Green Countercultures

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Ecozon@: European Journal of Literature, Culture and Environment
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Call for Papers: Ecozon@ Issue 4.1 (Spring 2013)

Green Countercultures

Guest Editor: Peter Mortensen, Aarhus University

From the late 1950s to the early 1970s an extraordinary counterculture emerged among young people in various western countries, opposing the values of mainstream society. The counterculture originated in a protest again Cold War moralism, conservatism and consumerism, and it was later galvanized by opposition to ethnic discrimination and the US war in Vietnam. The counterculture unfolded in a variety of forms – in political protest, anti-war sentiment, expressive individualism, calls for women's and minorities' rights, a new awareness of Eastern spirituality and widespread experimentation with drugs, sex, diet, dress and other forms of alternative lifestyle. Not coincidentally, the counterculture also brought a heightened environmental consciousness that was expressed both in new modes of collective activism and in new concerns with individual lifestyle issues and consumption patterns.

This special section for Spring 2013 invites essays, of approximately 6,000-8,000 words, engaging with the greening of literature and culture in the 1960s, 1970s, and beyond. We welcome a variety of approaches reflecting the intrinsic pluralism, heterogeneity and international/transatlantic scope of the counterculture. Questions to be addressed may but need not include the following:

• What shapes does ecological anxiety take, and what importance does it have, in the works of countercultural experimental artists from different countries such as Pier Paolo Pasolini, Werner Herzog, Joseph Beuys, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Aldous Huxley, Ursula K. Le Guin, Robert Crumb and Marvin Gaye?

• How were events like the Santa Barbara oil blowout (January 1969), the first Earth Day celebration (April 1970), the formation of Green political parties in Switzerland (1972), Britain (1973), and Germany (1980) and the attendant debates over overpopulation, resource and energy scarcity, chemical toxicity, space exploration and nuclear power reworked and refracted in the period's high and popular culture?

• To what extent and in what ways does countercultural environmental protest writing accentuate and revitalize (or distort and domesticate) already existing pastoral, decentralist and romantic anticapitalist currents and traditions in Western thought and culture, from Rousseauism to anarchism, Transcendentalism to vitalism?

• To what extent and in what ways do different versions of countercultural environmentalism complicate the conceptual paradigms and dichotomies underpinning debates within fields like environmental history, green cultural studies and literary ecocriticism, including the distinctions between anthropocentrism and biocentrism, preservation and conservation, wilderness and urbanism, and "deep" and "shallow" ecologies?

• How can we critically address the fact that the counterculture tended to envision ecotopian alternatives by crafting images of racial and cultural "others" – for example Fellaheen Mexicans, ecological Indians, mystical Orientals, and chthonic earth mothers – living in holistic harmony with nature?

• How can we productively engage with the ambiguous legacy of countercultural life-reformist discourses, embodied practices and anthropotechnics, including back-to-the-land homesteading, Buddhist economics, organic self-sufficiency gardening, vegetarianism, voluntary simplicity, do-it-yourself, yoga and appropriate technology, and what do we make of their possible continued relevance in the age of anthropogenic climate change and peak oil?

Please direct questions to Peter Mortensen ( Completed manuscripts have to be submitted via the journal platform ( no later than September 15, 2012. Authors must comply with the guidelines indicated on the platform, including 2 abstracts (English and Spanish), keywords (English and Spanish) and MLA style citations. Articles will be accepted in English and German.