A Symposium on Clouds

deadline for submissions: 
February 28, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
University College London English Department - Annual Conference

Call for Papers

A Symposium on Clouds

Friday 22 May 2020, 9.00-19.00

Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, University College London (UCL)

Dealine for abstracts: 5pm, Friday 28th of February 2020



Esther Leslie: Professor in Political Aesthetics and Co-Director of Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities

Joanna Walsh: Author and Critic whose recent books include Break.up (2018) and Worlds from the Word's End (2017)


“What then is the essential nature of cloudiness?”

– Ludwig Wittgenstein, Remarks on Colour


Clouds have excited thinkers for millennia, from Anaximenes’ 6th century BC “Theory of Air” to Peter Sloterdijk’s early-twenty-first century philosophy of Bubbles, Globes, and Foams (1998-2004).

We invite participants across the humanities to consider the interstitial nature of the cloud in culture, both as natural object and artificial media ecology.

How do the clean lonely clouds pootling through Wordsworth’s Romantic poetry relate to the “asbestos-y texture” of Tan Lin’s millennial urban skyscapes? Do the toxic textures of the Anthropocene influence contemporary ecocritical ideas like “solastalgia”? Might “cyberspace”, which, as Joanna Walsh puts it, “is an old-fashioned word for the Net, which has evaporated into the Cloud”, relate to Virginia Woolf’s view that in modernity even “the air seemed to become fibrous”?

Topics might include, but are not limited to:

· Information flow in the digital age, cloud technologies and media ecologies

· Clouds in the visual arts

· Cloud imagery in early modern and religious texts

· Ecocritical takes on clouds and weather

· Word Clouds: the utility or limitations of corpus stylistics

· Cloud as metaphor

· Unstructured feelings and/or affect

Abstracts of 250 words should be emailed to asymposiumonclouds@gmail.com by 5pm, Friday 28th of February 2020. Please include a brief biographical note.

To stay up to date with the details of the symposium, please visit asymposiumonclouds.wixsite.com/2020