Breaking New Ground: Pluralistic Approaches to Global Ecocriticism

deadline for submissions: 
December 1, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, University of Maryland-College Park

Call for Papers- Breaking New Ground: Pluralistic Approaches to Global Ecocriticism

Friday, March 3, 2017 – Saturday, March 4, 2017

School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures Graduate Colloquium

University of Maryland-College Park


Keynote speaker: Dr. Stephanie Posthumus, McGill University

Abstract proposals due: December 1


 “For technological breakthroughs, legislative reforms, and paper covenants about environmental welfare to take effect, or even to be generated in the first place, requires a climate of transformed environmental values, perception, and will. To that end, the power of story, image, and artistic performance and the resources of aesthetics, ethics and cultural theory are crucial.”

-Lawrence Buell, The Future of Environmental Criticism (2005)

It is this transformation of values, perception, and will that is the ultimate goal of “Breaking New Ground”: to engage the interdisciplinary scholar through an examination of these representations. 

Our interdisciplinary scope of engagement with the field of ecocriticism draws from multiple languages and cultures. Within the ecocritical foreign language tradition, every contributing voice represents a unique and different history, a separate cultural truth and identity. Contemporary scholars use ecocritical models and frameworks such as posthumanism, ecophilosophical positionality, the scientific sanctioning of literary value, and poststructuralism to better understand the impact of forces such as colonialism and global capitalism on both culture and biodiversity. 

The graduate students of the School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures invite traditional paper and/or multimedia proposals that explore, destabilize, or reify fixed notions and categorizations of nature, place, subject, nation, and narrative. Readings and interpretations may be from any type of cultural production/object (literature, writings, storytelling, poetry, film, music, and performance as well as other media) within the foreign language tradition. Contributions from graduate student scholars of all academic disciplines will be considered.

Although we are most interested in scholarly work done outside of the Anglo-American tradition, the interdisciplinary, ecocritical approach provokes a discussion of geographical, cultural, and temporal perspectives, as well as an intersectionality with fields such as feminism, queer studies, and postcolonial studies.

Possible topics include but are not limited to:

Animal studies

Environmentalism within Digital Humanities

Decadence and the metropolis

Urban development

Physicality and the body


Miasma theory

Detritus and trash

Cyborg theory


The greening of spaces, individuals, nations

Language and ecology

Pedagogical approaches in the digital age

Teaching environmental concerns and the foreign language classroom

Cross-pollution of environment and language

Public Policy and influence of critical theory

Cultural identity

Surveillance and environment


Abstract proposals and presentations should be in English. Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted to by December 1, 2016. Abstracts should include name, institutional affiliation, a brief bio, three keywords, any A/V requirements, and a word count.