Waterscapes: Postcolonial Perspectives on the Environment and Place in Crisis (11/01/2011; 03/29 - 04/01/2012)
Recently, it has become clear that environmental degradation is the biggest hazard facing life on planet earth and has a long colonial and imperial history. Interestingly, ecocriticism as a field has developed mainly in American Studies. But if planetary environmental issues affect the entire planet, how are they represented in literature that is not written in the U.S.?
In ecocriticism and postcolonial studies, the role and function of water in particular lends itself to a comparatist and global analysis. Bodies of water have served both as dividers but also as, sometimes problematic, routes of migrations and shared cultures. Moreover, water lends itself to comparative approaches because shared rivers like the Nile, and the Mekong, for example know no boundaries. Also water has led to many conflicts world-wide, and many scholars and scientists predict that water will be the "new oil."
In light of the recent "greening" of postcolonial studies, papers contributed to this seminar will explore the ways in which non-U.S. literature engages issues of the environment and place, with a special emphasis on water. We welcome presentations on all genres of texts from the essays of Vandana Shiva to the fiction of J. M. Coetzee to the activism of Ken Saro-Wiwa.
Proposals should be no more than 500 words in length, contain the proposed title of the presentation as well as the author's name and contact information, and be sent to Tanja Stampfl at Stampfl@uiwtx.edu or Shazia Rahman at S-Rahman@wiu.edu no later than November 1, 2011.