[UPDATED] Special Session: Teaching for the Post-Anthropocene

deadline for submissions: 
June 10, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
PAMLA: Pacific Ancient Modern Language Association
contact email: 

Analyzing the Anthropocene, or the “Age of Man,” poses unique challenges for the classroom context. How does one “teach” the Anthropocene? How might we use the lenses of Rob Nixon’s “slow violence” or Christian Parenti’s “catastrophic convergence” to add a critical dimension to current teaching? Can we envision ways to work around administrative and standardizing obstacles – and even transcend that physical and ideological place we call classroom? This is essential, for, as Paulo Freire asserts, “critical consciousness is brought about not through an intellectual effort alone, but through praxis – through the authentic union of action and reflection.”

Perhaps the biggest challenge in the pedagogical context is standardization itself – the normalization of repetition to the point where it renders practices and their related problems invisible. How can a practitioner innovate in an environment in which canon and other elements of curricular content are, essentially, cloned? The answer may be found embedded in this year’s PAMLA conference theme: “Send in the Clowns.” Clowning around creatively and collaboratively can counter both disciplinary divisions and cloned methodologies. Maybe making the problems of cloned systems more visible and less palatable – even to administrators – starts with an otherwise suit-and-tie instructor sporting a proverbial big red nose…and a circus of new ideas.

Presentations are welcome from educators, students, activists, and visionaries from all disciplines – as well as independent scholars from beyond academia. By exploring the methodological intersection of critical pedagogy, the consumption economy, and post-industrial society, this panel seeks to uncover how we might manifest the Anthropocene into teachable moments. Perhaps by comprehensively considering the Anthropocene in these ways, we may discover integrated approaches to teaching and learning that begin to counteract compartmentalized thinking and better equip our students with the critical perspectives they will need in the post-Anthropocene world.

Related topics this panel might consider in a pedagogical context include, but are certainly not limited to:


  • Rewilding the world
  • Cultural (r)evolution
  • Technocracy / Techno-utopia
  • Commodification / Consumerism
  • Advertising and marketing / mass media
  • Electoral politics and the corporate empire
  • Nature of the modern workplace
  • Urbanization / Industrialization / Mass production
  • Suburban expansion / population growth
  • National and natural borders
  • Population upheavals / refugees / mass migrations
  • Materialism / Resource depletion / resource wars
  • Anthropogenic extinction
  • Well-being: physical, spiritual, etc
  • Sustainability vs. consumption culture
  • Personal wealth versus the greater good
  • Animal ethics / veganism / sustainable eating
  • Post-humanism / human exceptionalism
  • Human nature / human condition
  • Farming for the future / land stewardship
  • Postcolonial ecocriticism
  • Endangered species / cultures
  • Coexistentialism vs. compartmentalization
  • Composing / Composting / Ecopoetics
  • Epistemology / Ecology / Environment
  • Planetary studies
  • Animal / human exploitation
  • Looking away vs. ‘staying with the trouble’
  • Grassroots movements / protest theory
  • Student-centered learning
  • Citizen students / Nature as teacher
  • Democracy versus capitalism
  • Garbage economy versus pollution prevention
  • Innovation versus Conservation in the late Holocene
  • Globalization versus localization
  • High security state / incarceration / culture of fear
  • Military industrial complex / geopolitics
  • Oligarchy versus democratic governance
  • Embodied cognition / immersive environments
  • Socioeconomic inequality / disenfranchised peoples
  • Ethics of consumption / carbon footprint / greenwashing
  • Sharing economy / Recycling / Upcycling
  • Environmental history
  • Ecocritical curriculum / Environmental humanities
  • Archiving at the Margins
  • Interdisciplinary teaching and learning
  • American exceptionalism / [politics of] dark ecology
  • Teaching beyond the test


Individual paper presentations will be between 15 and 20 minutes long. Please submit proposals via the online system at https://pamla.ballastacademic.com/Home/S/17915 by June 10, 2019. The conference will be held in San Diego, CA on November 14-17, 2019. Any questions can be sent to the above email address.