Urban Pastoralism - 2017 NeMLA Conference (Baltimore, March 23rd - 26th)

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
Matthew Lambert / Carnegie Mellon University
contact email: 

This is a cfp for my panel, "Urban Pastoralism," at NeMLA's 2017 conference in Baltimore, MD from March 23rd to March 26th.  Please see the following paragraphs for information on the panel as well as how to submit abstracts.

As cities across the US, including Baltimore, are utilizing “green” design techniques (urban parks, gardens, and waterfront consumer or recreational spaces) in order to revitalize their economy, urban pastoralism has become a major trend in the post-industrial age. But as critic James Machor has argued, American politicians, urban designers, and writers have appealed to urban pastoral landscapes since the country’s origins. In urban pastoralism, according to Machor, the “city and country are equally valuable components in an evolving landscape best served when those components operate in harmony” (Pastoral Cities 14). This can range “from a preservation of open green spaces in the urban topography to an ‘organic’ relationship among the inhabitants” (14). In examining the history of urban pastoralism in America, including its current manifestations, it’s important to examine how versions of the “mode” support and/or push against harmful economic, environmental, and social practices. This panel seeks to explore representations of urban pastoralism from all periods in American literature, film, and other cultural mediums that explore the tensions underlying the mode. In particular, it seeks papers responding to one or more of the following questions: In which ways have American cultural artists envisioned urban pastoral landscapes? How and why have these visions changed over the course of American history? How have environmental ideas influenced conceptions of urban pastoralism? Or conversely, how have versions of urban pastoralism masked un-environmental practices? What role do issues of social justice have in depictions of urban pastoral landscapes? How have cultural artists inverted traditional urban pastoralism to include people, objects, and animals typically left out of such visions? What role does urban pastoralism play today? Does it just support neoliberal economic, social, and environmental practices or have cultural artists appropriated the mode in critical and subversive ways?

Abstracts are due to NeMLA's online submission form (http://www.buffalo.edu/nemla/convention/callforpapers/submit.html) by September 30th, 2016.  Please email me (mmlamber@andrew.cmu.edu) if you have any questions.