Emily Dickinson and the Anthropocene

Deadline: October 1st, 2019
Contact: Keith Mikos (DePaul), Zachary Tavlin (School of the Art Institute of Chicago), and Marta Werner (Loyola-Chicago)
Email: kmikos@depaul.edu

Scholars periodize Emily Dickinson’s poetry in several ways: of the American nineteenth century; as post-Puritan, post-Romantic, or pre-Modernist; of a secessionist moment. But how, we ask, does her life and work partake in what scholars today call the Anthropocene? Though the Anthropocene—the geological age we share with Dickinson—is a disputed term with varying meanings, it is most crucially recognized as a period in which human industry and activity has irreparably altered the global climate. Heralding the twilight of humanity, scholars across disciplines are reassessing key concepts pertaining to history, science, economics, politics, social organization, aesthetics and more, developing a variety of new periodic categories: the Plantationocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene, AnthroObscene, white Supremacene, and Entropycene.

This collection aims to establish Dickinson’s poetics as uniquely prefiguring climatological, ecological, and existential questions recently formed or adopted in the humanities in response to rapidly-building and epoch-defining crises. We aim to foreground Dickinson’s textual practices and manipulation of scale as Anthropocenic insights providing formal knowledge of the way we (humans) are embedded in and active makers of layered ecologies that also exceed us in every direction. We propose Dickinson’s work as the very exercise in scale-formation we may need to learn in order to adequately respond to the specter of local and global catastrophes.

We are looking for contributions that fall within one (or more) of the following sections:

• Dickinson and deep time, reading scale, measurement

• Nonhuman, post-human, Dickinson’s plants and animals

• New materialism, object-oriented ontology, Dickinson’s “vibrant matter”

• Sound studies, systems ecologies

• Ecocriticism, climate, energy, entropy, extinction, Dickinson’s natural resources

• Editing Dickinson, Dickinson editing in the Anthropocene

• Biopolitics, utopia, epistemicide

Please send a one-page proposal and cv to Keith (kmikos@depaul.edu) and Zachary (ztavlin@saic.edu) by October 1, 2019. Our goal is to submit the collection to a press by June 2020.

Posted on July 5, 2019