CFP: [18th] "Before Environmentalism" Conference at UCSB

full name / name of organization: 
Catherine Zusky
contact email: 

The Early Modern Center of the University of California at Santa Barbara
invites paper proposals for our 2009 Winter Conference, "Before
Environmentalism." The conference will take place on Friday, March 6,
2009 at UCSB.

In recent years, scholars have looked to the Renaissance and eighteenth
century in order to better understand both the origins of our
contemporary environmental crisis, as well as the emergence of modern
environmental thinking. Works such as Robert Watson's <i>Back to Nature:
The Green and the Real in the Late Renaissance</i> and Gabriel Egan's
<i>Green Shakespeare: From Ecopolitics to Ecocriticism</i>, have brought
early modern literary studies into current ecocritical debate. As these
and other works make clear, environmental issues such as air pollution,
toxic waste, increased urbanization, deforestation, wetland loss, and
radical changes in land use were surprisingly timely in Renaissance
England, routinely making their appearance in the literature of the day.
Indeed, by the time Milton was writing Paradise Lost it was already known
that respiratory illness from urban air pollution was second only to the
Plague as the leading cause of death in London. The EMC's one-day
interdisciplinary conference will provide a forum to explore early modern
literary and cultural responses to the environmental issues that
preceded, and indeed gave shape to, modern environmentalism.

The conference will consist of panel discussions, as well as a keynote
talk by <b>Professor Carolyn Merchant</b> of UC Berkeley.

We invite proposals for papers that will add to our understanding of the
historical, cultural and political dialogues about the environment and
the natural world that came "Before Environmentalism." We hope to
include papers from a range of critical and disciplinary contexts, and we
plan to incorporate investigations of literature and culture from the
years 1500 to 1800. Possible paper topics may include, but are not
limited to, the following: pastoral, urban pastoral, country house poems,
natural description, landscape, maps and map making, enclosure laws,
herbals, botany, prodigies and natural disasters, technology as mediator
between humans and their environment, almanacs and the nature world,
farming practices, and emerging science.

Please send abstracts, 300-500 words in length, to by December 9, 2008. Please direct any questions
to this EMC Conference website, or contact Cat Zusky at or Pax Hehmeyer at You can
also learn more about the EMC at UCSB at our website:

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Received on Fri Oct 10 2008 - 12:54:54 EDT