Centre for Modern Studies Symposium: 'Nature at War', 5th June, abstracts by 14th April

full name / name of organization: 
Emily Bowles / University of York
contact email: 

Keynote: Dr James Purdon (Jesus College, Cambridge)

Taking place during the centenary of the First World War, 'Nature at War' is an interdisciplinary one-day symposium organised by the Postgraduate Forum of the Centre for Modern Studies at the University of York, exploring the dynamic between nature (broadly-conceived) and war from the mid-nineteenth to early twenty-first centuries.

Is the dynamic of nature and war essentially one of conflict, and if so, how can that conflict itself avoid being 'unnatural'? How do ideas of naturalness and unnaturalness manifest themselves in war contexts? Can 'war' reconceptualise or reform 'nature', and can 'war' be found in 'nature' – and to what end?

Proposed papers of 20 minutes are welcomed from postgraduates across all humanities disciplines. Topics might include (but are certainly not limited to):

- conceptualisations of humanity that involve internal conflict, with ideas of 'naturalness', transhumanism and technological warfare in constructions of the individual or a normalised conflicted society

- imaginings of pastoral, bucolic, industrialised, chemically-altered or 'unnatural' landscapes as sites of struggle, including ideas of heritage, commemoration or symbolism of a warscape such as poppies and doves

- ethics of pest control and use of animals in warfare and prototype testing

- human, subhuman and extrahuman categories and their legality and morality

- modern war requiems/elegies and experimental use of instruments/extended technique

- forms of collectivity in conflict and 'natural' boundaries within identity politics during militarisation

- ethics of conscription and requisition of body and property in total war

Please send an abstract of 300 words to cmods-pgforum@york.ac.uk with your name and institutional affiliation by 14th April. You can find full details on our website here: http://www.york.ac.uk/modernstudies/postgraduate-forum/#tab-3