From Sacred Nature to Environmental Policies

full name / name of organization: 
French American Studies Association
contact email: 
susanne.berthier@univ-savoie.fr

A few spots are available for the “Sacred Nature to Environmental Policies” workshop at the annual congress of the French American Studies Association in Grenoble, France, May 27-29, 2010 – deadline November 20, 2009

From Sacred Nature to Environmental Policies

In traditional Native American discourse nature is endowed with a diffuse sacrality where distinctive landmarks – waterways, mountains – occupy a place of choice; other loci have achieved the same characteristics through their function (as places of worship, cemeteries) or through their mythologic role (the geomorphology of creation story.)
In the settlement of the continent, John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club, opened the way for nature as an environment to be protected for mainstream society. Moreover, religious freedom granted by the First Amendment was extended to other religions without defining the term. Thus, confusion occurred between the sacrality of nature on one side and of the environment on the other side, and it was at times welcomed by the non-Native American environmentalists.
Nevertheless, contrary to sacred nature, the environment is a political concept with societal and economic dimensions and a technocratic management. In this context of hybrid perspectives and ideologies, Native American nations are regaining their lost territory and seek alliance with environmentalists or users of natural spaces, whether they are wildernesses or have a visible human history.
This workshop aims to discuss situations where the various actors cooperate or clash in the implementation of environmental policies in matters of land management (protection of sacred sites, tourism) or resource management (protecting endangered species or allowing ceremonial use by a specific group.) The source texts to be used are legal decisions, administrative texts, the official texts produced by governmental agencies, state authorities, tribal governments, as well as activist discourse.
Proposals (500 words + short bio) are to be sent to:
Susanne Berthier-Foglar
Professor American Studies
University of Savoie, France
susanne.berthier@univ-savoie.fr

cfp categories: 
ecocriticism_and_environmental_studies
international_conferences