Fungal Spaces, Resilience, Plurality
Fungi occupy a liminal position as neither animal nor vegetal but are intimately connected to both biologically: as Eugenia Bone notes, paying attention to the fungal teaches us that “everything that lives is plural.” Fungal lives are multiple and collective, and what Anna Tsing calls the “unruly edges” of fungal individuality betrays the fact that they are “always too many.” This bifurcated perspective modeled by fungal relational entanglements suggests “unsettling and symbiotic relationships” where an objectified environment subsumed by a masterful Anthropos is abandoned for the sake of intra-active becomings (as Karen Barad suggests). Instead it suggest relational fruiting bodies, and more importantly it shows the possibility of a resilient relationality that refuses to disappear. For example, Jeff VanderMeer’s 2010 novel Finch features the bleached, bloated, fleshy, fruiting, composting, smelly merging of bodies in a city that transforms spatio -temporal dimensions through its fungal amalgamations. Concomitantly, Rivers Solomon’s 2019 Sorrowland exposes a queer, non-binary/human-fungal montage that is as hopeful as it is monstrous. Indeed, a growing body of contemporary fiction engages with the fungal to think about porous and permeable limits of bodies, of our relationship with space and time in a way that shows alternative ways of perceiving, living and resisting power. In this sense, as radically ecological entities, fungi embody the fundamental reality of ecological interconnectedness, collaboration, and interspecies entanglement. Serpil Oppermann’s notion of “compost poiesis” reconciles a “continuous decomposition and recomposition” that “veers us away from anthropocentricity by transforming sites of decay into vibrant sites of fecund imagination” (136-137). This panel proposes to think of fungal spaces and bodies as sites of plurality and resilience in literature, film, and media. Beyond taking the fungi as a working metaphor to imagine plurality, can we also attend these fungal worlds in their working, in their refusal to disappear and thrive under dire circumstances, in their potential to undo our taken for granted anthropocentric ontologies and epistemologies?
We invite papers on topics including, but not limited to, the following:
● Fungal spatiality, environments
● Concepts of fungal contamination, resistance, and resilience
● Queer spatiality, queer and weird becoming in speculative literature and media
● Excesses of space and body/porosity/merging/co-constitution/ contamination/concorporation.
● Fungal approaches to the Anthropocene, Capitalocene, etc.
● Fungal representation in visual media and literature.
● Ecocritical resistances and resilience in literature and media through the fungi
Please submit your brief proposals (300-400 words) by September 30, 2022 with a short bio to NeMLA submission portal here: https://cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/20079
NeMLA will take place in Niagara Falls this year , March 23- 26, 2023