"Ecocritical Activisms and Activist Ecologies" NeMLA 2011 April 6-10, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ: Abstracts Sept 30
Ecocriticism informs ecological activisms, and vice versa. What kind of change can the intersections and tensions between ecocriticism and activism bring about? While ecocriticism has become an increasingly popular field of inquiry, its positionality remains an issue for negotiation. From Rachel Carson's Silent Spring (1962), which continues to influence mass eco-activisms, to the anti-GMO groups that shape discussions of bioethics, ecocriticism remains in dialogue with practical approaches in what Lawrence Buell has termed a "spirit of commitment to environmentalist praxis" (The Environmental Imagination, 1995). Moreover, current ecocritical scholarship underscores a general distrust of the romanticizing rhetoric of early ecocriticism. Does that signal a future for ecocriticism to move toward more activism-directed, politically-charged, and/or interdisciplinary projects? If so, how can we begin to negotiate ecocriticism that validates direct action verging on either eco-terrorism, or placing the correction of environmental injustices above the protection of human life? If ecocriticisms are important for educating desires and inspiring practices, then ecocritics take on activist roles that access spaces outside academia. How can - or should - we as a field of inquiry move beyond academic discussions and into practical participation in the project of making both local and global spatial practice more sustainable? How do we update our cultural imaginaries of culture or nature and what they signify? This panel seeks to explore the ecologically-aware and imaginative possibilities of ecocritical activism and activist ecologies. Please send abstracts of 500 words or less, by 30 September 2010, to Georg Drennig and MaryAnne Laurico at firstname.lastname@example.org.