NEMLA 2022 session: Hunger & Thirst: Narrating Environmental Crisis through Food and Water

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Brooke Stanley and Délice Williams
contact email: 

Submissions are invited for "Hunger & Thirst: Narrating Environmental Crisis through Food and Water," a panel session at the 2022 NEMLA conference. NEMLA will meet in Baltimore, MD on March 10-13, 2022. 


Session Description:

The “Anthropocene” framework asks us to “scale up,” imagining environmental problems in planetary terms. But what might emerge if we instead focused on crisis as an embodied experience situated in the context of larger systems of resource  management and circulation? This session invites presenters to consider this overlap between embodiment and environmental crisis. How do literary and cultural texts mobilize “hunger” and “thirst” as symptoms of environmental crisis? What relations between individual, community, and planet might hunger or thirst bring to our attention? How do representations of need and scarcity, or of appetite and even gluttony, enable us to think environmental crisis differently? And how might a focus on hunger and thirst enrich or enliven understandings of interconnections between human, nonhuman, and planetary bodies in crisis? These are some of the questions we hope to discuss.

We welcome papers from a range of critical perspectives. We are particularly interested in papers that address environmental justice and/or highlight the work of BIPOC or Global South authors, artists, or activists. Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Natural and unnatural disaster

  • Hungry human and non-human bodies

  • The biopolitics of thirst and hunger

  • Water systems, water management, water justice

  • Sea-level rise, flooding, and/or amplified storms

  • Food systems, food justice, food sovereignty

  • Connections between resource access and sovereignty, decolonization, and/or racial justice

  • “Modern water” and scarcity

  • Food and water famine

  • Drought and climate change

  • Embodied abjection 

  • Narrating toxic water systems: “produced water,” water contaminated by oil drilling and other industrial processes, crises in water supply

  • Hunger/thirst as narrative modes; conceptualizing hard-to-picture systems


Submission Requirements

Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words via NEMLA's portal at 

Abstracts will be accepted from June 15 until NEMLA's deadline on September 30, 2021.

We will confirm whether you are accepted to the panel by October 15. 

Inquiries with any questions are welcome! Write to the panel chairs Délice Williams ( and Brooke Stanley (