CFP: [Renaissance] NEMLA Conference 2009

full name / name of organization: 
Jennifer Forsyth
contact email: 

"Pining for Nature: Representations of Nature in Early Modern Texts"

Often at the center of new movements in theory and criticism, early modern
texts have the capacity to re-energize eco-critical approaches to
literature. The reverse is likewise true: the conceptual tools fashioned
by eco-criticism have the potential to stimulate freshly provocative
readings of early modern literature. This two-fold premise is the catalyst
of our panel, which is soliciting papers that focus on representations of
nature in early modern texts. In broad terms, we are interested in the
ethics and politics of representing nature in the early modern period.
Seeking to extend the work of critics such as Anne McClintock, Sylvia
Bowerbank, and Robert N. Watson, we are particularly interested in papers
that address such questions as:

• How does attention to natural spaces in the Renaissance enact or resist
Foucault's idea of heterotopia?
• How do the practice and philosophy of alchemy and the ideal of
transmutation affect early modern ecological views?
• How does early modern didactic non-fiction such as manuals on hunting,
husbandry, or domestic advice, etc., affect how people imagined their
relationships to nature?
• Given the philosophical tension between art and nature, how do
artificial natures (either mechanical, in various art media, or landscaped)
comment upon, illustrate, or challenge popular contemporary beliefs about
"real" nature?
• To what extent are early modern views of nature gendered? What are
ongoing implications of the gendering (or the race-ing?) of Nature?
• What are some implications of ventiloquizing Nature?
• How do early modern writers handle the tension between natural (wild,
uncivilized) behavior and the idea that nature is privileged (incapable of
being unnatural, as only with civilization comes the possibility of sin)?
• How do early modern writers address an increased awareness of the
limitations of natural resources by including discourse about resource
management and its challenges such as harvesting minimally renewable
resources such as wood?
• How, if at all, is the pastoral form affected by the increased attention
to the burgeoning industrial environmental exploitation?
• What do Renaissance texts suggest about the ethics, or politics, of
speaking for nature? Are such rhetorical maneuvers liberating or
appropriativeâ€"and for whom?
• How are ecological discourses connected to other social, cultural, or
political movements?

Please submit abstracts or completed papers to Dr. Elizabeth Gruber at and Dr. Jennifer Forsyth at by
September 15, 2008.

NeMLA will be held in Boston Feb. 26-March 1, 2009.

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Received on Sun Jun 08 2008 - 16:40:06 EDT