Fire Stories (Conference, Melbourne, Australia, 4-5 December 2013) Lit studies, History, Art HIstory

full name / name of organization: 
The University of Melbourne

'Fire Stories' is a cross-disciplinary conference that will take place at the University of Melbourne, Australia December 4-6, 2013.

Keynote speakers are Danielle Clode (Flinders University), Bill Gammage (ANU), Alan Krell (CoFA, UNSW) and Pablo Mukherjee (University of Warwick).

Abstracts may be sent to

The conference will incorporate an ecological humanities symposium, organised by the Australian Centre, 'On Species: Narrative, Indigeneity, Ecology, Afterlife' (confirmed keynote speaker, Ursula Heise). Please see these web pages for further details: and
A source of survival, comfort and terror, humans have struggled to control and harness fire since its discovery tens of thousands of years ago. This symposium will address emotional responses to fires in literature and history, looking particularly at how the fleeting destruction of a blaze is conveyed in narrative terms. Participants will be invited to consider a dialogue between ancient and modern representations of fire (including the mythical) and the affective responses that they evoke. Speakers are also encouraged to address the role that fictional representations of burning landscapes or cityscapes can play in the aftermath of a major disaster.

Please send abstracts to fire-stories@ by no later than August 31st 2013.

Please note that the conference will be preceded by a symposium to be convened by the Australian Centre, Ecologies and the Australian Humanities: Thinking about Species. This symposium will take place on Wednesday December 4 and a program will be released in due course.

Topics may include:

Disaster narratives/environmental catastrophe
The ecology of fire
Representations of bushfires/wildfires
Climate change
Performing fire/ the aesthetics of fire
The poetics of the flame
Fire in the colonies
Fire and colonial settlers
Indigenous representations of fire
Fire and childhood
Fire and folklore
Fire and national identity
Firescapes and emotions
Psychological responses to fires
Survivor stories
Fire and memory
The domestic hearth

Contributors may speak on any historical/literary period.