deadline extended: Environmental Justice: Flashpoints, Forms, Futures

deadline for submissions: 
May 3, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
UCLA Environmental Humanities Research Group
contact email: 

UCLA Environmental Humanities Graduate Student Conference

University of California, Los Angeles

July 8-9, 2021 (virtual)

Sponsors: UCLA Environmental Humanities Research Group (EHRG), Laboratory for Environmental Narrative Strategies (LENS), and English Department

Keynote speaker: Julie Sze, Professor (American Studies), UC Davis


The UCLA Environmental Humanities Research Group (EHRG)—with support from the Laboratory for Environmental Narrative Strategies (LENS) and the UCLA Department of English—invites submissions from graduate students across disciplines to present their work at our first environmental humanities graduate student conference, to be held virtually on July 8th and 9th.

“What crossroads and moment are we in now? What can we learn from struggles for environmental justice in our moment of danger?” In Environmental Justice in a Moment of Danger (2020), Julie Sze examines how environmental justice thinking today can “help us understand historical and cultural forces and resistance to violence, death, and destruction of lives and bodies through movements, cultures and stories.” Similarly, David N. Pellow and Robert Brulle have theorized Critical Environmental Justice as an approach that expands previous waves of EJ scholarship with new forms of interdisciplinarity and critical inquiry. Environmental violence is, as Sze puts it, “not an aberration, but part and parcel of an economic system based on racialized extraction of land and labor.” Not an aberration, side effect, or ‘tragedy,’ but a structure of power that gives rise to specific moments of environmental injustice. How do writers, artists, and activists map such structures and imagine alternative forms of resistance, praxis, and worldmaking?

Inspired by Sze, Pellow, and other scholars like Robert Bullard, Sylvia Wynter, Nick Estes, Laura Pulido, Zoe Todd, and Kyle Powy Whyte who identify the roots of environmental crisis in long histories of race, colonialism, and imperialism, this conference aims to explore the place and role of environmental justice today. What are the stories, theories, and aesthetics of environmental justice? How must key concepts in the environmental humanities—such as conservation, sustainability, place, scale, network, planetarity, and so on—be rethought and reframed in light of past and ongoing formations of race, empire, colonialism, capitalism, and violence? How do writers, artists, organizers, and scholars help construct decolonial, abolitionist, anticapitalist, and multispecies knowledge and action?

We invite papers from a broad range of fields and disciplines, including Indigenous, Black, Latinx, Asian, settler colonial, postcolonial, critical race, ethnic, gender and sexuality, feminist, queer, and disability studies. We welcome a broad range of topics that intersect with environmental justice—such as food, energy, extinction, technology, infrastructure, biodiversity, land, conservation, pollution, etc.—across diverse historical and geographical periods.


Please send an abstract (300 words) and short bio (100 words) to by May 3rd, 2021.