Conferences and CFPs

CALL FOR PAPERS: Imagining Environmental Justice in a Postcolonial World
EACLALS Triennial Conference 2023: 6-10 June 2023, Sorbonne Nouvelle University

For the 2023 conference of EACLALS (European Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies), we invite delegates to:
 
·     Bring postcolonial literatures and arts into conversation with environmentalism;
·         Investigate the power of narratives in all literary genres, as well as images and artistic performances, to evoke environmental injustice; and
·         Explore the breadth of what environmental justice may mean in postcolonial contexts.
 
We invite contributions for 20-minute papers or 90-minute panels addressing the conference topic. Please send a 300-word abstract for individual papers or 450-word abstract for panels, accompanied by a short biographical note on all speakers (100-150 words) and 5-6 keywords to EACLALS2023@sorbonne-nouvelle.fr by 15 October 2022.
 
Confirmed keynote speakers:
Amanda Boetzkes (University of Guelph, Canada)
Elizabeth DeLoughrey (University of California, Los Angeles, US)
Graham Huggan (University of Leeds, UK)
Imre Szeman (University of Waterloo, Canada)
 
The global ecological and climate crisis is strongly linked to modernity and its history of imperialism, colonisation, capitalism, and exploitation of resources. Postcolonial literatures foreground these connections: key texts include Nadine Gordimer’s The Conservationist (1974), Judith Wright’s “For a Pastoral Family” (1985), Patricia Grace’s Potiki (1986), Thomas King’s Green Grass, Running Water (1999), Amitav Ghosh’s The Hungry Tide (2005), Alexis Wright’s Carpentaria (2006), Helon Habila’s Oil on Water (2011), Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner’s “Tell Them” (2012), Uzma Aslam Khan’s Thinner than Skin (2012), and Imbolo Mbue’s How Beautiful We Were (2021). These powerful stories reveal the colonial origins of ecological devastation and its dramatic consequences for the Global South. These texts have also prompted new theoretical concepts such as the “slow violence” of delayed destruction (Nixon 2013) and the “plantationocene” (Haraway 2015).
 
After a turn to ecocriticism developed in the anglophone world in the 1980s, with influential voices coming out of the Americas, a fruitful dialogue in the mid-2000s between the fields of postcolonialism and environmentalism (Huggan 2004, Nixon 2005) gave rise to postcolonial ecocriticism and its distinctive approach to environmental questions.
 
Postcolonial ecocriticism tends to focus on social ecology and its tensions, and considers nature in the contexts of human uses, built environments and degraded landscapes. Postcolonial ecocriticism sheds light on the links between colonisation and contemporary social, economic, and environmental issues. It pays heed to ways in which human exploitation transforms ecosystems, limits access to natural resources, and generates pollution and other hazards. It is wary of nostalgia for a pure landscape standing outside history, and conscious of the difficulty of representing the nonhuman environment (Cilano and DeLoughrey 2007).
 
To make these links between colonisation and environmental issues, postcolonial ecocriticism redirects customary postcolonial questionings by triangulating them with the relations between the human and the nonhuman. In doing so, it often favours a materialist approach, attempting to make sense of environmental issues by drawing on climate science, environmental law, geography, and other sciences, which it sometimes challenges. It is also aware of the local specificities of ecological issues linked to colonial history, while acknowledging their global context. As awareness spreads of the need to share the earth’s resources sustainably and fairly, shifting perceptions of the environment are changing people’s sense of responsibility and accountability, individual and collective. In this context, postcolonial ecocriticism reflects on better ways of inhabiting the world and promoting environmental justice.
 
In one of its best-known early formulations, environmental justice was what grassroots activists in the United States in the 1980s demanded in answer to the environmental injustice and racism that forces disadvantaged, vulnerable, racialised populations to bear the brunt of environmental degradation and pollution (Holifield, Chakraborty and Walker, 2018). Use of the notion of environmental justice then spread beyond the United States, in particular through the action of Indigenous peoples and the development of ideas related to social ecology, such as the “environmentalism of the poor” (Martínez-Alier 2002), social justice, and climate justice.
 
Topics and approaches can include, but are not limited to:
– eco-injustice and race / ethnicity
– eco-injustice and indigeneity
– eco-injustice and poverty / marginality
– environmental justice discourse and literary genre
– the language of environmental justice discourse
– the rhetoric of “toxic discourse” / “toxic politics”
– environmental justice, monolingualism, and translation issues
– environmental justice in relation to local and global contexts
– environmental justice in comparative context
– environmental justice and:  

aesthetics
affect
artistic activism (“arctivism”)
capitalism
climate justice
conservation / discourses of purity / “postcolonial pastoral”
decoloniality
ecofeminism
human rights
interdisciplinarity
intersectionality
materialist approaches
multispecies justice
nature protection
neocolonialism / “toxic imperialism”
pedagogy
petrocultures
science
the nonhuman
the writer activist
tourism
transnationalism

 
Scientific committee: Aline Bergé (Sorbonne Nouvelle), Kathie Birat (U. of Lorraine), Jaine Chemmachery (Sorbonne U.), Cédric Courtois (U. of Lille), Xavier Garnier (Sorbonne Nouvelle), Fiona McCann (U. of Lille), Marie Mianowski (U. Grenoble Alpes), Claire Omhovère (U. Paul Valéry – Montpellier), Alexandra Poulain (Sorbonne Nouvelle), and Kerry-Jane Wallart (U. of Orléans).
 
For more information, please contact Christine Lorre-Johnston (Sorbonne Nouvelle, convener) at: EACLALS2023@sorbonne-nouvelle.fr or,

Visit the conference webpage using http://www.univ-paris3.fr/eaclals-2023-imagining-environmental-justice-in-a-postcolonial-world-746756.kjsp?RH=ACCUEIL
 
The Ruptures Commons

Article submissions are invited for consideration for one of two collections of essays on the theme of The Ruptured Commons. Revised and expanded papers from the ACLALS triennial conference on the theme are welcome, as are papers written independently of the conference that engage with postcolonial/world, Canadian, or Indigenous literatures. Essays submitted by 31 December 2022 will be considered for one of two publications:
 
(1)  a scholarly book entitled Ruptured Commons to be edited by Anna Guttman and Veronica Austen and proposed for publication by Benjamins as part of the International Federation for Modern Languages and Literatures (FILLM) Studies in Languages and Literatures Series; essays for this book should be on postcolonial/world literature or culture and be written in English.
(2)  a special issue of Studies in Canadian Literature/Études en littérature canadienne to be co-edited by John Clement Ball and Asma Sayed; essays should be on literatures of Canada/Turtle Island from any period and may be written in English or French. 
 
Both publications are expected to be in print by 2024.
 
At a time when we have all been experiencing profound and unexpected disruptions to our shared spaces, routines, economies, societies, and work-lives, these publications will consider the nature and implications of rupture, the commons, and their conjoining: the ruptured commons. And while a disruptive disease has been at the forefront through the pandemic, imperialism and colonialism historically were, and in many places remain, forms of severe rupture – to lifeways, cultures, and forms of inhabitation, community, and governance. Capitalism is inherently disruptive, and disruptive technologies (from the printing press to social media, the steam engine to the drone) transform lives and present their own opportunities and threats. Rupture is increasingly becoming a modus operandi among political actors, whether they seek to exploit and accentuate divisions, or, in the case of anti-colonial movements and Black Lives Matter protests, to contest hierarchies, privileges, and prejudices embedded in social attitudes and institutional practice. The increasingly frequent eruptions of such moments raise important questions about social consensus around common realities and common truths. 
 
The ruptured commons is at the heart of the concept of the Anthropocene and what Amitav Ghosh has called “the great derangement” of our unsustainable ways. The pandemic, with its multiple and far-reaching disruptions, has forced us to rethink our common spaces and how we use them, from city streets to airplanes, domestic spaces to workplaces – including academic ones.
 
So much of our shared future is uncertain. As an attempt to reimagine the commons, we invite contributors to place notions of rupture and commons in a wide variety of pan-historical contexts and scales from the local to the global. Approaches and topics within literary and cultural studies could include but are not limited to:
 
·      Archives and the institutional praxis of collecting, documenting, and remembering the past
·      Borders and boundaries: disrupted, shored up; transgressed, (re-)imposed 
·      Disruptive histories and aftermaths of imperialism and colonialism, including trans-Atlantic slavery and the legacies of anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism
·      Ecological and ecocritical approaches to the literary and cultural representation of the commons and of its inhabitants, non-human and human
·      Finding commonalities, understanding differences
·      Healing ruptures and reconciliation
·      Inclusive vs. exclusive models of the commons: access, control, ownership
·      Indigenous knowledges and perspectives: on ruptured places and times; on the commons 
·      Literature and contagion, health, medicine, and/or dis-ease
·      Literature and disaster: natural or otherwise 
·      Literature of protest and activism: disrupting the present to transform the future
·      Mending and reclaiming the commons
·      New perspectives on risk and the risk society 
·      Queer, Indigenous, and Afro- Futurities
·      Reparative work and feminist ethics of care toward alternate futures
·      Representation and inhabitation of common spaces
·      Resource extraction and the ruptured commons
·      Rupture as a mode of literary representation
·      Ruptures of community, culture, economy, family, language or identity
·      Rupturing heteropatriarchal, settler colonial, and racist spaces
·      Spaces and places in times of rupture: private and public, physical and virtual; urban, rural and wild
·      Technology and/as rupture
 
Those interested should indicate their intent to contribute by 1 August 2022 by sending a brief email to rupturedcommons@gmail.com If space allows, additional papers may be considered after Aug. 1.  Please email to enquire.  Finished papers are due 31 December 2022 and should be between 6000 and 8000 words. Submissions should be sent electronically via Word attachment to rupturedcommons@gmail.com
 
For details about SCL/ÉLC, visit the journal’s website at https://journals.lib.unb.ca/index.php/SCL or contact one of the co-editors: John Clement Ball, University of New Brunswick, jball@unb.ca, or Asma Sayed, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, asma.sayed@kpu.ca.
 
For more information about the FILLM Studies in Languages and Literatures, visit the series website at http://www.fillm.org/publications/bookseries.html or contact one of the co-editors: Anna Guttman, Lakehead University, aguttman@lakeheadu.ca, or Veronica Austen, St. Jerome’s University at the University of Waterloo,  vjausten@uwaterloo.ca.

Call for Papers: Reckoning, Repairing, Reworlding

Edited by: Reworlding Research Collective*

Summary of Topic

In a 2020 piece in the Toronto Star that speaks from the space of roiling catastrophe of which COVID is just one fatal iteration, Dionne Brand calls out the dominant longing for the restoration of the world as it was. She names not just the “ecocidal and genocidal” patterns of mostly white behaviour that shaped the coalescence of the pandemic, racist violence and climate crisis but also the habit of sense-making that parceled the tangled horrors into tidily packaged narratives defined by their departure from (and eventual return to) “normal.” In a moment in which, as she notes, “Everything is up in the air, all narratives for the moment have been blown open — the statues are falling — all the metrics are off, if only briefly,” Brand sees the possibility for a long overdue reckoning.

The three terms guiding our enquiry — namely reckoning, repairing, and reworlding — are motivated by a decolonial ethics that moves beyond the normalizing tendencies of the narratives which Brand holds up for scrutiny. In the current moment of decolonial resurgences, reckoning demands that we dispense with colonial states’ placatory rhetorics of “reconciliation,” those that—as in the case of Canada—work toward overcoming a colonialism understood as “in the past” while “leaving the present structure of colonial rule largely unscathed” (Coulthard 22). Such conciliatory gestures, as Leanne Betasamosake Simpson points out, often seek simply “to neutralize Indigenous anger without talking about returning land” (Simpson). If discourses of reconciliation—at least those conceived by colonial states—establish the colonial everyday as the norm, or, in the context of postcolonial states such as South Africa, stymie substantive decolonial redress, we invite projects that generate reckoning with the present toward decolonial reworlding. We are particularly interested in forms of reckoning that yield what Métis scholar Michelle Murphy calls “alter-concepts of care and responsibility [that] might proceed by calling forth alter-modes of collaboration and study that simultaneously aim at world-building and dismantlement” (496-7).

In this special issue of Studies in Social Justice, we explore the capacity of creative practice, imaginative co-creation, and humanities enquiry to contribute to decolonial reckoning as a step toward feminist, anti-racist, anti-oppressive, multilingual reworlding. We invite contributions that are working under the umbrella of the humanities but in tension with the subject position to which it conventionally aspires and through which it traditionally administers and gatekeeps knowledge. We call on contributors to consider how texts and creative practices that sit, however uneasily, within the framework of the humanities, might be deployed to animate alternative pathways for living, dying, being, caring and feeling otherwise amid a planetary crisis centuries in the making.

Inspired by recent scholarship on the “inhumanities” (Luciano and Chen; Yusoff), we invite challenges (critical and/or creative) to traditional conceptions of the humanities, which tend to reproduce the ongoing violences that underpin liberal humanism’s progressivist trajectory and its consequently narrow envisioning of futurity; its grounding in various and mutually reinforcing forms of exceptionalism; its attribution of agency and consciousness principally to human subjects; its siloing of knowledges and meaning-making practices and its discrediting of indigenous wisdom traditions; and its collusions with and sustenance of genocidal, ecocidal and extractivist regimes. We follow the lead of adrienne maree brown’s Emergent Strategy in asking how “we can align our behaviour, our structures and our movements with our visions of justice and liberation, and give those of us co-creating the future more options for working with each other and embodying the things we fight for—dignity, collective power, love, generative conflict, and community” (8).

We welcome cross-disciplinary gestures of reworlding and sympoesis, modes of “making with” (Haraway) that resist claims of innovation in favour of thinking with ancient wisdom traditions that the narrative of technoscientific progress has sought to eradicate: from oral traditions, to other embodied practices within Indigenous resurgence, to genealogies of the sacred that rupture capitalism’s disenchantment of the world, to the importance of non-rational forms of meaning making including dreams and visions. We seek critical and creative engagements that situate humanities enquiries, as well as creative texts and/or practices, as potential catalysts for, and sites of, enacting strategies of survival and reworlding in the face of planetary crisis on its multiple scales, engaging questions such as, but not limited to:

  • How might attending to creative practice, with its multisensory dimensions and trans-material resonances, its elicitation of affective response, its capacity to surprise and reach across multiple scales from the molecular to the planetary (Nixon), broaden the scope of social justice concern beyond the insular figure of the human and attendant hierarchies of humanness?
  • How might creative practice/humanities enquiry resist reproducing the exceptionalist claim of elevating human sensibilities and advancing “civilization,” and instead sustain the flourishing of ecologies and geologies of more-than-human worlds?
  • How do aesthetic projects reckoning with institutional and epistemological violence indicate the inflammation of bodies, communities and the planet as interlinked and mutually constitutive, and how do such projects engage in multi-scalar modalities of healing (Marya and Patel 2021)?
  • How might creative cultural production and aesthetic activisms account for the histories of harm inflicted by the “genre of the human” (Wynter 115) in the colonial imagination, and for the afterlives of anti-Blackness, anthropocentrism and androcentrism in (post)colonial contexts?
  • What forms of pedagogy work in sympathy with the capacity of creative practice to lead or jolt us out of our inhabitance of what Lauren Berlant has described as “crisis ordinariness” (10), offering glimpses of different attachments, other ways of being together?
  • How might art and/or humanities enquiry undo rigid, distancing, atomizing, taxonomic practices of representation to engage “grammar[s] of animacy” (Kimmerer 48) or “distributed agency” (Iheka 23) that recognize relationality, subjectivity and process?

We accept 300-500 word proposals for submissions in a range of formats, including critical essays, interviews, conversations, analyses of artistic texts, photography, oral, audio and video texts, activist speeches, syllabi, and creative/artistic interventions. Studies in Social Justice requires that articles include a specific social justice focus (substantively, theoretically, or methodologically).

Please submit proposals to RRRcollectiveCFP@gmail.com by 30 September, 2022.

References

Berlant, L. (2011). Cruel Optimism. Duke University Press.

Brand, D. (2020, July). Dionne Brand: On narrative, reckoning and the calculus of living and dying. Toronto Starhttps://www.thestar.com/entertainment/books/2020/07/04/dionne-brand-on-narrative-reckoning-and-the-calculus-of-living-and-dying.html

brown, a. m. (2017). Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds. AK Press.

Coulthard, G. S. (2014). Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition. Minnesota University Press.

Haraway, D. (2016). Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Duke University Press.

Iheka, C. (2019). Naturalizing Africa: Ecological Violence, Agency, and Postcolonial Resistance in African Literature. Cambridge University Press.

Kimmerer, R. (2013). Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants. Milkweed Editions.

Luciano, D. and Chen, M. (2015). Introduction: Has the Queer Ever Been Human? GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 21(2–3), 182–207.

Marya, R. and Patel, R. (2021). Deep Medicine and the Anatomy of Injustice. Allen Lane.

Murphy, M. (2017). Alterlife and Decolonial Chemical Relations. Cultural Anthropology 32(4), 494-503.

Nixon, R. (2011). Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor. Harvard University Press.

Sedgwick, E. K. (2002). Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity. Duke University Press.

Simpson, L.B. (2021). Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. Poetry in Voicehttps://www.poetryinvoice.com/poems/poets/leanne-simpson

Wynter, S. (2006). On how we mistook the map for the territory and re-imprisoned ourselves in our unbearable wrongness of being, of désêtre: Black studies toward the human project. In Gordon, L. R. & Gordon, J. A. (Eds.), Not only the master’s tools: African-American studies in theory and practice (pp. 107–169). Paradigm. https://doi.org/10.1002/9780470996645.ch9

Yusoff, K. (2021). The Inhumanities. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 111(3), 663-676. https://doi.org/10.1080/24694452.2020.1814688

*Andrea Vela Alarcon (McMaster University); Jesse Arseneault (Concordia University); Tayah Clarke (Brock University); Linzey Corridon (McMaster University); Priscilla Jolly (Concordia University); Feisal Kirumira (University of Alberta); Susie O’Brien (McMaster University); Uhuru Phalafala (Stellenbosch University); Susan Spearey (Brock University); Jane Sewali-Kirumira (University of Alberta); Helene Strauss (University of the Free State) and Bontle Tau (University of the Free State).