Erasure and the Environment

deadline for submissions: 
June 30, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Loughborough University

Extended Call for Papers: Erasure and the Environment Conference
Loughborough University, 16-17th September 2021
Keynote Address: Prof. David Herd (University of Kent)

In our contemporary moment, erasure is everywhere. Material disappearances abound as rising seas swallow low-lying island nations, as drought extends far beyond traditional aridity zones, and as hurricanes and flash floods destroy towns with alarming regularity. Cultural losses follow as communities are forced to adapt or migrate, surrendering historic traditions and lifestyles to global warming in the name of survival. Loss, here, leads to loss, where precarity and statelessness open communities to hostility and depoliticization, as a confluence of migratory push factors render voices silent and bodies invisible. Elsewhere, we are told to live with “less” – less plastic, less meat, fewer journeys, no excess – even as capital and large corporations continue unbridled. Reduction and effacement are at the heart of the Anthropocene, both as acts and as narratives, and symbolise “change as loss” in varied and often problematic ways.

Considering the above, this conference invites 15-20 minute responses to erasure in the context of environmental change and welcomes papers from a range of disciplinary backgrounds. We ask speakers to read this theme widely, to consider the ways in which “loss” and “lessness” have been communicated to date, and the implications of this.

Possible themes may include, but are not restricted to:

o Green imperialism and/or sacrifice zones
o Spatial violence
o Borders, displacement, and states of exception
o Environments of hostility
o Negative value and capitalist world-ecology
o Aesthetics of austerity
o Reduction, recycling, and waste management in the cultural imagination
o Petroculture, extractivism, and energy transitions
o Queer ecologies
o Thresholds, temporalities, and ‘the event’ in the context of the Anthropocene

Submissions are welcome from scholars working throughout contemporary literature and the environmental humanities. It is our future aim to develop select work from this symposium into a special issue with a relevant peer-reviewed journal.

Please send queries and proposals to We are planning to run this event in person in September (with an online backup plan in case of further covid disruption). Prospective contributors should submit a 300 word abstract and a 100 word biographical note by Wednesday 30th June 2021.