The Strange Place of Ecocriticism: The Material as Cultural Artifact?

deadline for submissions: 
July 1, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
Dewey W. Hall/California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
contact email: 

Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association  

PAMLA 116th Annual Conference November 11-13, 2016


Panel Chair:              Dewey W. Hall, Professor of English


Affiliation:                California State Polytechnic University, Pomona




Session Title:           “The Strange Place of Ecocriticism: The Material as

                                    Cultural Artifact?”


Site:                            PAMLA 2016 at the Westin Hotel, Pasadena, CA.


Submit Proposal to


Deadline:                   July 1, 2016



The strange place of ecocritical discourse concerns the question of the materiality of nature as cultural artifact, or not. Paper topics for the panel may include writers as case studies to address the topic such as: Charlotte Smith, Wordsworth, Keats, Clare, Thoreau, Emerson, Dickinson, Heaney, Lowell, Bishop, Berry among others.


Panel Proposal:      

Lawrence Buell’s The Future of Environmental Criticism (2005) states, “The emergence of contemporary environmental criticism is in part the story of an evolution from imaging life-in-place as deference to the claims of (natural) environment toward an understanding of place-making as a culturally inflected process in which nature and culture must be seen as a mutuality rather than as separable domains” (67, emphasis mine). Accordingly, Buell identifies two place-holders within the polemic of what he calls “environmental criticism”: “life-in-place” referring to the actual, natural, physical, and material aspects in the environment; and “place-making” indicating the cultural, socially-constructed, and often political aspects involved in what Andrew J. Hubbell has called “cultural ecology.” On one hand, a redwood stands tall and majestic as a host for fern in a biome, as John Muir observed. On the other hand, that same redwood is part of Muir Woods National Monument authorized to preserve the redwoods.


The panel session invites paper proposals that take up discussion about the strange place of ecocritical discourse concerning the question of the materiality of nature as cultural artifact, or not, often represented through the production of articles, monographs, and editions. Papers may be interdisciplinary, transhistorical, transatlantic, or, more broadly, transnational.