Biennial Conference

 


Note from the organizers:

The name of the conference was not drawn from any specific event, but from the long literary imagining of California as another world, as we hope the call for panels and papers have made clear. ASLE mourns for the loss of life, home and habitat in all the recent fires in the state.

We also want to share links that list various organizations that are providing assistance to to the people and communities in the path of the fire, if you are seeking ways to help or contribute. ASLE will continue to seek out ways that our organization and conference attendees can assist the victims of this tragedy.

http://www.capradio.org/articles/2018/11/12/how-to-help-victims-of-the-camp-wildfire/

https://www.redding.com/story/news/local/2018/11/09/camp-fire-how-you-can-help-victims/1942862002/


THIRTEENTH ASLE BIENNIAL CONFERENCE

PARADISE ON FIRE
JUNE 26-30, 2019
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, DAVIS
DAVIS, CA

ASLE 2019 Call for Papers (PDF)

Submissions period October 15 – December 15, 2018

ASLE is very pleased to announce that our Biennial Conference will be held at University of California, Davis, from June 26-30, 2019. We look forward to visiting the Sacramento Valley region, and to the first ASLE biennial conference ever in the state of California. The organizing team from UC Davis will be led by faculty member Mike Ziser, and the committee will be planning a diverse array of activities to enrich the experience of attendees. 

Planning to submit a paper proposal? See the Submit Your Proposal page for instructions

Looking for an open panel to submit to?  Visit our Panel Calls for Papers page

Want to find out more about the conference and its speakers, and events? Visit the Schedule and Events page

Interested in signing up for a pre- or post-conference workshop? Visit the Schedule and Events page and click on the Workshops tab

Pages for Participant Information, Travel and Stay, and News and Announcements are coming soon!

 

Conference Theme: Paradise on Fire

“If paradise now arises in hell, it’s because in the suspension of the usual order and the failure of most systems, we are free to live and act another way.”

― Rebecca Solnit, A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster

The Biennial ASLE Conference will be held in Davis, California, in June 2019. Following a longstanding tradition, this conference gathers scholars and artists working in a diverse array of environmental humanities projects and offers a special focus on some themes that resonate well with the location of the meeting.

Paradise does not exist, and yet that never seems to stop people from finding it, or building it, or dreaming its contours – often to the detriment of humans and nonhumans on the wrong side of its walls. Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy imagines a walled city with a climate-controlled dome called Paradice where genetic engineers create new forms of life, a bubble breached by human violence and climate catastrophe. In the sixteenth century Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo imagined a place called “California,” an island ruled by a dark skinned Amazonian queen with an Arabic name, Califia (Las Sergas de Esplandián). California was affixed to our maps by conquistadors, eager readers of Montalvo who believed the Earthly Paradise to be nearby. The price of its establishment was the genocide of the land’s indigenous populations. The Greek word for Eden is “Paradise,” a walled garden that bars entrance to most. Yet as Octavia Butler’s dystopian vision of California on fire has shown, walls seldom lead to lasting safety and cannot exclude a turbulent world for long (The Parable of the Sower). If as Rebecca Solnit contends, “paradise arises in hell,” when democratic communities are built from the ground up during times of disaster that leave us “free to live and act another way,” what might life in catastrophic times entail for the environmental humanities? How should we write, teach, protest, live, and act during this era when “paradise” is on fire, figuratively and literally? 

The Biennial ASLE Conference “Paradise on Fire” explores the connections among storytelling, real and imagined landscapes, future-making, activism, environed spaces, differential exclusions, long histories, and the disaster-prone terrains of the Anthropocene. Plenary addresses will be given by Nnedi Okorafor, Cherríe Moraga, Melissa K. Nelson, and Ursula Heise.

Topics may include but are certainly not limited to:

  • reckoning with “paradise” in the face of colonial histories, environmental injustice, and ecological catastrophe
  • the intimacy of myth to possibility, alternative realities, and catastrophe
  • the reduction of diversity after the arrival of settler colonialists, especially but not only in California
  • cross-cultural currents and global vectors, human and nonhuman
  • the relation of imagination to discovery, settlement and transformation
  • extinction, ecological imperialism, monstrosity, megafauna, and scale
  • gender, race and ecology in dystopian times
  • the proliferation of material and ideological walls around enclaves, states, and nations
  • attending better to the people, animals, plants, and natural forces that find themselves on the wrong side of the gate, forced into communities not of their choosing, or forced to migrate without safe destinations
  • radical welcome: creating more just, capacious, and humane modes of living together across species
  • how the past matters to the imagination of a more capacious future
  • climate fiction (CliFi), climate fact, and the future of ecological science studies
  • archives of recovery and enclosure
  • Afro-futurisms, Indigenous futurisms, Latinx futurisms, Asian futurisms, queer futurisms
  • California and beyond: exceptionalism, secession, natural and unnatural disasters, green gentrification (the L.A. River), evacuation zones, Sanctuary Cities and States, gated communities, immigration and Dreamers, Trump’s border wall, housing and being humane
  • The Trans-Pacific: imaginaries, cultures, materialities, flows
  • Fire as emblematic of the strange agencies and hybrid onto-epistemologies of the Anthropocene, and fire as emblematic of the passion, energy, and incendiary creativity of activism

ASLE is a diverse professional community that is enriched by the multiple experiences, cultures, and backgrounds of its members, and we strive for access, equity, and inclusion in the conference.

Paper Submission Instructions

View list of accepted panels seeking participants

SUBMISSION FORMS (via Submittable, opens October 15) 

Paper proposals must be submitted by December 15, 2018 @ 11:59pm EST via Submittable.

 

The University and the City

Since its founding in 1908, UC Davis has been known for its academics and commitment to sustainability. They remain dedicated to solving issues related to food, health, the environment and society.

The 5,300-acre campus is in the city of Davis, a vibrant college town of about 68,000 located in Yolo County. Sacramento, the state capital, is 20 minutes away, and natural and cultural destinations such as the San Francisco Bay Area, Lake Tahoe and the Napa Valley are within a two-hour drive.

To learn more about UC Davis and attractions and activities in the city and region around Davis, see http://davisdowntown.com/ and https://www.ucdavis.edu/about

Recorded Plenary Talks from the 2017 Conference are available in the Conference Archive. For information on all past conferences, see the Conference Archive

I first attended and presented at ASLE at the 2009 conference in Victoria, BC.  At the time, I was a Master’s student and didn’t yet know whether I wanted to pursue studies in the field of environmental literature, or even a career in academia more broadly. After five days of amazing conference panels, intellectually stimulating conversations, and fun hiking adventures, I was certain that I had chosen the right field and the right profession.  Now, attending ASLE conferences truly feels like coming home. I would not be where I am today without ASLE, an organization that is welcoming of all perspectives, all methodologies, and scholars at all stages of their careers. – Stephen Siperstein (English Teacher, Choate Rosemary Hall)

ASLE welcomes proposals to host both our biennial conferences and off-year affiliated symposia.

Biennial Conference Proposal Guidelines
These guidelines are to assist potential hosts in formulating a complete and compelling proposal for our large biennial conference.

Off-Year ASLE Symposia Guidelines
Details of how to submit a proposal for an ASLE seed grant or ASLE affiliation to assist with your own smaller symposium in non-conference years (even years).

Sustainability at Conferences
ASLE is committed to making our conferences as sustainable as possible. Please consult this document if you are considering proposing a Biennial or Off-Year ASLE Conference.

University of California, Davis

June 26-30, 2019