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Modernist Resilience at the End of the World(s), Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment (ASLE) Biennial Conference

Ecocritical modernist scholars such as Greg Garrard, Anne Raine, and Kelly Sultzbach insist on historicizing modernism in order to effectively critique the relationship between the literatures of this period and the environment. Taking its cue from such methodologies, this panel will explore how modernist writers respond to inhabiting the moment and place of a world at war. In the final century of the millennia, many authors and artists responded to World War I and II through representations of transformed or damaged landscapes and environments. The post-war British landscape, for example, is mainly stamped by the dark depictions of T. S. Eliot’s Waste Land, D. H. Lawrence’s post-pastoral Eastwood, or Virginia Woolf’s urbanatural London. Though many have depicted a landscape of decline, degradation, or environmental apocalypse, this panel seeks to delve deeper into the ways modernist landscapes of the interwar and postwar periods go beyond destruction to depict forms and affects of resilience, restoration, or mourning.

In particular, we invite speakers to send abstracts that examine the literature of these inter-and-post-war years—from roughly the 1920s and 30s, to the 1950s and 60s—the afterwards of the World War. Submissions are welcome to address any genre—from novel to poetry to film—within the Anglophone modernist oeuvre. This is a period and a literary tradition critically examined more for its desire to escape the material shackles of the body and world for a transcendent subjecthood, than its desire to restore or reclaim a landscape of home after the shattering impacts of the wars. We hope the conversation started by this panel, therefore, will begin to uncover the multiplicity of the unanticipated environmental affects and attitudes existing in the modernist era.

Papers may address but should not limit themselves to the following questions:

-How do modernist writers react to post-war environmental degradation?
-How does modernist impressionism as a technique contribute to the contingency of representing environmental damages on post-war landscape?
-Do modernist texts offer any chance of recovery for the post-war landscape?
-How does modernist play with temporality affect notions of environmental resilience, restoration, and recovery?
-How are the decadent and other fin de siècle styles in conversation with contemporary materialities of corrosion and rust?
-How does the appearance of residual romanticism in the literature of WWI represent the relationship between modernist aesthetics and “nature”?
-How is “the natural” entangled in apocalyptic visions of world war in post-war literatures?
-How is the birth of the discipline of ecology, in the 1930s, entangled in the modernist cultural milieu?
-How is the trope of “returns,” which pervades this era, dependent on or in tension with ideas of “the natural”?

Please send abstracts of 300-500 words to the organizers of the panel by December 1st: Molly Hall (molly_hall@my.uri.edu) and Gulsah Gocmen (gulshgocmen@gmail.com). You will be notified of the status of your abstract by December 7th. ASLE organizers will notify panels of acceptances by February 15th, 2017.


Conference Location: Detroit, MI, United States
Conference Starts: June 20, 2017
Conference Ends: June 24, 2017

CFP Submission Deadline: December 01, 2016

For more information, contact: Molly Hall and Gulsah Gocmen

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