“Community” has become a popular buzzword, particularly as people attempt to reaffirm their relationships during a year of physical disconnection. As the use of “community” has become more common, however, its meanings have often become abstract and restricted to specific human groups rather than open to include the non-human lives and ecological relationships upon which all creatures depend. Farmer, poet, and advocate for ecological integrity, Wendell Berry, defines community as “the mental and spiritual condition of knowing that the place is shared, and that the people who share the place define and limit the possibilities of each other's lives.” For Berry, community hinges on the literal responsibility and care people share with one another and the environment they inhabit; his rhetorical invitation has significance not only for those who read and understand it, but also for those who don’t.
As such, this panel aims to interrogate how we understand, form, and practice community in the context of ecological and/or planetary consciousness. Papers may consider media outside the traditional conception of literature such as nature writing, almanacs, instructional texts, constitutions, religious texts, and blogs. Questions to consider may include: How does the idea of “community” inflect literary narratives of ecological awakening? What are our responsibilities as members of our (local, academic, spiritual, etc.) communities? How, as scholars and teachers of literature, can we make the language of community inclusive and embodied?
Please submit abstracts through the NeMLA portal: https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/login