UPDATE: [18th] Extended Deadline for "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 Back to Nature: The Green and the
Real in the Late Renaissance and Gabriel Egan's Green Shakespeare: From
Ecopolitics to Ecocriticism, 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 Early Modern 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

The conference will consist of panel discussions, as well as keynote talks
by Carolyn Merchant (Professor of Environmental History, Philosophy, and
Ethics, UC Berkeley) and Jill Casid (Associate Professor of Art History
Director of the Visual Culture Studies Program, University of Wisconsin).

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
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 19, 2008. Please direct any questions to this EMC Conference
website, or contact Cat Zusky at zusky_at_umail.ucsb.edu or Pax Hehmeyer

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Received on Sat Dec 06 2008 - 10:52:34 EST