Modernisms and the Anthropocene (Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture since 1900)

deadline for submissions: 
August 1, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture since 1900, February 22-24, 2018, at the University of Louisville

This critical panel or roundtable invites proposals from scholars working at the intersection of modernist and Anthropocene studies. Presentations might engage with the following quandaries and/or themes, as well as unlimited others:  

  • How does experimentation with literary form in the early twentieth century aid or impair our ability to “imagine the Anthropocene”? 
  • How are “modernity” and “Anthropocene” describing the same phenomena and/or how are these things different?
  • Modernism, as a literary movement, is often accused of being obsessed with human consciousness, agency, and identity to the exclusion of the non-human or the “external.” How might this classification of modernism be complicated or disputed in the frame of the Anthropocene?
  • How do we situate early twentieth century literary production in terms of denial and/or awareness of human impact on earth's systems? Similarly, how does a specific text or author contribute to or disrupt the "Great Derangement," Amitav Ghosh's term for the persistent denial of climate change?
  • In a given modernist text, how are humans, nonhumans, culture, and nature entangled or rendered as separable?
  • How might current environmental science and philosophy revise the canonization of literary modernism (i.e. finding it more or less "ecological" than originally conceived)?
  • How is a given writer's engagement with time and space Anthropocenic or not? What can we say about modernist treatment of scale in light of the Anthropocene? 
  • Aesthetics 
  • Climate change, environmental catastrophe, apocalypse 
  • Intimacy with nonhumans 
  • Empire and capitalism 
  • Technology
  • Biopolitics 
  • Hyperobjects
  • New Materialisms / Feminist Materialisms 
  • Global modernism
  • Naming the Anthropocene 

Submit double spaced, titled, 300-word abstracts and a 100-150 word biographical note to Dr. Rebekah Taylor-Wiseman at rtaylor-wiseman@brenau.edu by August 1 for consideration. Inquiries welcome.