ASLE Proposals for 2020 MLA Convention

Deadline: March 1, 2019
Contact: Clare Echterling

We’re putting together three ASLE panels for the 2020 MLA conference in Seattle and seeking speakers. Please contact the panel organizers directly with questions.

  1. Revising Resilience: Literary Listening and Indigenous Perspectives

As the likelihood of transforming global energy systems and mitigating global warming diminishes, dialogues of “resilience” within the environmental humanities have become increasingly prominent. Resilience narratives shift the focus from what can be done to prevent global climate change toward environmental and cultural practices that will prove necessary and beneficial in changed and changing climate conditions. But as Indigenous scholars like Kyle Powys Whyte point out, the intertwined relationship between climate change and settler colonialism transforms both the meanings and temporal scope of the term “climate change.” Whyte argues that Indigenous peoples have long been working to survive in a world where climates, cultures, and relationships with environments have been transformed or destroyed by violent, unsustainable settler policies and structures. Recognizing Indigenous methods of adapting and surviving in radically altered environments requires cultivating listening strategies that attend to the creative and political discourses of Indigenous self-expression and self-representation, with specific attention to the ways environmental and cultural resilience remain both globally entangled and locally situated.

This panel invites presenters to grapple with the intersections and aporias between environmental humanistic narratives of climate change and Indigenous narratives of resilience, with specific attention to the ways that non-Western temporalities, relationships, and epistemologies unsettle and reframe Western perspectives of climate apocalypse and adaptation. More specifically, this panel will call attention to the limits of current Western environmental humanistic discourses around representations of climate and culture by cultivating practices of attentiveness to Indigenous and non-Western literary texts and their underlying epistemologies.

Central questions include: what do practices of listening to Indigenous environmental perspectives in a literary context look like? How do non-Western literatures disrupt practices of life and inhabitance that respond to climate change? What do ideas of “resilience” and “adaptation” mean in the context of simultaneous environmental and cultural transformation? How can readers—and scholars—respectfully glean insights from texts emerging from cultural and historical contexts far from their own? What does literature reveal about its own role in cross-cultural solidarities and coordinated environmental behavior?

Please submit a 300-word proposal to Ned Schaumberg ( and Lydia Heberling ( by March 1.


  1. Indigenizing the Future: (Re)Imagining the Future of the Environment

This roundtable seeks to explore Indigenous Futurisms as a productive site for understanding alternative ways of knowing. How can Indigenous Futurism serve as critical spaces for negotiating representations of Indigenous peoples and the environment? How do issues of anthropogenic climate change intersect with Indigenous Futurisms? This roundtable is interested in tracing these interconnections across Indigenous Futurisms that are about the future as much as they are about right now. With recent publications, like the MOONSHOT: Indigenous Comics Collection Volume 3 on Indigenous Futurism, and films, such as Danis Goulet’s Awakening,Indigenous Futurism is a growing field of inquiry that should be considered in the context of environmental issues. Taking cues from Grace L. Dillon, who termed Indigenous Futurism, and Gerald Vizenor’s assertion that “Native imagination, experience, and remembrance are the real landscapes of liberty” this panel seeks to explore futuristic visions that engage with issues of settler colonialism, social justice, environmental justice, and sovereignty. Discussions will ideally aim to investigate the role of Indigenous Futurisms in constructing alternative perspectives on the future environmental health of the planet.

Panelists are invited to present on topics including but not limited to: climate change, apocalypse, Indigenous slipstream, Afro-Futurism, Global Indigenous Futurisms, YA fiction, graphic novels, comic books, sci-fi, speculative fiction, horror fiction, new weird fiction, film, reproductive rights, gender, race, ethnicity, environmental racism, environmental justice, sovereignty, settler colonialism, etc.

If you would like to propose a paper for the roundtable please email a 300 word abstract and a short bio to Nadhia Grewal ( by March 1, 2019.


  1. Ecosocialism and the Late Victorians (Co-Sponsored with the William Morris Society) 

The late nineteenth century saw writers, artists, and thinkers such as William Morris help plant the seeds of ecological concerns in socialist politics, leading to innovative approaches to both environmental and socialist ideas. We seek papers that explore any aspect of the ways (literary, artistic, political) that resultant ecosocialist impulses influenced or grew out of late Victorian culture. Submission instructions: send CV and a 300-word abstract for a 20-minute paper to Clare Echterling ( and KellyAnn Fitzpatrick ( no later than 1 March 2019.

Posted on February 5, 2019