Wish You Were Here: Positions, Interactions, and Environments

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University of Florida English Graduate Organization
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Wish You Were Here: Positions, Interactions, and Environments
24-26 October 2013
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida

Keynote speaker: Mathias Nilges (St. Francis Xavier University)

The English Graduate Organization at the University of Florida is now accepting submissions for its 13th annual conference, Wish You Were Here: Positions, Interactions, and Environments. The conference will be held October 24-26, 2013.

This conference's keywords – Positions, Interactions, and Environments – aim to complicate the ways we think of the natural in relation to the social, cultural, and literary. How do cultures and texts shape, and how are they shaped by, non-human and manufactured environments? How do we pinpoint ourselves in relation to such environments, and how do the works that we produce question or stabilize our ideas of environments? This conference draws on ecocriticism, a young field within the humanities and social sciences that acknowledges environmental responsibility and progress, as well as current and impending eco-disasters. But, such criticism also risks simply moralizing representations of nature, and humanity's relation to it, in literature and culture more broadly. Wishing you were here, however, does not only express physical locations on our planet, nor does it simply yearn for a green future. It also acknowledges how we cognitively position ourselves within and in relation to manufactured, imagined, or potential environments.

This conference then seeks to ask questions. How do we acknowledge spaces, places, and people around us, as well as imagined spaces, authorities and institutions? How do we craft our states of being? What is our human position in relation to non-human life or inanimate matter? How we engage the world around us: is nature a passive outside, or does it act on us? How are humanity and nature constitutive of each other? How has the environment, or how have environments, been historically articulated and generated? How do we interact through time, space, media, language and rhetoric? What environments do we create in our various milieus and to what ends?

Possible topics could include, but are not limited to:

• green studies/sustainability
• utopia/dystopia
• disaster and apocalypse
• growth and evolution
• biopolitics
• (bio)technology
• posthumanism
• non-human/hybrid/monstrous life
• spatiality
• architecture/cities/urban planning
• globalism/regionalism
• national identity
• queer ecology
• idyll/pastoral
• system and network theory
• digital media/media ecology/digital environments

We encourage submissions from scholars working from a variety of focal points, including but not limited to literary studies, rhetoric and composition, cultural studies, women's and gender studies, postcolonial studies, critical theory, film studies, comics and visual rhetoric, and creative writing.

Please submit a 250-word abstract for a 20-minute presentation along with contact information to ufl.ego@gmail.com by September 16, 2013. Please indicate any a/v requirements (DVD player and data projection available). Authors of accepted papers will be notified the week of September 27th. For questions concerning the conference, please contact us at ufl.ego@gmail.com.