Call for Papers: International Conference on Ecopoetics
“Dwellings of Enchantment: Writing and Reenchanting the Earth”
Under the aegis of the CRESEM
University of Perpignan Via Domitia, France
June 22nd-25th 2016
Other writers to be confirmed
Confirmed Keynote Speakers
Joni Adamson, Arizona State University
François Gavillon, Université de Brest
Yves-Charles Grandjeat, Université de Bordeaux
Wendy Harding, Université Toulouse Jean-Jaurès
Scott Slovic, University of Idaho
With its roots in nineteenth century American transcendentalism, nature writing, environmental literature, or again literature of place in North America has in the past fifty years sprouted into a minor genre of contemporary literature. As the world is becoming increasingly aware of the urgency of our global environmental crisis, can nature writers and ecocritics contribute to advocate a change in the language and politics that we humans rely upon to relate to the world, and ultimately, to determine its fate? As early as 1949, Aldo Leopold insisted that “the evolution of a land ethic is an intellectual as well as an emotional process” (263). Leopold pledged for an ethic of love and respect for the land, and for the “cultural harvest [that it yields]” (xix). Recalling the basic concept of ecology, Leopold argued: “We abuse the land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see the land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” (xix)
Promoting perception of man’s “embeddedness in the world,” to take up Scott Slovic’s phrase, ecocritics and nature writers have increasingly joined efforts to spread a biocentric view of the world, and to help humans discover or regain more humble and more responsible notions of place. Various yet related fields of studies have emerged from academic interest in literary environmentalism, generally grouped under the labels of “ecofeminism,” “nature writing,” “environmental literature” and “literature of place,” or, going back to a much older tradition, “Native American literature.” What all the writers approached from either of these angles have in common is that their texts call for an empathetic, imaginative, perceptive and reciprocal relationship with nature. Whether grounded primarily in ecological science, in personal meditation, or in ancient mythology, tradition, and philosophy, these writers of various origins nevertheless come together in the development of what Barry Lopez and Mark Tredinnick call “a literature of humility, of movement beyond the self.”
This e conference aims to cast light on the rhizomatic convergences between literatures that tend to be bunched into the separate categories of ecofeminist, postcolonial or environmental studies. The purpose is to show how the fiction and non-fiction of these writers with a specific interest in place as well as in the non-human realm overlap, intersect, and engage in a fruitful, multicultural dialogue, opening imaginative and insightful perspectives onto the world. For, does not much nature writing present us with an ecological picture of organic interrelatedness similar to the motif of the sacred hoop expressing the interconnected web of all life forms in Native American tradition (Paula Gunn Allen)? And does not most nature writing consist in a movement to reenchant the world, or in other words/worlds, to re-sing the world?
Papers will be welcome that will address some of the following issues:
- Are certain genres–the lyric essay, the short story, the novel, drama, film or poetry–better suited to the writing of nature?
- What place might dystopic fiction occupy in ecocritical studies?
- Can these writers be said to contribute to a literature of hope?
- Might the reenchantment of the quotidian and the natural be particularly inclined toward magical realism as a liminal mode dealing with, in Wendy Faris’s terms, “ordinary enchantments?”
- What are the roles of myth and/or science when fiction and non-fiction draw from these other forms of discourse about the world?
- What is the contribution of phenomenology and ecopsychology to the field of ecopoetics?
- What impact has ecopoetics had on politics?
- Do ecopoetic texts reveal, as Linda Hogan claims, something which “dwells beneath the surface of things”?
- Can it be said that all nature writers are mystics? What kind of “mystical experiences,” “numinous encounters,” “inexplicable revelations” do nature writers tell about (Mark Tredinnick)?
- What is the place of oneirism in the writing of nature?
- What is the importance of liminal experiences of nature? What can we learn from moments in literature when human apprehension suddenly opens to forms of “terrestrial intelligence” (Linda Hogan), or sentience, pertaining to animal, mineral, vegetal, or elemental realms?
- What are the different ways in which one’s sensitivity to the other-than-human world shapes one’s writing, and eventually articulates with nature?
- Is there such a thing as “the land’s wild music” (Mark Tredinnick)? How may we learn to listen for it? What kind of musicality arises then, within the very writing of/with nature?
- How might “thinking like a mountain” (Aldo Leopold) or hearing like a bat (Linda Hogan) ripple into and through the writing of nature?
Please visit the conference website for more information: http://ecopoeticsperpignan.com/
Conference Organizers Scientific Committee
Jocelyn Dupont Joni Adamson
Caroline Durand-Rous Jocelyn Dupont
Hélène Guillaume François Gavillon
Margot Lauwers Yves-Charles Grandjeat
Eliane Liddell Hélène Guillaume
Bénédicte Meillon Wendy Harding
Jonathan Pollock Eliane Liddell