The Literary Legacy of Rachel Carson (NeMLA 2018)

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Joshua Bartlett, University at Albany
contact email: 

The Literary Legacy of Rachel Carson

Description:

This panel seeks papers that consider the work of Rachel Carson from both literary and environmental perspectives -- that explore its growing critical possibilities and theoretical potentials -- and that address Carson's influence on contemporary artists and writers.

Abstract:

One of the founders of the modern environmental movement, best known as the author of Silent Spring, Rachel Carson spent over a third of her life in western Pennsylvania. Born in Springdale, eighteen miles northeast of Pittsburgh along the Alleghany River, the farm where she lived is now the Rachel Carson Homestead; and the Ninth Street Bridge, one of Pittsburgh’s famous “Three Sisters,” was renamed the Rachel Carson Bridge on April 22, 2006: Earth Day. It’s fitting, then, that this year’s conference location inspires us to remember one of its most important residents – and that its focus on themes of space and landscape calls us to explore her work anew, both for its continuing environmental significance and its literary merits, as well as its growing critical possibilities and theoretical potential.

This panel seeks papers that consider Carson’s work from both literary and environmental perspectives, as well as those that address her influence on contemporary artists and writers. Topics might include:

  • Depictions of particular natural spaces and landscapes – including Carson’s explorations of oceanic space
  • Literary influences, from Melville to Beatrix Potter, and their influence on her prose and/or philosophy
  • The relation of Carson’s work to Rob Nixon’s theory of “slow violence”
  • Carson’s impact on the genres of nature writing and science writing
  • Carson’s influence on recent ecocritical and environmental humanities scholarship, as well as ways that her work can inspire new directions in literary studies

Papers that focus on works other than Silent Spring, as well as those that explore Carson’s impact on other artistic mediums – such as theatre, music, and the visual arts – are particularly welcome. Proposals from graduate students, contingent and non-tenure track faculty, and independent scholars are especially encouraged. Proposals should be submitted at https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/17020 no later than September 30, 2017.