From cottagecore to solarpunk: the new faces of the pastoral

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Théo Maligeay / Université Paul Valéry Montpellier 3

Call for papers on the pastoral, cottagecore and solarpunk, regarding an upcoming 1-day symposium, organised by Etudes Montpelliéraines du Monde Anglophone (EMMA) in Montpellier, France (Université Paul Valéry). Date : November 17, 2023. 


Call for papers :


The stakes raised by the pastoral are brought to maximum intensity by our recent awareness of the consequences of human actions on a geological and therefore environmental scale (Lilley). We have noted the influence of these parameters in our own research unit. On a larger scale, our academic field has seen a multiplication of publications and talks on the subject. This is why we have decided to organize a symposium dedicated to a contemporary approach on the pastoral based on the specificity of our multi-disciplinary approaches.


In the opening paragraphs of his book The Machine in the Garden, Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America, Leo Marx describes the arrival of Europeans in America:

With an unspoiled hemisphere in view it seemed that mankind actually might realize what had been thought a poetic fantasy. Soon the dream of a retreat to an oasis of harmony and joy was removed from its traditional literary context. It was embodied in various Utopian schemes for making America the site of a new beginning for Western society. In both forms- one literary and the other in essence political - the ideal has figured in the American view of life which is, in the widest sense, the subject of this book. (3)


In the context of the resurgence of the pastoral in reaction to the geological upheavals of the Anthropocene (Lilley 29), we wished to deepen our understanding of the phenomena at play at the interface between the literary and the political in order to better understand how they ultimately put forward a single ideal ("In both forms ... the ideal").


Our symposium will therefore approach the pastoral and the pastoralist political project to shed light on how they interact, how they evolve conjointly, and how they become one.



We are interested in cottagecore and solarpunk as they can illustrate the contemporaneity of the pastoral and its multiple incarnations across different media. Although these two contemporary examples manifest the strong interactions between the poetic and the political that are at the centre of our reflections on the pastoral, our investigation will not be limited to the perimeter they delimit: other contemporary forms and discourses on the pastoral can also be addressed (such as poetry, eco-villages etc.).





Participants are invited to submit a 300-word abstract and a 150-word biographical note to by September 30, 2023.



Alpers, Paul. What Is Pastoral?. University of Chicago Press, 1997.


Berger, Bennett M. « American Pastoralism, Suburbia, and the Commune Movement ». Society, vol. 16, no 5, juillet 1979, p. 64‑69. Springer Link,


Gifford, Terry. Pastoral. London: Routledge, 1999.


Hall, Stuart. « The Hippies : An American “Moment” ». CCCS Selected Working Papers, vol. 2, Routledge, p. 146‑67.


Lilley, Deborah. The New Pastoral in Contemporary British Writing. Londres: Routledge, 2019.


A Solarpunk Manifesto (English) – ReDes – Regenerative Design.