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. The title was intended to be metaphorical, and took on an unintended new meaning in light of the tragic November 2018 Camp Fire, which destroyed the town of Paradise CA. ASLE mourns for the loss of life, home and habitat in that fire, and will continue to take steps to assist the fire’s victims. We will reach out to affected communities as part of our conference effort as well. ASLE is a community dedicated to grappling with difficult, long-term and often irresolvable issues. Despite its unintended resonance we have retained the conference’s title to remember what happened in California and to memorialize the tragic loss of life and home. To back away from a conference title that has proven to be disturbingly prescient, even though it is now a difficult, even problematic title, would be to sidestep the trouble rather than dealing intellectually, artistically, and pragmatically with reality. We request that our members think respectfully about the fire and its victims as they think through their presentations. ASLE will continue to seek out ways that our organization and conference attendees can aid the victims of this tragedy and assist their recovery. (To donate, see the end of the CFP below for a list of organizations.)
Submissions deadline is December 15, 2018 at 11:59pm EST
This year the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE) is experimenting with a two-part submission process intended to make the conference more participant-driven and democratic. The second step is this Call for PAPERS. Proposals must be submitted by December 15, 2018 at 11:59 pm EST.
A diverse array of panels has been chosen by the conference committee; this call for papers now invites anyone who wishes to submit a paper proposal for consideration for inclusion within a specific panel, or to the open call, between October 15 and December 15, 2018. Panel organizers themselves will choose presenters from the submissions that they receive; the panel organizer will evaluate your proposal carefully and notify you of its final status by January 10, 2019. All paper proposals that do not find a home in the panel to which they were submitted will be considered for placement into one of the conference’s open panels. If you submit to the open papers call, or you were not accepted to the original panel you applied to, conference organizers will evaluate your abstract and you will be notified by February 4, 2019 of its final status.
There are nearly 130 panels seeking participants on a variety of topics. Submitting to an accepted panel GREATLY increases your chances of being accepted to the conference, as there is very limited space on the schedule for panels formed via the open call for submissions. Please Note: Only one paper submission per person is allowed.
Conference Theme: Paradise on Fire
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.
“Paradise” is the Greek word for a walled garden. What is it like to find yourself on the wrong side of that structure? 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:
Submitting your Proposal:
SUBMISSION FORMS (via Submittable, deadline December 15)
Pre/Post-Conference Workshops: information is found at the Schedule and Events page (click on the Workshops tab
North Valley Community Foundation:
One fund is to support the needs of the evacuation centers who opened their doors to house fire victims who lost their homes or had to evacuate. https://www.nvcf.org/fund/camp-fire-evacuation-relief-fund/ .
A second fund will provide financial resources to organizations and agencies responding to those affected by the Camp Fire in Northern California. https://nvcf.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create?funit_id=2012
North Valley Animal Disaster Group: Works jointly with public and private agencies and organizations in the area to help ensure the safety and well-being of all domestic animals and farm animals, including wildlife, affected by a disaster. This includes assistance with emergency temporary shelter, evacuation, and medical care. https://www.nvadg.org/donate.
Caring Choices Chico: 100% of donations will be used to directly offer aid to those in need. Donors can indicate if they are making a contribution or a donation to a specific person, area or need.
California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund: Supports victims by helping to rebuild homes and providing financial assistance to those who need medical and mental treatment. https://connect.calfund.org/give/wildfirerelief.
Another option is a donation to the 2019 ASLE Community Grant, which we plan to award to a project based in California, near the 2019 conference site that has been affected by the fires. The purpose of this grant is to integrate the environmental humanities into efforts to bring much-needed support to vulnerable communities. Your gift now will help us meet our goal of awarding a $5,000 Community Grant in 2019. https://www.asle.org/join-our-community/donate/
We are grateful, as always, for the generosity of our ASLE community.
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.
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.