Landscape, Narrative, and Deep Time
June 2-3, Saint Louis University--Madrid campus
In Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet, the editors Anna Tsing, Elaine Gan, Heather Swanson and Nils Budandt, open by invoking the image of “Haunted Landscapes of the Anthropocene,” or “the vestiges and signs of past ways of life still charged in the present” (1). Simply put, the actions of animate beings leave traces on the material world, stories, that linger after an individual consciousness moves on. Those stories—material, political, semiotic—unite us to the landscape, keep the past present, provide us with poetic inspiration, warn us from travelling the same paths of our antecedents. They also describe and define the human relationship to the material world as one that is inherently steeped in narrative.
We invite creative, academic, and hybrid responses to questions of how stories come to matter, and how matter comes to story. This conference aims to explore the intersection of story, material, and human consciousness by engaging with intellectual, creative, and hybrid projects that experiment with form and risk exceeding the limits of traditional academic discourse. We welcome academic papers, narrative scholarship, photographic essays, sound installations, or any other intervention that we can feasibly adapt to the conference format. The hope is to bring together as many approaches as possible to spark conversations and create unexpected intersections of genre and thought, in an approach to questions such as:
- What is the relationship between story, the material world, and consciousness?
- How do we commune with those “haunted landscapes” through text and ideas, and what do these narrative forays into consciousness do across wide swathes of time?
- Do the stories we tell have material environmental impacts?
- What is the relationship between creative and academic work?
- Can we read narrative written in the inanimate world as well as the animate?
- If so, what impact does this have on the study of literature, the teaching of writing, and our understanding of the origins of narrative?
Potential topics include but are not limited to:
- Narrative Scholarship
- Object-oriented ontology
- Politically haunted landscapes
- Poetics and Nature
- Travel Narrative
- Nature Writing
- Deep time
- History of Science
- Nature in Science Fiction
- Material Ecocriticism
Please send proposals of no more than 500 words in which you explain your project—specifying the form that your presentation will take (20 minutes max) in the case that it is not a traditional paper—along with a brief bio to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org before March 31st, 2022.
Tsing, Anna, et al., editors. Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2017.