NeMLA - You Dissolve Me in a Storm: The Ecotheology of Climate Change

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Matthew Mersky/ Boston College
contact email: 

In Horkheimer and Adorno’s dialectic of Enlightenment, the spiritual and mimetic relation towards nature in early myth society increasingly gives way to nature’s disenchantment: the process by which a holistic and qualitative nature is systematically reduced and fragmented into the purely “rational” material of natural science and, ultimately, industrial, carbon-based society. But as Horkheimer as Adorno make clear, enlightenment, what promised liberate us from the irrational, becomes an even more irrational force than the nature it supposedly subdued, giving rise to catastrophes—genocide, nuclear fallout, global warming—that dwarf the violence nature originally wrought.

Using this paradigm as a catalyst, our panel seeks papers that ask how the rise of climate change as well as other contemporary threshold environmental crises refute enlightenment promises of social or technological progress and instead signal a return of eco-theological attitudes we were supposed to have overcome. While our panel seeks papers of all kinds, we particularly encourage papers that explore how the religious, the spiritual, the non-rational, the theological, even the apocalyptic can be used as a paradigms to critique enlightenment narratives of progress, contemporary myths of purely technocratic and administration solutions to climate change. In what ways do current religious practices respond to the issue of global warming? How can we think speculatively and imagine how in the decades to come a dramatically shifting ecological situation might give rise to new forms of religious identification? We encourage papers that seek to explore this topic in works of literature, poetry, film or other media.