Queer(ing) Survival during the Sixth Extinction

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
contact email: 

Queer(ing) Survival during the Sixth Extinction

Chair: Bradley Harmon (Johns Hopkins University)

Call for Papers: 

In our era of climate change there is an uncomfortable contradiction that environmental politics and theory often smooths over: living today accelerates extinction later on. In more concrete terms, the ethics of procreation have seen renewed political and popular conversation, with politicians such Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez legitimizing once-taboo questions about not having children. Sustainability scholar Jem Bendell implores with the claim that climate change-driven societal collapse is either “likely, inevitable or already unfolding” and that we ought to realize that we are due for a major societal reorganization in the coming decades. By emphasizing “deep adaptation” – rather than common notions of delay, mitigation or prevention - he even implicitly suggests that we have moved into the ontological stage of the Anthropocene, rather than an ethical one. We are past the point of ethics, we must now (begin to) adjust to new ways of being. In other words, once unimaginable social orders are now imminent. On the other hand, to cite Kathryn Yusoff “The Anthropocene might seem to offer a dystopic future that laments the end of the world, but imperialism and ongoing (settler) colonialism have been ending worlds for as long as they have been in existence.”

This panel invites papers that interrogates notions of what is means to continue living in a state of environmental-existential precarity where the future is increasingly uncertain. How do questions of survival intersect with questions of race, class, gender, or ability? What distinguishes (queer) procreation from reproduction? Does the temporal restructuring in the Anthropocene inherently and inevitably queer humanity? Will human society be “queered” from current social orders into new, unfamiliar ones? What role does hope play? What does it mean to bide/buy our time? What now?


This session is interested in papers that interrogate the notions of living (on) in the era of extinction and climate change, how our current existential dilemma is queered by temporal, futural, reproductive and procreative reorganization, and how we can or cannot imagine alternative social orders and ways of being.


SUBMIT HEREhttps://www.cfplist.com/nemla/User/ViewProposals/0