Posthumanism and Environmental Poetics in American Literature
Issue #34 (2023) of RSA Journal: Rivista di Studi Americani, the official journal of the Italian Association for North American Studies (Associazione Italiana di Studi Nord-Americani – AISNA) will feature a special section, edited by Cristina Iuli (Università del Piemonte Orientale) and Pilar Martinez (University of L’Aquila), on Posthumanism andEnvironmental Poetics in American Literature. Scholars from different areas of American literature, culture, and the arts are invited to submit their proposals.
In August 2022, heavy rainfalls caused unprecedented flash floods in Death Valley. A sudden and destructive deluge in the driest spot in North America stirs the imagination with apocalyptic visions in a particular way, yet of course this was not an isolated or unique event. Extreme climate phenomena (floods, droughts, heatwaves) are on the rise worldwide to the point that even climate change deniers can’t deny that something is going awry. The global climate crisis is perhaps the most pressing issue that is bringing increasing attention (of governments, activists, and intellectuals) to the environment and the relations of the human with the organic and inorganic nonhuman world in the Anthropocene. On the other hand, the recent academic preoccupation for the ways in which subjectivity, its manifestations – agency, creativity, intentionality, etc. – and its terms of engagement with language have been called into question by what can be synthetically called philosophical posthumanism, has inaugurated a productive season of critical engagement with the question of the relation between art and literature and the environment. Beside igniting a steady process of revision of the epistemic premises on which human claims about the environment are made, this critical engagement has also expanded the academic conversation about the impact of environmental concerns on literary aesthetics and, vice versa, about the influence of art and literature on conventional perceptions and definitions of the environment. As a result, a growing body of literary, artistic, and philosophical works, often characterized by a marked interdisciplinary orientation, has brough into the horizon of academic criticism what Rosi Braidotti has called “an enlarged sense of interconnection between self and others, including the non-human or ‘earth’ others” (Rosi Braidotti).
It is on the terrain of this interconnection and of the deep revision it entails of our ways of thinking the role of the literary work in relation to, on the one hand, the philosophical and theoretical, and, on the other, the ecological, that we call for papers addressing American literature and art’s creative interventions on how we understand the world around us, our place in it, and the place of the literary in it.
All disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches are welcome, and topics may include, but are not limited to:
- Humanism, Anti-humanism, and Post-Humanism in ecocritical approaches to American Literature;
- Ecological Poetics and American Literature;
- Environmentalism and narrativity in American Literature;
- Aesthetic productions, ecological thinking and ecological problem solving;
- Audiovisual representations, performances, and installations and digital works enhancing what Katherine Hayles calls “the coupling of human biology to digital machinery” in American literary and arts studies;
- Indigenous, intersectional, and transnational ecopoetics;
- Animal studies, plant studies, vital materialism, and the de-centering of human subjectivity;
- Affective and bodily relations with the nonhuman environment.
Please send a 200-word abstract and a short bio to Cristina Iuli (email@example.com) and to Pilar Martinez Benedi (firstname.lastname@example.org)Timeline:Deadline for abstract submissions: January 15Notification of acceptance: January 30Deadline for full-length articles (40.000 characters, including spaces, notes, and works cited): April 30, 2023.