MMLA 2022 Science and Fiction: Posthumanism and the Post-Apocalyptic

deadline for submissions: 
April 15, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Andy Harper / Midwest Modern Language Association
contact email: 

Science and Literature: Posthumanism and the Post-Apocalyptic

The recognition of anthropogenic climate change and the form and figure of apocalypse have intertwined in the U.S. consciousness for at least as far back as George Perkins Marsh’s 1864 contention in Man and Nature that “earth is fast becoming an unfit home for its noblest inhabitant.” For at least so far back, writers and philosophers have contributed to the cultural imagination of humanity’s future: adaptation or extinction. This panel invites contributions which look beyond the “now” of what Marsh calls “climatic excess” to the bodies, minds, and forms of being that emerge in literature that registers environmental collapse or transformation. What human (or posthuman) subjectivities (or intersubjectivities) populate our imaginary future? What other ends are we able to imagine by imagining the end of the world—or simply of human life on it? Such discussions may take up, for instance,

  • The alien body in science fiction
  • Biocultural or bioregional perspectives
  • The climate crisis in literature and film
  • Ecocriticism and/or eco-feminism
  • Geographical collaborations
  • Metamorphoses (cockroach and otherwise)
  • Post-apocalyptic narratives
  • Radiation and radioactivity in popular culture
  • Techno-utopian solutions
  • Zombies

Papers on a variety of literary traditions and literary theory are invited. Please submit an abstract or proposal not exceeding 300 words to andy.harper@slu.edu by 15 April 2022. The Midwest MLA 2022 convention will be held 16-21 November in Minneapolis, Minnesota.