(M)other Nature? Inscriptions, Locations, Revolutions, 31 May - 2 June 2012

full name / name of organization: 
University of Bucharest, English Department

The English Department of the University of Bucharest invites proposals for the Literature and Cultural Studies section of its 14th Annual Conference:

(M)other Nature?
Inscriptions, Locations, Revolutions

Dates: 31 May–2 June, 2012
Venue: The Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures,
Str. Pitar Mos 7-13, Bucharest, Romania

The conference invites papers on the theme of "nature" from a variety of interpretative approaches, to discuss modes in which the continuous present of (mother) nature – as concept, reality, representation – is configured in conjunction with expressions of cultural history, literary and visual texts, as well as a controversial discourse of immanent otherness, of disjunctive forms, of ironic identity constructions, of equivocation and power codes.

An abstraction or a cryptic restatement of the notion, an "alibi", an "elsewhere" of the human subject, the discourse of nature (the equivalent of Lacan's "lettered unconscious") and the repertoire of conflictual positions displayed by (m)other nature contribute in various modes to the configuration of natural identity and to fantasies of originality and origination. However, the tropes, stereotypes, fetishes of mothering and otherness playing out their differences, and metaphors and metonymies of (m)other nature articulating a (natural?) imaginary all remain marked by an irreconcilable dualism: (m)other natures are "spoken" both as spaces of plenitude and enlargement, beyond logical, visual and geometrical limitations and as forms of duration, as time comprehensive of anteriority and posteriority in fluid intimacy. Nature energized by imagination, reinvented by memory, governing the poets' "rhythmic body", a discordia concors on the stage of the world is still generative of dilemmas: is it an illusion of truth, musealized, denied. or simply "occulted"? An affirmation of the transience and the nearness of the real, the interpretation of nature is, for the "the history man" of contemporaneity, not only a fictional space of freedom, but also a mirage providing social, political, economic and psychological contexts, as well as the aesthetic substitute of adventure, the boundary of selfhood, a state of mind and a signifying tale of both exilic distanciation and compensatory homecoming.

Suggested topics:

Art and nature
Environmentalism and literary studies
Eco- / environmental criticism
Mythical translations of nature
Nature and feminism
Nature and spirituality
Nature and mortality
Nature and mothering
Nature and memory
Nature and/in performance
Mother country / tongue v. alterity
The location(s) of nature
Psychoanalytical views on nature
Performance and the environment
Race and literary environmental studies
Colonialism / postcolonialism and the environment
(M)othering signatures and appropriations
(Re)writing nature
(Re)inventing nature
Nature and history
Nature and the technologies of control
Utopias of nature
Spectres of Nature

It is anticipated that participants will adopt a variety of approaches, including examinations of individual works in various genres and media, comparative, transcultural and interdisciplinary studies, and discussions of theoretical issues.

Presentations should be in English, and will be allocated 20 minutes each, plus 10 minutes for discussion. Prospective participants are invited to submit abstracts of up to 200 words (including a list of keywords) in Word format, with an indication of their institutional affiliation, a telephone number and e-mail address at which they can be contacted, and a short bio of up to 100 words. Proposals for panel discussions (to be organized by the participant) will also considered.

A selection of papers will be published in University of Bucharest Review (listed on EBSCO, CEEOL and Ulrichsweb).

Conference fee: 50 euro or equivalent in Romanian Lei
The fee is payable in cash on registration, and covers the opening reception, conference materials, and refreshments during the conference.

Deadline for proposals: 15 February 2012.
Please send proposals (and enquiries) to litcultstbucharest@gmail.com

We look forward to welcoming you in Bucharest.

The organizing team
Maria-Sabina Draga Alexandru
James Brown
Daniela Cârstea
Eliana Ionoaia
Ruxandra Rădulescu
Ioana Zirra