Literary Islands: Isolation and Connection

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association Annual Conference
contact email: 

How have authors represented island worlds from the Antarctic to Manhattan, from the islands of the climate justice threatened mid-Atlantic coast to those of the Pacific rim, from romanticized islands off the coast of Maine, Scotland, or Alaska to the enormous islands of Australia, the United Kingdom, and Japan? Ecocriticism and landscape theory have not focused on the intersection of water and land, especially when water surrounds land. Literary representations of islands offer a novel and fruitful focus for ecological investigation.  Papers that treat literal or metaphoric islands in literature theoretically, as well as studies of specific island representations, are invited for this panel focusing particularly on the relationship of isolation and connection in literary ecologies. Works from any period or genre are welcomed.


An expanded version of the panel's goals follows:  Islands, whether large or small, real or metaphorical, dramatically reveal the relationship between isolation and connection and in so doing illuminate key ecocritical concepts. The essential question the panel seeks to address is: How can ecocritical approaches best be applied to islandscapes? Secondarily, it aims to investigate how the boundedness yet relationally dependent isolation and connection of islands helps readers explore deeper human and ecological themes. This panel seeks papers focusing on the literature of islands of all shapes, sizes, and climates, though Anglophone literature is preferred. The goal is to explore the variety of ways that authors approach the literary landscapes of real or metaphorically isolated and connected island worlds, specifically focusing on the ecological relationships of isolation and connection as they apply geographically, ecologically, politically, and culturally. 


The Northeast Modern Language Association Annual Convention will be held in Baltimore, Maryland, March 23-26, 2017.  To submit a proposal, please create an account and log in at