ASLE 2021: Virtual Meetings and Programming, Book Award Postponement

ASLE in 2021: Virtual Meeting

ASLE members have long nurtured a close-knit community that cares deeply about one another and cherish the opportunity to gather with one another in person for sharing ideas, camaraderie, and laughter. The conference, for ASLE, has provided much more than an opportunity to add a line to a CV, and been a collegial “meeting of the minds, hearts, and bodies” in places our conference site teams have labored to share generously and make stronger in our time together, and after.

In the spring survey, we heard members’ well-founded worries about meeting in person, which the ASLE leadership and managing director share.  As it has become increasingly clear that we cannot meet safely in Portland in 2021, we have made the decision to postpone an in-person meeting. We are preparing robust virtual opportunities for engaging, connecting, and sharing in 2021.  Details on this will be forthcoming shortly, so stay tuned.  We are excited to work with you to make 2021 a year for nurturing the community of care ASLE is for so many, and for shaping what is next, so that our community can continue to lead.

Book Awards Postponement

Given the traditional relationship between the biennial conference and our ASLE Book Awards, as well as the difficulties faced with the logistics of judging, book distribution, and coordination in a pandemic, we have also decided to postpone the book awards.  We plan to expand the number of awards bestowed when they do resume, as we recognize that the richness and number of publications in the Environmental Humanities continues to expand unabated. The ASLE Graduate Student Paper Awards will still be held in conjunction with a fully virtual 2021 convening, so look for more information on that in postings soon.

New Virtual Programming

We’ve been working conscientiously these last few months with a guiding challenge: how can the present challenges help up further work for the future, for greater organizational sustainability, for uplifting public engagement, for sustaining relationships and opening opportunities for new ones? To foster opportunities for ASLE to gather digitally, and give members a platform to discuss their latest works, we are launching a books and new media author chats series for 2021. Each chat session will feature several authors of work chosen for its thematic coherence across diverse media, include both critical and creative work, and highlight publicly engaged scholarship. The series will provide opportunities for ASLE members to present and discuss new work in a diverse range of ecocritical traditions and literatures and in the environmental humanities.

Public writing was a priority identified at the 2020 ASLE officer’s meeting. Helping ASLE members take their knowledge and skills and translate it into public discourse can be a way of shaping more just and livable futures — it can be a powerful intervention when even just a part of our work takes on further life in a public space like a newspaper. To that end, we are planning to organize public writing events and workshops to help support the efforts of ASLE members in public engagement, to equip more members for that work, and to deepen member engagement. 

Please look for calls to participate in these events as they are scheduled, coming soon!