Toxic Assets: Divestment in the Anthropocene (Abstracts due Nov 1st)

full name / name of organization: 
American Comparative Literature Organisation (New York, Mar 20-23)
contact email: 
philip.dickinson@utoronto.ca

In order to avoid the most disastrous consequences of global warming, it is likely that we must leave most of the world’s remaining fossil fuel reserves unburned. This restriction, however, would turn the majority of fossil fuel assets into toxic assets—valueless resources for which no market exists—in turn threatening global financial meltdown, social instability, and an intensification of our ecological crisis.

This double-bind exemplifies the dilemma of the anthropocene, our new epoch defined by the irreversible geological impacts of human activity, and characterised by a sense of the intractability of a crisis that involves the domains of finance, politics, affect, philosophy, culture and aesthetics. If we have staked our various forms of capital in investments that promised to reproduce the future, only to find futurity itself under threat, then what are the possibilities for divesting ourselves of these newly toxic assets and for discovering more appropriate theoretical and representational “vestments” for our epoch?

This seminar seeks papers informed by a sense of the urgency of reevaluating our key points of affective, aesthetic and critical orientation in the light of the new reality of the anthropocene. Papers may engage with theory, literature, art, film, and cultural representation. We welcome papers that address post-humanism, new materialism, speculative and apocalyptic fiction, work in queer/non-reproductive futurity, environmentalism and the value of its key theoretical and strategic investments, affect and futurity, literary/artistic refractions of these concerns.

Abstracts must be submitted via the ACLA online portal: http://acla.org/acla2014/propose-a-paper/

cfp categories: 
ecocriticism_and_environmental_studies
international_conferences
theory