Modernism and the Environment-the 2012 SAMLA Convention (updated)

full name / name of organization: 
South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA)

Modernism and the Environment

In the past two decades, there has been a surge of literary and critical environmental works. Although ecocriticism has been a flourishing field of inquiry for some years now, literary critics are just beginning to explore literature and the environment from postcolonial perspectives. Postcolonial eco-/environmental criticism, albeit belatedly, has become a burgeoning field in the past few years. However, most eco-/environmental critics are heavily focused on contemporary environmental texts, so little or no attention has been paid to the aspects of nature in British or in Anglo-phone modern literature. Nature or the environment is rarely considered a part of the imperial colonial process in analyzing modern literary works. Hence, the most significant question here would be: how can we study and interpret modern British/or Anglophone literary works from a postcolonial eco-/environmental perspective?

On the one hand, modern British literature is generally viewed as urban literature and is, therefore, essentially anti-environmental literature. It is either viewed synonymously with an alienated or a rootless flâneur wandering in the urban spaces of an overcrowded city or seen as non-realist, avant-garde representations of nature and animals to the extent of unreal or imaginary cities and natures. On the other hand, there is a sort of unspoken critical consensus that modern environmentalism begins only after the environmental movement of the 1960s. So our graduate panels primarily seek to explore the relationship between modernism and the environment, modernity and the environment, modernism and animal studies, and the urban environment, among others. However, the panels are also open to other related themes of the environment and environmental literature from contemporary and other literary periods. As regards contemporary environmental literature, we seek to explore how the current environmental issues are, for example, connected to different social and cultural issues such as environmental degradation and impoverishment to race, gender, and class; social and environmental crises to colonialism, capitalist expansion, and globalization. Having that said, the South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA) graduate panels invite the papers that explore the relationship between modernism and the environment, or the papers exploring the intersections of the environment, literature, and culture.

Please send us an abstract or a proposal of 300-400 words (in word doc or rich text format) for your proposed paper to be presented at the 2012 SAMLA convention by June 16, 2012 via email to or All proposals should include the title of the paper, author's name, email address, and author's institutional affiliation.