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ENVIRONMENTAL UTOPIAS AND DYSTOPIAS AS FORMS OF RESISTANCE, OPPRESSION AND LIBERATION

Posted at July 15, 2015 | By : | Categories : Call For Papers,News,Opportunities,Other,workshops

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Dear all,

We would like to notify that due to people’s demands we will extend the deadline for applications (of short bio and cover letter — and preferred presentation format: paper, chapter or poster) until the end of the month (July 31).

Find the CFP attached. ​

Postgraduate Forum Environment, Literature, Culture Workshop 2015, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm

ENVIRONMENTAL UTOPIAS AND DYSTOPIAS AS FORMS OF RESISTANCE, OPPRESSION AND LIBERATION

11-12 December 2015, Stockholm, Sweden

Key-note speaker: Reader in English Adeline Johns-Putra, University of Surrey.

Commentator: Professor Sverker Sörlin, KTH, Royal Institute of Technology.

Topic

Utopias and dystopias have a long rich history and continue to be constructed as a reaction to socio-environmental crisis, what Lawrence Buell also attributes to “a crisis of the imagination” (1996). In this workshop we are particularly interested in how they are used as ways and forms of resistance, oppression and liberation, taking a socio-environmental perspective.

Utopias and dystopias are both narratives and practices shaping real and fictional scenarios, ranging from science fiction to the World Bank prognoses and climate models. The quickly growing field of climate fiction is a topical example of how literature has engaged with contemporary climate science, as discussed by Adam Trexler and Adeline Johns-Putra (2011). Environmental justice movements frequently use utopian and dystopian narratives, such as those inspired by Rachel Carson’s well-known “A Fable for Tomorrow”, as a way to voice injustices. Documentaries, short-films, music, novels, poems, and certainly social media are frequent ways of denouncing issues about environmental degradation and the related implications for human health and well-being, transforming them into a social concern and opening them to debate. Quite often these movements are in conflict with projects supposedly powered by Western ideas of progress and development, key concepts in the language sphere of ‘technospeak’, where only knowledgeable scientists and experts have a say. In 2013 David Lewis, Dennis Rodgers and Michael Woolcock published an edited volume entitled Popular Representations of Development: Insights from Novels, Films, Television and Social Media. This book addresses the understanding of development by the general public and the manifold ways in which it has been addressed in popular culture. It provides room for a multitude of perspectives, some of which have been obscured by progress-oriented development narratives. This interdisciplinary work highlights the importance of narratives in the socio- environmental discourse, which is a central concern for scholars in the environmental humanities. In literary studies ecocritics have a growing interest in environmental justice issues. A well-known example is Rob Nixon’s book Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor (2011), where Nixon combines eco- and postcolonial criticism in order to analyze both fictional and non-fictional postcolonial literary works with a clear socio-environmental critique.

This workshop aims to explore utopias and dystopias in culture and narrative, and their capacity to offer alternative environmental and political understandings of ecological crisis. Those projects could present imagined geographies and/or criticize controversial concepts such as those of (sustainable) development, conservation, technological fixes and the like.

Rather than set up a binary between fiction and science / the humanities and the sciences, this workshop seeks to analyze and understand how utopian narratives work in the present environmental discourse, the possibilities they open and the limitations they create.

Call for Papers

We invite contributions from postgraduate scholars in the environmental humanities that engage with a variety of concepts and theories related to this research area, which can include but are not limited to:

– Eco- utopia or dystopia (e.g. with respect to climate change, large infrastructural projects, social injustices…)

– Imagined geographies (textual or otherwise)
– Critiques and alternative representations of (sustainable) development
– The power of culture/cultural artifacts (books, films, blogs, popular science articles…) in environmental justice struggles – Writer-activism

Interested young scholars can either participate with a poster, an academic piece of writing (article, essay…) from their own work, or an excerpt/chapter of their dissertation/MA thesis. The length of the manuscripts should be “manageable” (we would advise them to be between 4000-8000 words). Workshop space is limited to a maximum of 15 participants. The workshop language is English.

If you are interested in participating, please send an email until July 15th, JULY 31st 2015 to docforum.elc@gmail.com, including a short biographical note, and a cover letter mentioning your current project topic and your interest in the workshop. Please also explain in which form you would like to contribute (poster, chapter, etc.).

There will be some grants available for attendees. Please contact us about them. They are especially aimed at participants without university or third-party funding.
A light lunch will be provided both days of the workshop.

Workshop Format and Program

The workshop is organised by the postgraduate forum “Environment, Literature, Culture” which aims at bringing together young researchers from the EASLCE membership countries to share and discuss their research with other young scholars in the environmental humanities.

There will be a key note by Dr. Adeline Johns-Putra (Reader of English at the University of Surrey), which will serve as an introduction to the workshop’s topic. In the following sessions the submitted texts will be discussed, and there will also be a poster session, accompanied by some refreshments.

A detailed schedule will be distributed later on.

Logistic Information

The texts for discussion (sent by the participants) will be made available to and should be read by all participants in advance. Those who suggested a text will be asked to briefly introduce it in a short input presentation before the discussion. Please bear in mind that we do not want to discuss thesis projects in their early stages during this text session (if you want to present your whole project, please apply for the poster session). Chapters or excerpts of your thesis are welcome.

Venue

The workshop will be hosted by the interdisciplinary Environmental Humanities Laboratory in the Division of History of Science, Technology and the Environment, at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, in the picturesque city of Stockholm.

It will take place in December, right before the day of Saint Lucia, which is celebrated in Sweden in beautiful ceremonies of candlelight and music, lighting up the dark morning. This way we hope participants will not only profit from what we expect will be a rewarding academic encounter, but will also have the chance to experience some local culture and folklore during the same weekend, if so they wish.

Local committee

–  Isabel Pérez, PhD candidate

–  Marco Armiero, EHL Director

–  Kati Lindström, PhD

–  Susanna Lindström, PhD

–  Anna Svensson, PhD candidate Environmental Humanities Laboratory, KTH Royal Institute of Technology

References:

– Buell, Lawrence. The Environmental Imagination: Thoreau, Nature Writing, and the Formation of American Culture. Belknap Press, 1996. Print.

– Lewis, David; Dennis Rodgers, and Michael Woolcock. Eds. Popular Representations of Development:

Insights from Novels, Films, Television and Social Media. Routledge, 2013. Print.
– Nixon, Rob. Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor. Harvard university Press, 2011. Print.
– Trexler A and Adeline Johns-Putra. “Climate Change in Literature and Literary Criticism”. Royal Metereological Society/ Wiley Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 2 (2). 2011, pp. 185- 200. Print.

See also the links:
http://www.kth.se/en/abe/inst/philhist/historia/ehl/postgraduate-forum-e/postgraduate-forum-environment-literature-culture-1.571309

https://docforumelc.wordpress.com/

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