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Modernism and the Literature of Ecological Limit



This panel situates the modernist period between two of the transformations in environmental history: the industrial revolution and the birth of the contemporary environmental movement in the 1960s. If the former exponentially increased the pressure humans can put on the environment and the latter represents the first serious attempt to limit that pressure, what came in between? How did writers of the early twentieth century express anxiety or concern about the ecological impacts of their rapidly urbanizing, industrializing societies? How did they contend with the political and ethical systems of their era that encouraged uninhibited growth? How did Modernist tropes feed into the beginnings of the environmental movement, or how might Modernism and contemporary environmentalism represent opposing world views?

Possible topics include (but of course aren't limited to):
-minimalism and the ego
-modernism’s relationship to the machine, especially the major innovations of the period
-resource rebellions
-austerity, rationing, and consumption patterns
-urbanization and the environment
-ecologies of colonialism/post-colonialism/globalization
-20th century land use, the Dustbowl and depression, agricultural/green revolution
-rural and vernacular Modernisms
-literature of mass production
-environmental impacts of war

Please send a 300 word abstract and a brief biographical note by April 14 to Austin Hetrick at ah2af@virginia.edu.


Conference Location: Boston, USA
Conference Starts: November 19, 2015
Conference Ends: November 22, 2015

CFP Submission Deadline: April 14, 2015

For more information, contact: Austin Hetrick

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