States of Emergency: Covid, Climate, Crisis (SAMLA 2021)
For the past year, the world has been in the grasp of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as climate change continues to bear destructive fruit in the form of environmental degradation and extreme weather events. In fact, deforestation and human encroachment is widely held to be a major contributing factor to the initial emergence of COVID-19 in humans. Adding to these crises, social unrest continues to erupt across the globe, from protests against the murder of African Americans by police and the storming of the capitol building by election deniers in the United States to a military coup in Myanmar and mass farmer strikes in India. As tension continues to build, the lines between these events begin to blur and a single state of catastrophe emerges. Andreas Malm elaborates on this point in writing, “it should now be evident enough that corona and climate do not form separate, parallel lines. Corona can be an effect of climate; not the other way around. More importantly, the two are interlaced aspects, on different scales of time and space, of what is now one chronic emergency.” As always in times of world turmoil, we must ask how we got here, what can we learn from our present, and where may we be going? This panel seeks proposals that consider the intersection between literature and these overlapping, chronic emergencies. Does literature have a role to play in representing, interpreting, and/or changing these crises? What can we glean from works that attempt to address any or all of these unending problems? How does literature perpetuate or provide a balm for climate nihilism? Presentations may address these and other questions and may focus on any genre and period. Preference will be given to proposals that attempt to maintain the link between literature and environment. By June 1st, 2021, please submit an abstract of 300-500 words, a brief bio, and any A/V requirements to Matthew Spencer at email@example.com.