Postcolonial Ecopoetics of Disaster, NEMLA 2014, submissions due 9/30/13

full name / name of organization: 
Liam O'Loughlin and Molly Nichols
contact email: 

Session Title: Postcolonial Ecopoetics of Disaster

45th Annual Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
April 3-6, 2014
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Host: Susquehanna University

This session will discuss the intersections between ecocriticism and postcolonial literatures of disaster. Imperialism and neoliberal globalization have led to disproportionate social and environmental devastation in the Global South. We build from Anthony Carrigan's assertion that understanding cultural representations of postcolonial disaster is integral to social and environmental reconstruction.

We are interested in the mutual influence between postcolonial disasters and ecocriticism: how do disaster narratives provoke ecological considerations, and how does ecocriticism offer ways to interpret catastrophic events? We hope to identify common ecological tropes in postcolonial narratives: What figures re-occur in the literature of disaster? What ecological poetics are deployed in response to disasters? How are postcolonial environmentalisms manifested or tested in periods of crisis?

In particular, we hope to explore the strategies postcolonial writers use to avoid enforcing the stigmatization of their home countries as "disaster-ridden." How do postcolonial writers use the disaster narrative to explore un-sensational forms of violence and localized environmental ethics? Papers may consider "disaster" in broad terms: from floods, earthquakes, and hurricanes to colonization, war, and terrorism. Papers are also encouraged to explore the ways the singular disaster exposes re-occurring forms of violence and oppression.

Please send a 300-500 word abstract and brief bio to Liam O'Loughlin, University of Pittsburgh,

Deadline for submission: September 30, 2013

Please also include with your abstract:

Name and Affiliation
Email address
Postal address
Telephone number
A/V requirements (if any; $10 handling fee with registration)

Conference info:

The 2014 NeMLA convention continues the Association's tradition of sharing innovative scholarship in an engaging and generative location. This capitol city set on the Susquehanna River is known for its vibrant restaurant scene, historical sites, the National Civil War museum, and nearby Amish Country, antique shops and Hershey Park. NeMLA has arranged low hotel rates of $104-$124.

The 2014 event will include guest speakers, literary readings, professional events, and workshops. A reading by George Saunders will open the Convention. His 2013 collection of short fiction, The Tenth of December, has been acclaimed by the New York Times as "the best book you'll read this year." The Keynote speaker will be David Staller of Project Shaw.

Interested participants may submit abstracts to more than one NeMLA session; however, panelists can only present one paper (panel or seminar). Convention participants may present a paper at a panel and also present at a creative session or participate in a roundtable.