Contact: Sara Torres, Visiting Scholar, University of Virginia
Email: [email protected]
Extended Deadline: April 4, 2021
Proposed Panel for: EmergencE/Y: ASLE 2021 Virtual Conference
Conference Dates: July 26 – August 6, 2021
From the Decameron’s pastoral idyll to the supposedly ‘restorative’ turpentine woods of the postbellum American South to contemporary greenways and national parks, there is a long history of associating health with rural retreat and immersion in nature. With social distancing a key health prescription of the COVID-19 pandemic, green spaces have emerged anew as sites associated with self-preservation and with mental and physical health. The pandemic has shifted the ways that many people think about and relate to green spaces, from curtailed access to public lands to the creation of personal pandemic gardens to deurbanization. This panel explores the kinds of social, cultural, political and affective insights that literature can offer in considering the relationship between natural spaces and human health. How do literary texts engage with the issues of inequality and access produced within the dynamic of escape and retreat? What emergent communities are formed in these new spatial configurations, both among humans and between species? How can the insights of spatial and environmental justice respond to the troubling histories of settler-colonialism, racism, and ableism that create barriers to such green spaces?
We welcome topics from all historical eras, classical to contemporary, and from a range of critical methodologies and positions. Topics might include: communities of care; spiritual or corporeal healing; solace as a literary practice; wasted bodies, lands, or ecologies; pastoral visions and violence; the personal as ecocritical; touch, relics, and lapidary therapy; pandemic literature; carcerality and enclosure; herbals and recipes; disability and community; queer ecologies; the association of health, race, and capital; trauma-sensitive, decolonizing, or anti-racist pedagogy in environmental literature.
Posted on March 22, 2021