The Ecology of Utopia: Ecological Concerns and Utopianism in American Culture

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CLEU (Cultures and Literatures of the United States) research group, Department of English Philology, Universidade da Coruna, Spain
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Organized by the CLEU research group of the University of La Coruna in northwestern Spain, this international conference, scheduled for September 23-25, 2010, aims to provide a forum for the exploration of the relationships between the ecological and the utopian in American letters and American culture at large. Combining politics and poetics, the conference intends to look at the convergence of both terms in different cultural and literary manifestations so as to bring out and debate the utopian element within the ecological and/or the ecocritical, as well as the presence of the ecological within contemporary utopian proposals, real or fictional. How does utopian discourse manifest itself within ecology-oriented writings? Is it a necessary or disruptive presence? As a literary genre, does it encounter difficulties in its formalization of an ecological perspective? Must ecologically-concerned texts, cultural and scientific assertions employ the modes and strategies of utopian discourse? Is the textual arena of the literary a privileged site for this encounter or are other textual and cultural forms more suitable to the articulation of the inherent political concerns of utopian and ecological projects?

Keynote speakers:
Scott Slovic, University of Nevada
Lucy Sargisson, University of Nottingham
José Eduardo Pacheco Barreiros Reis, Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro

Papers (20 minute presentation) should address but are not limited to the following topics:
- Utopian manifestations in American culture.
- Interrelationships between utopia and ecology, theoretical and practical.
- Utopian discourses, ecological/ecocritical textualities.
- The poetics and politics of the utopian/ecological text.
- Genre fiction and ecological utopianism.
- Eco-poetics: literary modes and ecology.
- Utopian communities and ecological concerns.
- Literary utopianism: history and form.
- Ecocritical theory and utopian politics.
- Dystopian manifestations in American culture.
- Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic cultural forms.

Abstracts (250 words) should be sent by May 1, 2010, and the full paper by July 25, 2010. Conference information will be available via the appropriate link on the CLEU web-page: