Realism and its Antinomies: Climate Change Edition (ACLA 2021)

deadline for submissions: 
October 31, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Rebecca Oh, University of Illinois
contact email: 

The representational challenges of climate change, unending environmental disaster, and the Anthropocene have spurred lively debates about realism, its uses or limits, and its antinomies. This seminar seeks to create an opportunity for a comparative aesthetics of realism, and to think deeply about realism and its antinomies in relation to climate change.

In what ways is realism being made adequate to the temporal, spatial, scalar, embodied, affective, and material effects of climate change? What new kinds of realism, or what expanded capacities of realism, are emerging to meet these challenges? Are the antinomies of realism now best thought of as themselves versions of realism when the ‘real’ that must be represented is morphing in unprecedented ways? What perspectives are foregrounded, or lost, as realism adapts to the local, global, and transnational scales of climate change and environmental catastrophe? Conversely, is this a moment when realism relinquishes its historical ascendance for other genres like speculative fiction, or non-realist modes like apocalypse and gothic? What relationships between realist and non-realist forms emerge, fade, or become differently relevant in such claims? While negative critique will have its place, we especially invite abstracts about, and discussion of, the productive, generative, or capacious aspects of realism and its antinomies. Submit 250-word abstracts through the ACLA online platform by October 31.

The ACLA annual meeting will take place virtually between April 8-11, 2021.

Apply through the ACLA portal: