“The Sustainable Humanities” is the admirable title of Stephanie Foote and Stephanie LeMenager’s comments on the role of the humanities in the research on, practice of, and teaching of sustainability (PMLA May 2012). Their title asks us to imagine that the humanities is made sustainable by its participation in the broader project of sustainability–or whatever you choose to name the equitable sharing of the planetary commons. The MLA Commons seems the perfect place to test Rob Nixon’s assertions in the same PMLA issue that the commons need not be a site of tragedy but can instead be a site of cooperation. This group invites all interested in sharing ideas of research, practice, and teaching that continue to define and enhance the role of the humanities in the project of sustainability.

CfP for Emerging Scholars: Oceans and Deserts

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    Joela Jacobs

    Call for Papers



    The graduate students in the Department of German Studies at the University of Arizona invite proposals for their third annual interdisciplinary conference in the Environmental Humanities for emerging scholars (graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and junior faculty) on April 1-2, 2016 in Tucson, Arizona.

    Environmental questions have been driving interdisciplinary research in many Humanities disciplines in recent years. The intersection of culture and environment has invigorated classrooms and inspired publications, and conversations about environmental issues have extended beyond traditional disciplinary divisions. This conference will be a space to explore specific contributions of the Humanities to environmental issues of the present and their potential for the future. We are looking to discuss a wide range of questions that ask how particular Humanities approaches respond to environmental concerns and how interdisciplinary work in this area can be made productive. How, for instance, might the attitude of the Romantics vis-à-vis nature be a model for behavior in the 21st century? How does recycling figure into artistic production or the art classroom? Which cultural or historical conceptions of trash influence current public debates? What kind of philosophy or ethics drive preservation efforts or environmentalism? What are the outcomes of queering the environment or ecology? What is the language or the aesthetics of climate change? How do the future of the human and the Humanities relate in a posthuman age? What shape would an environmental grammar, psychology, or pedagogy take?

    We invite papers based on concrete examples or case studies from emerging scholars in all areas of the Humanities, for instance literature, visual arts, history, cultural studies, philosophy, gender studies, pedagogy, area/regional studies, linguistics, public policy/political theory, religion and ethics. The conference language will be English, but we particularly welcome our colleagues in German Studies. Possible topic areas and keywords include but are not limited to the following:

      <li class=””>animal studies
      <li class=””>anthropocene
      <li class=””>biopolitics
      <li class=””>climate change
      <li class=””>critical plant studies
      <li class=””>eco-criticism
      <li class=””>eco-feminism
      <li class=””>eco-systems
      <li class=””>eco-terrorism
      <li class=””>ecology
      <li class=””>environmental catastrophes
      <li class=””>environmentalism
      <li class=””>extinction
      <li class=””>”green”
      <li class=””>horticulture
      <li class=””>landscapes
      <li class=””>life forms
      <li class=””>nature/culture
      <li class=””>organic (“bio”, “öko”)
      <li class=””>posthumanism
      <li class=””>preservation
      <li class=””>recycling
      <li class=””>trash
      <li class=””>Umwelt
      <li class=””>water
      <li class=””>”the wild”

    Please submit a proposal of no more than 350 words for a 15-20-minute paper (including your name and institutional/departmental affiliation, paper title and A/V needs) together with a short description of your current position and research by December 21, 2015 to OceansAndDesertsUA@gmail.com. Proposals for full panels are also welcome.

    Graduate students might have the opportunity to stay with a local graduate student (please indicate your interest when sending your proposal). There will be opportunities to visit Biosphere 2and see an installation by the University of Arizona Poetry Center at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

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