Inter-Material Affections: Intimacy and Ecology in the 19th Century (C19, Berkeley, 4/12-15, 2012)

full name / name of organization: 
Travis Foster, The College of Wooster
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Inter-Material Affections: Intimacy and Ecology in the 19th Century
A Proposed Panel for C19: The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists
Berkeley, California, April 12-15, 2012

Papers exploring how Americans in the nineteenth century conceived ecology as a form of intimacy will be considered for a proposed panel for the 2012 C19 conference. Papers should explore how 19th-century conceptions of ecology aided two overlapping projects: (1) expanding possibilities for intra-human intimacies and (2) migrating intimacy beyond the interpersonal to what we might call the inter-material.

Possible areas for focus might include, but are by no means limited to:

• narratives that resist opposition between the “natural” and the perverse;
• botany as a resource for representing illicit desires;
• feminist and queer understandings of wild spaces (alternatives to rugged indiviualism and masculine nature);
• plant or animal studies approaches to intimacy between humans and other carbon based life;
• eco-erotic pastoral or neo-Arcadian poetics;
• contestations to repro-centric and/or sexually dimorphic accounts of human, plant, or animal well-being;
• narratives of unisexuality, parthenogenesis, or hermaphroditism;
• narratives of the sex lives of insects, animals, or plants;
• sexology’s influence on conceptions of natureculture;
• sex outdoors, public sex;
• dense urban space as ecological practice;
• grotesque corporealities that refuse to posit the body as impenetrable and closed; and
• versions of Christianity or spirituality that (re-)imbue the spirit into the flesh, suggesting epistemological attitudes other than distanced reason.

Submit abstracts of no more than 250 words and a brief biography or cv by September 17th to Travis Foster (

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