CFP: NeMLA (ASLE Session): Waste Matters (deadline 9/30/14; conference 4/30-5/3/15)

full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association
contact email: 
jill.gatlin at necmusic.edu

Waste Matters: Environmental Pollution and Materiality (ASLE Session)

46th Annual Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
April 30-May 3, 2015
Toronto, Ontario

Literary, filmic, and artistic media are littered with representations of environmental pollution and waste, whether in accounts of catastrophe and crisis or in stories of scavenging and survival. From e-waste shipped from the U.S. to China and Africa, to trash salvaged by cartoneros in Central and South America, to nuclear and oil spill contamination spread across the globe, to trash accumulated in space, waste increasingly appears in literature, film, and visual arts not simply as a symbol of the abject but as a material force shaping contemporary life. This seminar, sponsored by the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment (ASLE), seeks to facilitate an interdisciplinary conversation about how writers and other artists represent pollution and waste as material concerns. Participants might address questions such as:

How have varied cultural and historical contexts shaped understandings of pollution and waste as material concerns? How was pollution understood materially prior to the emergence of this terminology in the mid-nineteenth century, and prior to the twentieth-century environmental movement? How does the original notion of pollution as moral contamination continue to inform discourse on material waste?

How is the materiality of environmental pollution understood in relation to social justice? How have the social meanings and material impacts of waste been mapped onto marginalized populations? Who or what controls the production of knowledge—and of uncertainty—regarding pollution and waste?

To what extent are pollution and waste depicted as “vital” actants (Jane Bennett 2010) or “violent” social forces (Rob Nixon 2011)? How are they perceived on the micro-scale of the particle, via the everyday experience of the body, or through a macro-view of the planet? How are human bodies, nonhuman nature, and waste understood as interrelational agents?

What kinds of affective or aesthetic responses do pollution and waste invite, facilitate, or foreclose? How do writers and other artists engage audiences aesthetically, affectively, and critically in their representations of pollution and waste?

This session will be a seminar with pre-circulated papers, short presentations, and discussion if we have 5-10 participants, or a traditional panel if we have 3-4 participants. Please submit 300-500 word abstracts on the NeMLA website by 9/30/14 (although the panel is listed under American literature, I welcome papers discussing any literary or artistic tradition): https://nemla.org/convention/2015/cfp.html#cfp15511

Contact Jill Gatlin (jill.gatlin at necmusic.edu) with any other inquiries.

cfp categories: 
african-american
american
cultural_studies_and_historical_approaches
ecocriticism_and_environmental_studies
eighteenth_century
interdisciplinary
romantic
twentieth_century_and_beyond
victorian