Underground,” our conference organizers have suggested as a topic cultures of extraction, including “mining, fracking, drilling, quarrying...polluting, murdering.” But while extraction is easily associated with themes of fragmentation, isolation, and dissociation, Rasula offers a conception of extraction as movement, a dynamic process of coming and going that negotiates complex interactions between the grounded and the undergrounded.

For this roundtable discussion, we seek short, engaging contributions that respond to the following questions: How do theories of extraction explicate inter-being, in contrast to interpretations of being as either individual, contingent, dependent, fragmented, etc.? How can conceptions of extraction as inter- or trans-border movement inform ecocritical or literary-theoretical methodologies? How are those working in the environmental humanities particularly poised to teach, explore, and narrate extraction?

We welcome critical and creative contributions of 6-8 minutes that will prompt exciting, interdisciplinary dialogue among presenters and audience members. For this reason, we are especially interested in proposals that offer speculative readings, suggestive theories, and open questions.

Please send a 250-300 word proposal, a 2-3 sentence bio, and contact information to Emily Johnston (eclind@umich.edu) and Jenna Goldsmith (jenna.goldsmith2@uky.edu) by November 7.


 

November 10, 2014. “Under Skin: The Body as/and Environment,” panel proposed for the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID.  Despite our old dichotomy of self and nature, the human body is not separate from the environment in which it lives.  Moreover, the body is an environment, harboring trillions of microorganisms and carrying on a wide variety of biological processes, not unlike the ongoing cycles present in any ecosystem.  I seek papers that explore the concept of the human body as an environment, and/or the physical body in relation to outer environments.  Proposals may cover any relevant topics, such as the body as an environment, the relationship between the physical body and the physical environment, or parallels between harm to the human body and harm to natural environments.  I welcome ecocritical approaches to literature, film, and other aspects of culture (such as the Human Microbiome Project), as well as relevant or theoretical considerations of these issues.   

Please submit a proposal of no more that 300 words for a 15-minute paper, as well as a CV or brief academic bio, to Dr. Christopher Todd Anderson (ctanderson@pittstate.edu). Deadline for proposals: November 10, 2014.


 

November 10, 2014. Permacultural Practices, panel proposed for the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID.  Writing in 1978, founders Bill Mollison and David Holmgren coined the term permaculture—a portmanteau compounding and eliding “permanent agriculture”—to signify a design ethics suitable to an imminently low-energy future.  In the intervening years, “permaculture” has become a truly global movement, inspiring home gardeners and farmers, intentional communities and design courses, and artists and activists, coming to refer more broadly to all aspects of culture, and referring as much to an ethics of life and the living as to principles of conscientious and efficient design.

Inspired by this broadening of the concept, this panel (which we envision as a traditional panel or paper jam, depending on response) queries the applicability of permacultural values to the study of art and literature.  We welcome proposals for papers that deal directly with examples of permaculture in practice, but we are also interested in the ways in which permaculture might inform our practices as (eco)critics. To what extent might permaculture offer a model for thinking about the slow violence and environmental injustice of contemporary (agri)culture? How might consideration of permaculture’s design principles inform our interdisciplinary aspirations? Could permaculture enhance our thinking of peak oil, global warming, deep time, and the anthropocene? Given the “perma” in permaculture, how resonant is it with other contemporary key words, like “resilience”? How might permaculture affect ecocritical pedagogical practices? And, to what extent can art or literature contribute to permaculture on the ground?

Please submit a 300-word abstract and a brief bio by November 10, 2014, to both Molly Wallace (wallacem@queensu.ca) and David Carruthers (11dmjc@queensu.ca).


 

November 14, 2014. Sustainability and its Underside: Teaching for Privilege, Oppression, and Power?, panel proposed for the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID.

"Arguably, then, every student who graduates from an institution and remains committed to living an indefensible consumer lifestyle—fancy cars, multiple credit cards, extensive brand-name wardrobes, expensive gadgets—constitutes a failure for that institution.”
--Derek Owens, Composition and Sustainability: Teaching for a Threatened Generation

In Composition and Sustainability: Teaching for a Threatened Generation, Derek Owens throws down a gauntlet. For him, students “committed to living an indefensible consumer lifestyle” are a “failure” (25). Indeed, as Americans use more resources than anyone else, the failure could be seen as much larger. Yet, while many universities are seeking to help students focus on consumption’s facts, crafting courses that invite defining sustainability and looking at local projects, part of how the preceding is done can reinforce a bodily reaction to knowledge that is contrary to various interpretations of sustainability. Students consume information on being sustainable; they don’t necessarily live it—or enter into that knowledge in a way that could enable not only an intrinsic understanding of the concepts but the opportunity to integrate them into their lives and, crucially, to learn about and to understand other lives.

In addition, sustainability as it is mentioned, introduced, taught or inculcated into curriculums can be oblivious to what historical patterns of not seeing and oppression it is reinforcing. Consequently, I am interested in proposals that explore the fissures or conflicts between intent and outcomes in sustainability rhetoric and practice, including teaching practices, especially with respect to embedded assumptions and biases owing to affiliation with the dominant culture. In brief, can teaching for sustainability have embedded biases and unintended consequences that may be actively detrimental to its professed purposes and outcomes?

Possible topics include:
•    whose sustainability is being valued/explored?
•    whose privilege is being reinforced by rhetoric and practice?
•    what  world view underlies the rhetoric of sustainability?
•    what pedagogical practices could rupture a narrow, possibly western notion of sustainability
•    what creative ways might we teach sustainability (including how might we make international connections)?

Abstracts of 250 words are invited for 20 minute papers/presentations that address any of the broad concepts mentioned above. Note: it is possible the response might be such that this could turn into a paper jam.

Please send your 250-word abstract and brief bio to Arlene Plevin ( plevin@uw.edu) by November 14, 2014. “In keeping with the conference’s CFP, alternative forms of presentation, provocation, discussion, engagement welcome” (those good words taken from Rick Van Noy’s CFP).

Work Cited: Owens, Derek. Composition and Sustainability: Teaching for a Threatened Generation. Urbana, Ill: NCTE, 2001. Print.


 

November 14, 2014.The Evolution and Devolution of Environmental Activism: What Has Worked (or Not) and Why?” Proposed panel for the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID.

In a 2013 New Yorker essay, Nicolas Leman discusses how today’s environmental movement is bigger, richer, and more organized than during the first Earthy Day, yet it is less successful at effecting political action. What has changed (if it has)? Why are environmental organizations unable to mobilize grass roots demonstrations as they once were (or are they)?

Seeking papers/presenters for a panel on the history and future of environmental activism. What role does literature or art play in creating the groundswell of environmental support (as did the work of Rachel Carson and Paul Ehrlich before the first Earth Day)? What place monkey-wrenching and other acts of civil (and underground) protest?  Are the problems different? The politics? The people? Topics could include:

·       Literature’s role in furthering environmental activism
·       Media (including social media) influence on environmental change
·       Histories of demonstrations and their dynamics
·       Stories of protests and their particularities (such as painted cracks in a dam)
·       Experiences of persons leading environmental organizations
·       Creative approaches to activism

Send abstract (300 words) and brief bio to Rick Van Noy, rvannoy@radford.edu by Nov. 14. In keeping with the conference CFP, alternative forms of presentation, provocation, discussion, engagement welcome.


 

November 15, 2014. Experiences of Material Water: The Perils of Living “More Downstream,” Panel proposal for the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015 (University of Idaho, Moscow, ID).

In his article “Toward a Blue Cultural Studies,” Steve Mentz suggests that treating the ocean as a central object of study opens up new understandings both of human relationships to surrounding environments, and of connections across human cultures. In light of recent work on material ecocriticism, this panel hopes to expand Mentz’s oceanic focus to flows of water as a specifically physical, material presence, examining the way water appears in literary and cultural texts as an object (or perhaps more accurately, as a force or agent) that shapes physical geography and drives human behaviors.

In keeping with the theme of the conference, this panel hopes to highlight the way human experiences of water’s material presence intersect with structures of racial, gender, and socio-economic inequality, yet remain underground, obscured by water’s trans-cultural and trans-historical importance to human life. Thinking about the way water materially interacts with these cultural and social structures demands a consideration of how these types of forces differ in quality, scope, and scale, and how they combine to create unexpected consequences and feedback loops. Possible paper topics include, but are not limited to:

·      River pollution
·      Flooding
·      Water scarcity
·      Slow and spectacular water violence
·      Fishing/Water-based economies
·      Agriculture and irrigation
·      Storms and weather
·      Postcolonialism
·      Marine life
·      Water rights
·      Environmental justice

Please send 300-word abstracts in either Word or PDF format to Ned Schaumberg at schaumeg@uw.edu by November 15.


 

November 15, 2014. “Beneath these Pooled Waters: Damming in Literature, Film, and Culture,” Panel proposal for the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID. This panel will mine the conference theme of “Notes from the Underground: the Depths of Environmental Arts, Culture, and Justice,” as it explores the planning, design, and implementation of dams, as well as their aftermath. While damming in the United States proliferated during the mid-twentieth century, dams are now generally understood as ecologically and culturally harmful. In light of our contemporary understanding of dams, this panel seeks to drudge up what has been silenced by the floodwaters.

Papers may take material and/or metaphorical approaches as they examine dams in literature and film; appraise dams currently in place or under scrutiny; and/or investigate ecological restoration projects in light of recent dam removal initiatives. Comparative projects on non-US dams are welcome and encouraged.

Possible paper themes may revolve around (but are by no means limited to) the following:
 -      environmental justice
-       environmental degradation
-       slow violence
-       cultural geography
-       ecology
-       water rights issues
-       new materialism
-       postcolonialism

Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words to Ashley E. Reis at AshleyReis@my.unt.edu by November 15.


 

November 15, 2014. Deep Naturalism, panel proposed for the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID.

With its roots in Romanticism and Transcendentalism, ecocriticism has only begun to consider literary naturalism as a genre preoccupied with questions of environment, materialism, and the animal. Naturalism is deeply concerned with the influence of place, space, environment, animals, and nonhuman things on social experience. Rather than framing literary naturalism within its immediate contexts in European and American literature, this panel will consider how naturalist ecologies engage with deep time and wide-ranging geopolitical relations. Possible paper topics might include naturalism’s intersections with:

--cultural geography
--deep history
--new materialisms
--agricultulture and soil management
--evolutionary theory
--ecological governance
--literary influences on later environmental writing
--food studies
--environmental injustice
--climate science
--geological phenomena
--modes of transcorporeality
--urban ecologies
--animal studies

Please submit a proposal of up to 1 page with a 1-page CV to Andrew Hebard (hebarda@miamioh.edu) and Hsuan L. Hsu (hlhsu@ucdavis.edu) by November 15, 2014.


 

November 15, 2014. “What Lies Beneath ‘Cli-Fi’ Narratives? Climate Science, Climate Justice, Cli-Fi Aesthetics and Ecopedagogies.” Panel proposed for the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID.

Climate Change Fiction (“Cli-Fi”) has boomed in tandem with public awareness of fracking, tar sands oil production and transport, oil spills, hurricanes, ocean acidification, global pollution, and extreme weather events brought on by climate change.  Climate Change Fiction, or Cli-fi, as coined by Dan Bloom, deals with such climate change themes from a variety of perspectives, either creating future scenarios of an entirely transformed Earth, or dramatizing present day situations in a thrilling way as a warning. Maggie Gee's The Ice People, Nathaniel Rich's Odds Against Tomorrow, Barbara Kingsolver's Flight Behavior, Saci Lloyd's Carbon Diaries 2015, and Margaret Atwood's Mara and Dann are some of the examples.  This panel invites proposals addressing the Cli-Fi genre in terms of environmental cultural studies, environmental justice, eco-aesthetics, eco/feminist visions, and/or ecopedagogies of resistance.

  • What is the role of Cli-Fi in presenting climate change to the larger public?  How do these narratives inform or distort the issues of climate change?
  • What Cli-Fi texts bring subterranean ideas into public discourse?
  • How do Cli-Fi narratives contribute to or shape eco-aesthetics?
  • What underground communities are authoring and promoting Cli-Fi narratives? 
  • What is the relationship between feminist, queer, postcolonial, animal/plant studies, and Cli-Fi?
  • What media channels are being used to convey Cli-Fi narratives, and how do these media channels shape the message and audiences for Cli-Fi?
  • How does cli-fi contribute to different cultures relating to Earth transformations?

Please send abstracts of 150 words, with your name, position, affiliation, and email contact information to BOTH Greta Gaard (Greta.Gaard@uwrf.edu) and Serpil Oppermann (opperman@ada.net.tr).


 

November 23, 2014. The Pathetic Fallacy and “Animal” Life, Panel proposed for the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID.

Organizer: Eric Earnhardt, Case Western Reserve University
Respondent: George Hart, California State University Long Beach

John Ruskin coined the pathetic fallacy three years ahead of Darwin’s On The Origin of Species. Ruskin’s aversion to anthropomorphism and to evolutionary theory is well historicized, while Darwin’s speculative anthropomorphism, as discussed by Gillian Beer, led him to the greatest scientific discovery of our time: our continuity with the animal that lies beneath, under, inside the human. The Ruskin/Darwin dichotomy, therefore, begs the question: what relationships obtain between critical anthropomorphism in a scientific context and the technique of the pathetic fallacy in literature? Is the attribution of human sensation, emotion, or capacity to a nonhuman animal fallacious in either discourse? This panel welcomes discussions of the pathetic fallacy and the anthropomorphism of nonhuman life/consciousness/experience in narrative and poetry, especially when considered alongside the scientific exploration of such phenomena. Papers might touch upon issues from animal studies, the instability of the “human,” new materialisms, literature and science, cognitive approaches, formalist narrative and poetic analysis, affect theory and embodiment, and more. Please send abstracts of approx. 300 words to Eric Earnhardt (ede13@case.edu) by Nov. 23, 2014.


 

November 23, 2014. Geoengineering Undergrounds, panel proposed for the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID.  Geoengineering, or the direct manipulation of Earth’s climate to offset the harmful effects of anthropogenic global warming, is mainly thought of as an atmospheric proposition.  However, most current proposals feature either capturing carbon and storing it underground, or releasing underground molecules (like sulfur) into the atmosphere.  Geoengineering actually hinges on exchanges between the atmosphere and the deep underground.  We are seeking papers that explore literal or figurative undergrounds of geoengineering.  Some questions papers might consider are: What types of narratives or genres do geoengineering advocates draw on to make their arguments?  How has the release of underground compounds that affect climate on a planetary scale been narrated in the past (famous or fictional volcanic eruptions? boundary-crossing nuclear accidents, tests, or attacks?)  Alternatively, how are artificial landscapes dealt with in science fiction?  Do they give us insight on what it might mean to have artificial forests capturing and storing carbon? How do science fiction narratives of terraforming affect our understanding of change on a planetary scale? What other types of narratives do we have that deal with altering weather, climate, or patterns on a planetary scale, and what sort of insight to they give us on what and how geoengineering might mean? Please send 300 word abstracts for 15 minute papers to Elizabeth Callaway (ecallaway@umail.ucsb.edu) by November 23, 2014.


 

November 24, 2014. The Investigative Mode, panel proposed for the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID.  As watchdogs against environmental exploitation, investigative journalists play an essential role in mediating understandings of the environment for the lay public. This panel seeks to explore the literary features of environmental investigative journalism, unpacking how the narratological elements of the form contribute to its social activist intent. How do journalists balance the demands of engaging storytelling with a commitment to objective reporting? How have investigative journalists changed the terms of debate in particular environmental discourses/movements? Possible topics include but are not limited to:

-The influence of digital reporting on investigative journalism
-The dialogue between environmental journalism, photojournalism, and documentary
-The role of media outlets in determining regional, national, and international audiences
-The figure of the lone investigator as a generic trope
-The activist potential of scandal
-Environmental investigative journalism’s relationship to other nonfiction genres, such as ethnography and travel writing

Please submit a 250-word abstract and brief bio to Holly Schreiber (heschrei@indiana.edu) by November 24, 2014.


 

November 26, 2014. Sustainability Across Disciplines, proposal for Roundtable or Paper Jam for the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID.

Inspired by jam sessions in the musical sense, I'm searching for panelists from a wide variety of disciplines who are willing to be on a panel that would build from brief, informal presentations of our own ideas to "riffing" on each others' points, ultimately drawing the audience into the conversation as well. In terms of a topic, we would address how, in our varied disciplines, we are trying to connect with the general population to foster sustainable practices--whether we do so through our teaching or through other venues--and what we see as essential challenges to fostering sustainability in industrialized cultures.

I am particularly interested in attracting panelists from outside literary fields--especially outside the humanities. Ideally, I'd love to see a panel that includes one or more representatives from the hard sciences and one or more from the social sciences (in particular psychology and/or sociology), as well as representatives from the humanities. Whether the session is a roundtable ("five or six 10 minute-max presentations") or a paper jam ("seven or eight short, sharp eight minute-max presentations") will depend on how many people are willing to commit to the panel. Although this is too loose and informal to be an actual CFP, if I can get enough panelists, I will propose the idea for the conference and hope it is accepted.

If you are interested (or know someone in another department at your institution who might be), please email Tonia Payne at Tonia.Payne@ncc.edu by November 26.


 

November 28, 2014. Industrial Alchemy and the Nature of Processing, call for abstracts for a panel proposed for the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID.

Writers and artists have often figured industrial processes in terms of magical or alchemical transformation, as if an ontological rupture occurs when the naturally given becomes an economic commodity. Though largely unexplored in the environmental humanities, the study of the material history and symbolic representation of industrial processing might complicate our sense of the nature/culture interface and its historical specificity. This panel considers the metamorphoses that transpire at the foundry, the mill, the factory, and other sites of industrial processing, where “resources” are turned into commodities, coal into energy, ore into metal, petroleum into plastic. We invite papers on the challenge of representing these changes of form and their implications for how we distinguish nature and culture.

The panel would consist of four fifteen-minute papers followed by discussion. Please send ~300 word abstracts to Tobias Menley (tmenely@ucdavis.edu) or Derek Woods (djw3@rice.edu) by Nov. 28th, 2014.


 

November 30, 2014. What Lies Beneath the Clothes of Culture? Cannibalism in Fiction, call for abstracts for a panel proposed for the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID.

From ancient Greek myths to 21st century post-apocalyptic novels, cannibalism abounds, forcing us to reconsider easy binaries of self and other or civilized “us” and a savage “them.” As Maggie Kilgour argues in From Communion to Cannibalism, incorporation—the most basic example of which is eating—“depends upon and enforces an absolute division between inside and outside; but in the act itself that opposition disappears,  dissolving the structure it appears to produce” (4). What, then, when the food being eaten is human flesh?

This panel proposes to examine the various ways literature explores acts of cannibalism to break down notions of absolute difference and articulate the dual fears of anthropophagy: the fear of being cannibalized and the fear of becoming cannibal, the fear of becoming human meat and the fear of eating it. Often considered the demarcation of civilization and barbarism, cannibalism in fact explores the problem of our status as human beings who become hungry: the specter of our common animality. As Simon Estok points out, “Cannibalism is an unambiguously ecocritical issue.” One cannot be a cannibal without also being human, and meat cannot be but human flesh to mark the consumer of it “cannibal.”

Following the conference theme, then, this panel explores “the importance of experiences that lie beneath (and before and after) the shiny edifices of progress, rationality, and industry […]. to consider what lies beneath us” in terms of culture, definitions of humanity, and what makes us human via explorations of fictional anthropophagy and what those representations mean.

Please see the Biennial Conference page for the full conference description and keynote speakers—as it has been in the past, ASLE will be an excellent conference!

Please submit 300-word abstracts of proposed 15-minute presentations to Sarah E. McFarland (mcfarlands@nsula.edu) by November 30, 2014. Questions are welcome!


 

November 30, 2014. Educating Underground: Teaching for Sustainability and the Planet in Unsustainable Environments, panel proposed for the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID.

This panel or roundtable seeks to provoke dfiscussions of teaching in communities, institutions, and contexts that challenge our efforts as sustainability and environmental educators. This panel or roundtable, in the words of the conference's theme, will "look down, under, beneath, and below" to explore the "imaginative aesthetic, critical, pedagogical and activist responses" we engage when we find ourselves blocked by the very contexts and environments in which we teach our subjects.

We welcome pedagogical narratives, literary analyses, and personal reflections that consider the professional and intellectual tensions of designing, enacting, and revising curricula and pedagogy in environmental literatures and/or sustainability within unsustainable environments, broadly conceived.

Possible topics and questions may include but are not limited to the following:
*How do we talk about sustainability and practice education for sustainability in regions where natural environments may be compromised or depleted, and in some cases are becoming more so?
*How do we reinvent ourselves, environmental literature, ecocriticism inside and outside our classrooms?
*How do we practice and talk about sustainability education in campus climates where administrative policies and practices do not foster professionally sustainable conditions?
*How do we practice and talk about sustainability education in states whose political "climates" willfully exploit and deplete material and human resources in higher education?
*How might we take into account the contemporary reality of academia, in which faculty may not work in the places they're from, may be non-tenure-track or part-time faculty working across multiple campuses, might teach online or through distance education, and may regularly be on the market?
*In what ways do the specific literatures we teach or the pedagogical approaches we take provide opportunities for engaging with many of the issues outlined above?
*How might we honor environmental literatures and traditional ecological knowledges despite the cultural, political, and/or socioeconomic forces that resist environmental and ecological understanding and praxis?
*In what ways are we able, and in what ways are we challenged, to sustain our own personal and professional "resources" as creative educators, collaborators, and people in places?

Please send abstracts of 150 words by November 30, 2014, to Scott Hicks (scott.hicks@uncp.edu) and Jane Haladay (haladayj@uncp.edu) of the University of North Carolina, Pembroke.


 

November 30, 2014. Hybrid Geologies, panel proposed for the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID.
I'm hoping to enlist folks going to the 2015 ASLE meeting in Moscow, ID, to consider joining a panel on Geology and Ecocriticism, which is one of the nine bulleted topics proposed in the call for papers (read the CFP on the ASLE Biennial Conference page). My "Paddling Lake Missoula" will hybridize scholarly and creative modes to look at the late Pleistocene floods that shaped my bioregion. Please submit abstracts to Paul Lindholdt at plindholdt@ewu.edu by November 30, 2014.


 

December 1, 2014. "Science and/as Process." SLSA-sponsored panel proposed for the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID. The Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA) is sponsoring a panel at the upcoming conference of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment on this general subject. Approaches may be critical or creative (or a continuum of both) and could include -- but are not limited to -- the following topics:

  • Science and the poetics of process and/as place
  • Science and Poetics as intersecting processes and/or onto-epistemologies
  • Fluid ontologies and hard realities (in scientific outcomes, ecological limits, etc.)
  • Meta-science and/or Philosophy of Science, in the context of the life/earth sciences and/or ecological problems
  • Critiques of scientific processes in the life/earth sciences (methodological discourses, etc.)

We are looking for four short papers of fifteen minutes each, but we might end-up with six ten minute presentations, depending on the response. There may be a respondent and/or Q and A. Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words and a two-page CV to Helena Feder (federh@ecu.edu) no later than December 1st.


 

Conferences of Interest