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CfP – 2017 ASLE – Littoral Zone – 6/20-6/24/17 – Detroit, Michigan

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    Christina Gerhardt

    Panel Co-Organizers

    Christina Gerhardt – University of Hawai’i at Mānoa

    Melody Jue – Assistant Professor in English, UC Santa Barbara

    “Littoral Zones”

    This panel takes ASLE’s theme of “Rust/Resistance: Works of Recovery” into the ocean by focusing on the geographic and cultural space of the “littoral zone,” the scientific name for the near-shore area of oceans, lakes, and rivers. Extending from the highest tide-line to the undersea area where light still enables marine plants to grow, the littoral zone is a site of dramatic change between the tides, weather events, and movement of organisms.

    The littoral zone also happens to be the most accessible part of the ocean to human beings, often a site for recreation, for resource extraction, for the accumulation/dissemination of waste, and for the recovery of lost things (messages in bottles, seaweed, fragments of shipwreck, plastic waste). Life in the littoral zone sustains human beings (fish, marine plants, shellfish), and yet it is also immediately vulnerable to sea-level rise and anthropogenic climate change. Conjuring hydrographic imaginaries (Baucom: 1997) rather than strictly geographic ones, the littoral zone figures as a complexly marginal space for thinking through environmental imaginaries, new materialist ecologies, and praxis.  This panel attends to the homophonic resonances between the “littoral,” the “literal,” and “litter,” looking to the near-shore as a site of accumulation for a variety of natural and cultural objects, for waste and refuse, for flora and fauna—with an eye towards possibilities of recovery.

    Please submit a 250-word abstract, 5 bibliographic sources (articles or books); and a brief bio (2-3 sentences) to both Christina Gerhardt at and Melody Jue at Deadline: Mon. Dec. 12, 2016.

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