EVENT Nov 09
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Big Bad Future: Scale and Speculation in Environmental Literature (ASLE @ SAMLA 95) (SAMLA 95)

Atlanta, GA
Organization: ASLE/SAMLA
Event: SAMLA 95
Categories: Postcolonial, American, Hispanic & Latino, Comparative, Interdisciplinary, British, Genre & Form, Popular Culture, Literary Theory, World Literatures, African-American, Colonial, Revolution & Early National, Transcendentalists, 1865-1914, 20th & 21st Century, Medieval, Early Modern & Renaissance, Long 18th Century, Romantics, Victorian, 20th & 21st Century, Adventure & Travel Writing, Children's Literature, Comics & Graphic Novels, Drama, Narratology, Poetry, 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: 2023-11-09 to 2023-11-11 Abstract Due: 2023-06-01

From Thoreau’s description of “vast, Titanic, inhuman nature” to Timothy Morton’s hyperobjects, scale has long been an epistemological tool for theorizing the relationship between nature and humanity. This tool has taken on special significance in the age of global anthropogenic climate change as artists and scholars struggle to give form to such enormous, widely dispersed upheaval as it slowly but persistently creeps into view. In the light of drowning major cities and intensifying weather events, we are left with the evergreen question: “what is to be done?” What role, if any, can literature play in the comprehension of and adaptation to such a brave new world? What interdisciplinary connections can be adopted to make art a more transformative force? What part can literature and language studies play in such a world where potential destruction may make the university as an institution altogether obsolete? Potential presenters are welcome to consider these among other questions in constructing their proposals. Presentations from all fields of literature and language studies and all time periods are welcome. Interdisciplinary links are encouraged but not required.

Presentations may address any of the following:

  • How to represent climate change in art
  • The scale of movements for climate justice
  • Climate fiction and speculative depictions of drastically different futures
  • Speculative theories of climate adaptation (degrowth, international agreements, etc.)
  • Mass extinction
  • Climate disaster
  • Mass migration/climate refugees
  • Nascent climate fascism and/or climate populism
  • Environmental radicalism and/or the utility of violence
  • Extractive capitalism, its ghosts and its futures
  • Any other topic related to the theme

By June 1st, please send proposals of 300 words, a brief bio, and any A/V requests to Dr. Matthew Spencer (mls0142@auburn.edu).


Matthew Spencer