Special Session: Teaching for the Post-Anthropocene

deadline for submissions: 
June 27, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Pacific Ancient Modern Language Association
contact email: 

Special Session: Teaching for the Post-Anthropocene – PAMLA 2018                                             [ron2154@gmail.com]

Ron Milland, Presiding Officer / PAMLA: Pacific Ancient Modern Language Association

This panel seeks papers from scholars working across the disciplines interested in employing interdisciplinary or otherwise innovative methodologies aimed at facilitating teaching and learning about the Anthropocene at all levels.

While the Anthropocene, or the “Age of Man”, may still strike some as new terminology, others are already anticipating the end of this recently-designated moment. Donna Haraway hopes it will be more a short-term interval rather than an enduring epoch, and many of the systems, practices and ideologies which produce the Anthropocene are themselves so tenuous and unsustainable that this may, indeed, prove the shortest – if most toxic – period in the geologic record of the planet. If humans alive today will live long enough to see this period’s end, then ‘Teaching for the Post-Anthropocene’ must begin now.

The question then becomes: how can we do this? How does one “teach” the Anthropocene? How might we use the lenses of Rob Nixon’s “slow violence” or Christian Parenti’s “catastrophic convergence” to add a critical dimension to current teaching? Can we envision ways to work around administrative and standardizing obstacles – and even transcend that physical and ideological place we call classroom? This is essential, for, as Paulo Freire asserts, “critical consciousness is brought about not through an intellectual effort alone, but through praxis – through the authentic union of action and reflection.”

Presentations are welcome from educators, students, activists, and visionaries from all disciplines – as well as independent scholars from beyond academia. By exploring the methodological intersection of critical pedagogy, the consumption economy, and post-industrial society, this panel seeks to uncover how we might manifest the Anthropocene into teachable moments. Perhaps by comprehensively considering the Anthropocene in these ways, we may discover integrated approaches to teaching and learning that begin to counteract compartmentalized thinking and better equip our students with the critical perspectives they will need in the post-Anthropocene world.

Related topics this panel might consider in a pedagogical context include, but are certainly not limited to:


  • Rewilding the world
  • Cultural (r)evolution
  • Technocracy
  • Commodification
  • Advertising and marketing / mass media
  • Electoral politics and the corporate empire
  • Nature of the modern workplace
  • Urbanization / Industrialization / Mass production
  • Suburban expansion / population growth
  • National and natural borders
  • Population upheavals / refugees / mass migrations
  • Materialism / Resource depletion / resource wars
  • Anthropogenic extinction
  • Well-being: physical, spiritual, etc
  • Sustainability vs. consumption culture
  • Personal wealth versus the greater good
  • Animal ethics / veganism / sustainable eating
  • Post-humanism / human exceptionalism
  • Human nature / human condition
  • Farming for the future / land stewardship
  • Postcolonial ecocriticism
  • Endangered species / cultures
  • Coexistentialism
  • Composing / Composting / Ecopoetics
  • Animal / human exploitation
  • Looking away vs. ‘staying with the trouble’
  • Grassroots movements / protest theory
  • Student-centered learning
  • Citizen students / Nature as teacher
  • Democracy versus capitalism
  • Garbage economy versus pollution prevention
  • Innovation versus Conservation in the late Holocene
  • Globalization versus localization
  • Modern security state / incarceration / culture of fear
  • Military industrial complex
  • Oligarchy versus democratic governance
  • Geopolitics
  • Socioeconomic inequality / disenfranchised peoples
  • Ethics of consumption / carbon footprint / greenwashing
  • Sharing economy / Recycling / Upcycling
  • Environmental history
  • Ecocritical curriculum / Environmental humanities
  • Archiving at the Margins
  • Interdisciplinary teaching and learning
  • American exceptionalism
  • Teaching beyond the test



Individual paper presentations will be between 15 and 20 minutes long. Please submit proposals via the online system at http://pamla.org/2017/topic-areas by June 27, 2018. The conference will be held in Bellingham, Washington on November 9-11, 2018. Any questions can be sent to the above email address.