European Association for Studies of Literature, Culture and the Environment
natura loquens

Call for Papers: Natura Loquens, Natura Agens

Following the 5th EASLCE conference held in Tenerife on “Natura Loquens: Eruptive Dialogues, Disruptive Discourses” last June, the organizers are planning to edit a volume bringing together those conference presentations clearly focused on the conference theme and further contributions on the subject: the communicative/dialogical relationship between humans and Nature, and the agency of Nature. The volume will examine old and new understandings of the agency of Nature/matter, and of what counts as speech. Topics such as recent insights into animal communication, the idea that non-animal and inanimate nature “signify,” and the suggestion of biosemiotics that life itself is a process of signification are welcome, as well contributions on Nature’s agency, transcorporeality, agential realism and panpsychism. Essays should reflect the changed relationship between Nature and humankind in what Paul Crutzen has called the Anthropocene Era. The volume would also like to juxtapose the pre-modern idea of a “language of nature” as featured in aesthetics and literature in the 18th and 19th centuries with the new understandings of the concept in the context of ecocritical debates on nature's agency. The human ability to speak was a key factor making it possible to detach Homo sapiens from other animal species, establishing a hierarchy that has been working until present day. The Aristotelian conception of human “loquacity” is based on the assumption of a “great chain of being”, but places this Homo loquens/Homo agens in a superior position, by virtue of its ability to structure and articulate the universe. Deconstructing this idea and recognizing Nature’s ability to speak out, as Christopher Manes, David Abrams, Gernot Böhme and others have done, enables multiple, creative conversations to be acknowledged, and the natural order of things to be reconstructed. The main purpose of this volume is then to reenact, rethink and fluidize the dialogic balance between Nature and human knowledge as illustrated in literary and cultural texts, engaging in intellectually fairer and more empathetic communication. Those interested should send a title and detailed abstract of 300 words to both editors (Juan Ignacio Oliva, [email protected] and Carmen Flys, [email protected] ) making clear the relationship with the theme. Titles and abstracts should be sent by November 30th, 2012. Once we receive the abstracts, we will begin to contact potential publishers. Articles, which will be double blind peer reviewed, should be in English, between 5000 and 6000 words, in MLA format, and should be submitted by June 15th, 2013.


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