Environmental Justice: Social Movements, History, Literature and Other Arts (ASLE-sponsored session)
48th Annual Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA); Baltimore, Maryland
March 23-26, 2017
Environmental Justice: Social Movements, History, Literature and Other Arts
Sponsored by the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment
What defines environmental justice (EJ) arts? Sponsored by the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment, this seminar will address literary and other artistic engagements with EJ, paying particular attention to term’s historical specificity and ways of theorizing intersections between social movements and the arts. Since Benjamin Chavis coined the term “environmental justice” in 1982, how has the movement expanded, evolved, and intersected with other social movements, and how have the arts tracked, reflected, participated in, or facilitated these actions and agendas?
Participants might consider arts of not only the late-twentieth and twenty-first centuries, but also earlier periods, querying the potential and limitations of applying a contemporary term to examples that would today fall under the purview of EJ (e.g., depictions of unequal exposure to pollution or access to green spaces). What alternative genealogies or frameworks might historicize such texts, to avoid anachronism? How is it important to theorize EJ as a historically specific grassroots movement, a set of environmental issues, an activist orientation, or a conceptual approach to environmentalism or social justice?
This interdisciplinary panel invites discussion of thematic, generic, formal, and material characteristics of EJ arts, theoretical approaches to EJ (e.g., social movement theory, new materialism, queer theory, critical race theory), and EJ’s activist intersections (e.g., Black Lives Matter, Trans Justice, or—in conversation with the conference theme—linguistic justice).
Format: seminar with pre-circulated materials, short presentations, and discussion (5-10 participants) or traditional panel (3-4 participants).
Please submit 300-500 word abstracts on the NeMLA website by 9/30/16: https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/16428
Contact Jill Gatlin (jill.gatlin at necmusic.edu) with any questions.