(Un)natural Selection: Adapting to Changing Environments in Literature, Media, Film

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
NeMLA 2020
contact email: 


Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) Annual Convention 2020

(Un)natural Selection: Adapting to Changing Environments in Literature, Media, Film

Traditional reference to a film “adaptation” from a literary source allows for an understanding of a critical relationship between these different forms as different species; in 1926, Virginia Woolf famously suggested that the cinema functions parasitically to the literature it adapts. Yet the ever-evolving landscape of adaptation studies pushes us toward examining the changes in form necessary for survival and advancement in our modern environment. The 2002 film Adaptation. uses the epiphytic orchid, which grows on another plant without negative or parasitic effect, as a meta-level commentary on adapting to/in one’s environment—a profound process of figuring out “how to thrive in the world.”

This year’s NeMLA conference theme calls on us to explore the “many ways in which we interact with today’s rapidly changing global world.” This panel invites submissions that on some level investigate how literature, media, and/or film adapts according to environmental concerns and pressures, how film adaptations represent environmental issues, or how eco-cinema is evolving. This may include papers that inquire into the relationship between the constantly evolving field of adaptation studies and current concerns in eco-criticism, environmental impact, and the like.

How do certain texts weather the change into cinematic stories, specifically those focused on the environment? Are there certain “genes” that suggest the level of success in their being adapted to new forms and/or environments?

Papers concerned with, but not limited to, the following are encouraged:

-       environmental and/or eco-critical perspectives in or of adaptations or adaptation studies

-       adapting current real-world environmental concerns (ex. the representation of climate change) into fiction film

-       environmental or eco-documentaries

-       certain texts or films being inherently maladaptive

-       tracing a cinematic mutation from sci-fi to cli-fi, or the like

-       film adaptations of eco-fiction, such as Children of Men, Snowpiercer, Annihilation, etc.

-       hospitability or hostility of the Hollywood “environment” to representation of eco-concerns


Please submit paper proposals of 300 words through the NeMLA submission portal: https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/18122

NeMLA 2020 will be held in Boston, MA on March 5-8, 2020 (https://www.buffalo.edu/nemla/convention.html)

Deadline for submission is September 30, 2019

Please contact Christina Parker-Flynn at cparker@fsu.edu with any questions.