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Biopolitics of Nature: Artistic Representations of Environment in Latin America (NeMLA)

Boston, MA
Organization: Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
Event: NeMLA
Categories: Postcolonial, Hispanic & Latino, Comparative, Interdisciplinary, Popular Culture, World Literatures, Aesthetics, Anthropology/Sociology, Classical Studies, Cultural Studies, Environmental Studies, Film, TV, & Media, Food Studies, History, Philosophy, African & African Diasporas, Asian & Asian Diasporas, Australian Literature, Canadian Literature, Caribbean & Caribbean Diasporas, Indian Subcontinent, Eastern European, Mediterranean, Middle East, Native American, Scandinavian, Pacific Literature
Event Date: 2020-03-05 to 2020-03-08 Abstract Due: 2019-09-15

Space in what we today call Latin America has been increasingly contested since 1492. As a result, many critics have argued that Latin American spaces are constantly subject to rearticulations. Latin American artists have produced poems, novels, short stories, songs, still art, theatre, movies, and other cultural manifestations as vehicles of rearticulation, especially in relation to natural and built environments. Indeed, an especially rich vein of contemporary Latin American cultural production embeds an active ecological awareness. A considerable part of recent ecocriticism addresses how the symbolic potential of art conveys the urgency of environmental concerns. As Martin Branagan argues, “the visual and performing arts are an important tool for all those working to improve environmental sustainability. They have the potential to fill two pressing needs-- enlivening environmental education and engaging large sections of the populace” (44). Not only do artistic productions convey environmental concerns with humor or creativity, but they also offer a space conducive to emancipatory learning and activism.


This panel addresses the intersections of space and environmental issues such as industrialization, pollution, land/soil degradation, and waste in literature, audiovisual, and performance art. We are particularly interested in ecocritical perspectives that confront the violence associated with megacities in Latin America. More specifically, this panel interrogates what aesthetic approaches tell us about life in the favelas, villas miserias, periferia, and poverty belts in general. We seek paper proposals in Spanish, Portuguese, or English. Please send an abstract of 250 words to Danielle Dorvil (danielle.m.dorvil@vanderbilt.edu) and Margaret Kelly (margaret.c.kelly@vanderbilt.edu) by September 15th, 2019.


Danielle Dorvil and Margaret Kelly