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 firstname.lastname@example.org to have yours added to this page.
Calls for Proposals
New Deadline: November 7, 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 email@example.com and Bridgitte Barclay at firstname.lastname@example.org by November 7, 2014.
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 (email@example.com) and Jenna Goldsmith (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 (email@example.com). 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?
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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).
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, email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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?
November 15, 2014. Merwin Studies panel proposed for the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID. The conference theme invites us to consider how looking “down, under, beneath and below” can lead to “imaginative, aesthetic, critical, pedagogical, and activist responses.” Many of the suggested topics readily resonate with Merwin’s ecopoetics including geological time, soil biopolitics, gardening, roots, reclaiming, insects, witness, mycorrhizal networks, migrations, poetics of darkness (roots, mud, night), and grassroots politics and cultures. For the Conference’s full CFP, click here.
Merwin has had his hands in the earth, planting in Hawaii, for nearly four decades now. His practice of planting and poetry has lead to the grassroots formation of The Merwin Conservancy that actively brings people into interaction with Merwin’s forest of 850 species of palms. For Merwin, planting and poetry and activism are intimately interconnected. As such, they provide a fertile ground—perhaps even a mycorrhizal network—that could be explored further at the ASLE conference.
For instance, in “Place” from The Rain in the Trees, the speaker imagines the roots of the newly planted tree growing “in the earth full of the dead.” Merwin establishes the connection between planting and writing poetry when, in one poem later titled “Witness,” he explores the interrelationship between biological and linguistic extinction: “I want to tell what the forests / were like // I will have to speak / in a forgotten language.” In the poem just before “Place,” a native Hawaiian tree sits in a “plastic pot” waiting to be planted with its name, in “Latin,” written nearby. Writing a poem, planting a tree, and calling it by its native name are acts of resistance that reclaim the “forgotten language” of the forest as well as help restore a portion of the earth ravaged by the monocrops of the pineapple industry. To plant a tree, to write a poem, helps bring to fruition a soil biopolitics (or a politics of bioregionalism). This small sampling of poems from The Rain in the Trees is but one place where these themes emerge in Merwin’s work. We therefore seek presentations that explore further Merwin’s activist tendencies as a poet/planter.
ASLE’s CFP encourages innovative panels from a wide range of participants, and so presenters have flexibility to be creative in how their work helps unleash the energy of Merwin’s poetry and poetics. Send 300 word abstract, contact information, and brief biography to one of the following email addresses by November 15. If interested, though, please communicate early as we will be actively seeking panelists: merwinstudies [at] gmail [dot] com, amoe [at] saintmarys [dot] edu
November 20, 2014. “Multispecies Undergrounds: Transformative Works, Fandom, and the Nonhuman”, panel proposed for the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID.
Fandom, or the body of people that are serious fans of a particular text, is still, even in the days of tumblr, a largely underground movement. However, though fandom exists largely in cyberspace, many of the values and attributes embraced and propagated by transformative works (fan art, fan fiction, and other, perhaps lesser-known forms, such as fanvids, gifset AUs, and fanmixes) are often consistent with those of ecocriticism. There is particular overlap in the areas of community, diversity, representation, social justice, and hybridity. In addition, transformative works often function as a revitalizing element in the cultural ecosystem, questioning and re-orienting mainstream works to address at other realities including, but not limited to, nonhuman realities.
This panel (scholarly, paper jam, or other, depending on interest) will address the relationship between ecocriticism and fandom, particularly in transformative works. Possible topics include: fan communities and social justice, fan communities’ effect on representation in mainstream media, nonhuman AUs (alternate universes), particularly furry universes or omegaverse, or the treatment of the nonhuman in specific fandoms. Please send 300-word abstracts in either Word or PDF format to Elise Mitchell (email@example.com) by November 20.
Deadline Extended: November 21, 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 21st. Potential panelists will be notified by December 1st.
November 22, 2014. “Ecocriticism and the Racial Underground,” seeking submissions to round out a panel proposed for the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID. In keeping with this year’s conference theme, Notes from Underground: The Depths of Environmental Arts, Culture and Justice, our panel will consider how bringing race to the surface "ungrounds" thought in the environmental humanities (or in dominant environmental paradigms and praxes more generally). Does, or how does, the repressed racial content of environmentalism(s) rupture and unsettle foundational ways of knowing? The panel is not bound by period, but we are particularly interested in work examining literature and culture from the Early Americas through the long 19th century. Transnational work is welcome. Send inquiries or 250 word abstracts and brief bio by November 22, 2014, to Jennifer James at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 (email@example.com) 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) by November 23, 2014.
November 24, 2014. Feminist Approaches to Ecomedia, panel proposed for the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID. Patrick Murphy recommended over a decade ago that ecocriticism go "farther afield" into new literatures, genres, and theories. During this same period, the study of new media--in the form of the digital humanities (DH) and comparative media studies (CMS)--has become mainstream in literary studies. More recently, controversies such as "Gamergate" have brought questions of gender, misogyny, and sexism to the forefront of digital culture. Online trolling is surely not the kind of underground the Web had hoped to foster in its utopian mode.
What would it mean to go farther afield in the study of feminism and ecomedia? What issues of genre, gender, and justice arise when the tools of feminist ecocriticism are applied to digital cultures? How should ecocritics write notes from the ergodic underground? Please send a brief proposal to Anthony Lioi (email@example.com) and Lauren Woolbright (firstname.lastname@example.org) by November 24th.
November 24, 2014. Toxic Grounds: Environmental Pollution and Materiality panel proposed for the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID. How do writers and other artists represent toxic pollution and waste not simply as symbols of the abject but as material forces shaping human and nonhuman lives? In keeping with the conference theme, “Notes from the Underground,” this panel will explore how texts imagine toxicity below ground (in sewers, watertables, burials), at ground level (brownfields, mine tailings, soil contamination), above ground (bodies, buildings, air pollution), as ungrounded (ocean plastics, oil spills), and at multiple levels (landfills, acid rain). Proposals may address any period, locale, or genre (literary, artistic, filmic). Participants might address questions such as:
How have varied cultural and historical contexts shaped differing tropes of “toxic discourse” (Lawrence Buell 2002) and understandings of pollution and waste as material concerns? How was pollution understood materially prior to the emergence of environmental pollution terminology in the mid-nineteenth century, and prior to the twentieth-century environmental movement? How can pre-Silent Spring texts help us understand toxicity? How does the original notion of pollution as moral contamination continue to inform discourse on the toxicity and materiality of waste?
How is the materiality of environmental pollution understood in relation to social justice? How have the social meanings and material impacts of toxicity been mapped onto marginalized populations? Who or what controls the production of knowledge—and of uncertainty—regarding toxic pollution and waste? How have grassroots or underground movements confronted toxicity?
To what extent are toxic pollution and waste depicted as “vital” actants (Jane Bennett 2010) or “violent” social forces (Rob Nixon 2011)? How are they perceived on the micro-scale of the particle, via the everyday experience of the body, or through a macro-view of the planet? How does toxicity inform constructions of selfhood and subjectivity? How are human bodies, nonhuman nature, and toxins understood as interrelational agents? How does the relationship between toxicity and mortality inform depictions of materiality?
What kinds of affective or aesthetic responses do toxic pollution and waste invite, facilitate, or foreclose? How does the apprehension of toxicity underground, at ground level, above ground, and/or as ungrounded shape these responses? How do writers and other artists engage audiences aesthetically, affectively, and critically in their representations of toxic pollution and waste?
This session will be a 4-person panel or 5-6-person roundtable. Please submit a 300-word abstract, a brief bio or CV, and any A/V requests to Jill Gatlin (jill.gatlin (at) necmusic.edu) by November 24, 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 (email@example.com) by November 24, 2014.
November 24, 2014. Dissident Environments: Race and the Underground, panel proposed for the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID. This panel seeks abstracts for papers that bring race into conversation with cultural and material histories of environment in the Americas. Stimulated by the counter-discursive possibilities suggested by the topic of the 2015 ASLE conference on "Notes from Underground: The Depths of Environmental Arts, Culture and Justice," we seek work investigating race and environments, especially work grounded in the study of site histories and critical geographies.
Though we will consider relevant approaches dealing with any period, we are particularly interested in the ways the study of race problematizes environmental knowledges in the nineteenth through early twentieth centuries. Of particular interest to us is work that reconsiders and complicates traditional associations between racialized resistance and the built environment (think, for example, of the antislavery network known as “the underground railroad” or Ellison’s invisible man’s basement dwelling) in favor of other more and less metaphorical constructions of the secret, the resistant, and the otherwise subterranean.
Areas of interest include:
*Trajectories of environmental justice in narrative
*Communities of color and risk
*Sites of embodiment, co-natural spaces; how literature revises spaces of belonging
*Topographies of antislavery resistance
*Work that investigates other implications of the “ground” in antislavery writing
*Considerations of the literally subterranean in writing around slavery and emancipation
*Work that explores the inter-implication of land and justice/ grassroots activism
*Work exploring the importance of natural concealment—swamps, caves, mountains
*Maroon communities and fugitive ecologies
*Bioregions of race; urban environments and circular host neighborhoods
November 25, 2014. Exhumation—Decomposition, Compost, and Remnant in Environmental Literature, panel proposed for the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, U of Idaho, Moscow, ID. Purity and decomposition are, paradoxically, two of the central images in environmental literature. Poets and writers from Coleridge to Carson exalt solitary experience in a purified environment and oppose it to the depravity and perversion of the modern, the developed, the wasted. Yet, as the age of the Anthropocene continues to dawn, it seems fitting to question this narrative of sacred green space—a story that prizes surface rather than soil, the evergreen over the necessarily dead, and, in the words of William Cronon, performs a dangerous “flight from history.”
In this panel, furthering the project of restoring a historical sense to green space, we turn to the buried, the uncovered, and the exhumed. We seek to bring up the bodies occluded by narratives of wilderness, virgin land, and history-free place. Thoreau unearths arrowheads from his bean field, remnants of a society that has otherwise decomposed. Seamus Heaney witnesses the exhumation of an intact bog queen whose stories and compatriots have been lost to ecological processes. With these (and many other) exhumations in mind, we ask: How does the uncovering of bodies, history, and geologic fact complicate our relationship with land? What, in history, becomes part of a newly purified land by means of decomposition, and what shards of the past remain separate from that land? How does environmental literature perform the “deep time” of the space around us?
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.
November 30, 2014. “Asian Ecocinema & Media: Notes from Underground,” panel proposed for the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID. With a growing awareness of global environmental issues, and an attempt to address the growing interest in films and media in relation to various ecocritical theories, this panel invites papers that fall within the study of media and films in Asia in relation to ecological and environmental issues. It seeks to expand the field of ecocinema/eco-visual media studies towards a broader coverage in Asian contexts.
Papers that address the conference theme, “Notes from Underground: The Depths of Environmental Arts, Culture and Justice,” will be of particular interest. Participants are encouraged to interpret the conference theme as broadly as possible. From the depictions of Asian environmental crises (e.g. The Impossible, Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain), representations of ruinous environments shaped by urban developments and post-disaster reconstructions (e.g. Still Life, 3.11 Surviving Japan), horror or artistic depictions of the dark side of nature (Dark Water, Uncle Bonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives), to social media coverage of pollution problems in Asian cities, ecological and environmental issues in Asia have increasingly been exposed to the outside world through fictional films, documentaries and various forms of media.
Possible themes may include, but not limited to:
Waste, toxicity, refuse and pollutions
Underground aesthetics in ecocinema
Underground, independent cinema in Asia
Eco-degradation and human (moral) degradation
Eco-materialism/ New Materialisms in film/media
Specific environmental issues in Asia
Defining Asian ecocinema/ eco-film criticism
Asian eco-religio-philosophical thoughts in films
Green movements and social media in Asia
Animal studies, animality, ecojustice
Climatic changes, natural disasters in film
You are invited to submit a 300 word abstract, a brief bio, or any question to Kiu-wai Chu at firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline for proposal submission is November 30, 2014. For further information about the conference please refer to the following link: http://www.aslebiennialconference.com/
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 (email@example.com) 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?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 (email@example.com) no later than December 1st.
December 1, 2014. “The Afterlife of Building Underground,” panel proposed for the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID. What happens to mines, tunnels, silos, bunkers, and subterranean infrastructure when their original use is exhausted? How does the imagination of these spaces change once they have been abandoned and receded (more, or less) into the environment around them? What new or changed meanings emerge when they are developed for new purposes, adapted for reuse, appropriated for unforeseen possibilities, or explored, photographed, or inhabited? We welcome proposals contributions of 6-8 minutes examining all facets of the afterlife of the underground built environment, from theoretical interventions and broad critical surveys, to case studies of particular spaces or places, and from textual interventions to creative explorations.
December 1, 2014. Of Dungeon Crawls and Chthonic Uprisings: Unearthing the Ecological Subtexts of Games, panel proposal for the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID. In Last Child in the Woods (2005), Richard Louv argues that “Nature—the sublime, the harsh, and the beautiful—offers something that the street or gated community or computer game cannot.” Yet in the last case, at least, history and media scholarship offer contrary evidence. Henry Jenkins has celebrated games’ capacity for spatially oriented “environmental storytelling,” while game history is studded with obvious and not-so-obvious examples of environmental gameplay, from Colossal Cave Adventure and SimEarth: The Living Planet to recent, open-world games like MineCraft and Dwarf Fortress. This panel invites diverse ecocritical perspectives on computer/video games and related virtual worlds, and in keeping with the conference’s theme, potential topics could include the following:
• Games and place (local/regional games, mapping and topography)
• The logic of the dungeon crawl/clear
• Permadeath games, apocalypse, and “dark ecology”
• Games’ extraction and resource-management mechanics
• Games/gamers as subcultural versus mainstream (e.g. Gamergate and cultures of online anonymity)
• Ethical/environmental issues with sourcing for game hardware and industry labor practices
• Genre case studies, e.g. of farm/gardening games, zombie or contagion narratives, etc.
• Alternate-reality games and their “rabbit holes”
• Games and animal studies
• Game cheating and failure
Suggested games: Minecraft, Diablo, Colossal Cave Adventure, Dwarf Fortress, Metroid, Dig Dug, Fallen London, Bioshock, Shelter, Dragon Age, Waking Mars, Limbo (and many, many more)
Please send abstracts of approximately 250-300 words and a brief bio to Alenda Chang at firstname.lastname@example.org by December 1.
December 1, 2014. The Poetics of Grass, panel proposal for the ASLE Eleventh Biennial Conference, June 23-27, 2015, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID. The panel will focus on grass—which is so often underneath—to think about the following questions:
• For Whitman, grass emblematized American democracy and vitality in the wake of the Civil War. Recent environmentally-aware poetry suggests that the Whitmanian question “What is the grass?” bears re-asking in the twenty-first century. How is Whitman being reinvented in the 20th and 21st century, in an era of environmental crisis, multiple wars, and the emergence of ecopoetics?
• Grasses can grow from rhizomes, underground root systems that laterally connect. Can we draw connections between this kind of lateral multiplicity and formal experimentation in poetry? Might certain experimental or avant-garde poetic forms be considered “grassy”? (Implicit in these questions, but certainly not imperative to their answer, is Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophical concept of the rhizome in A Thousand Plateaus).
• Where does the presence or absence of grass signify “nature” or “city” in poetry, and where does it transcend these categories? How do post-pastoral, anti-pastoral, and urban pastoral poems turn to grass to think about space and how those spaces intersect with race and class?
• “O grass of graves,” wrote Whitman, echoing the Biblical passage, “All flesh is grass.” More recently, in his review of Tracy K. Smith’s book Life on Mars in The New Yorker, Dan Chiasson writes that “grass is the very signature of human presence.” How does grass construct the presence or absence of humanity in poems? How does grass function in contemporary elegy? How does it function in poetic constructions of gender and sexuality?
• Grass is one of the many names for cannabis. Does the literature of cannabis use (broadly interpreted) offer us a way to interrogate environmental impact of a growing marijuana industry? (See Josh Harkin’s “The Landscape-Scarring, Energy-Sucking, Wildlife-Killing Reality of Pot Farming” in Mother Jones for more on this issue.)
This session will be a 4-person panel or 5-6-person roundtable—and is open to alternative modes of critical and creative work. Please send a 250-word proposal, a 2-3 sentence bio, and contact information all in the body of an email to Cecily Parks (email@example.com) no later than December 1.