Avenging Nature: A Survey of the Role of Nature in Modern and Contemporary Art and Literature
An edited volume
Deadline for chapter proposals: 1 July 2018
Editors: Eduardo Valls Oyarzun, Rebeca Gualberto Valverde, Noelia Malla García, María Colom Jiménez y Rebeca Cordero Sánchez.
At the dawn of ‘ecocriticism’ as a discipline of study within the Humanities, Glotfelty and Fromm (1996), in the first general reader in the matter, defined it as the critical practice that examines the relationship between literary and cultural studies and the natural world. In general terms, during the past two decades, ecocriticism has denounced the anthropocentric and instrumental appropriation of nature that has for so long legitimized human exploitation of the nonhuman world. Exposing the logic of domination that articulates the power relationships that both connect and separate human culture and natural life, recent trends in ecocriticism have raised awareness of the ‘otherisation’ of nature (Huggan and Tiffin, 2015), pointing out the need of assessing insurgent discourses that—converging with counter-discourses of race, gender or class—realize the empowerment of nature from its subaltern position.
But such empowerment of nature requires first that the sundering of the human and nonhuman realms is overcome because, as Kate Rigby explains, only by regaining “a sense of the inextricability of nature and culture, physis and techne, earth and artificat—consumption and destruction—would be to move beyond (…) the arrogance of humanism” (2002, p. 152). Yet, recognizing such inextricable relationship between human and natural entails the ecocritical admission that all works of culture are exploitative of nature. Rigby explains it clearly when she explains that “culture constructs the prism through which we know nature” (p. 154). We comprehend nature when we apprehend the world through language and representation, but nature precedes and exceeds words, it is “real” (1992, p. 32) and separated by an abyss from the symbolic networks of culture that write it, master it, assign a meaning to it and attempt to set it in order.
From this perspective, culture is not exactly the end of nature as much as it is an appropriation and colonization of nature. Culture masters, dominates and instrumentalizes the natural world. But in a time when the “end of nature” that Bill McKibben prophesized in the 1988 has been certified, when we know for a fact that it is indeed a different Earth we are living in because by changing the climate there is not a corner of the planet that has not been affected by our actions, the evidence of global ecological endangerment compels the ecocritical debate to install environmental ethics and concerns at the crux of humanistic research. The critical enterprise is far from easy though. The argument that cultural representations of nature establish a relationship of domination and exploitation of human discourse over nonhuman reality is extendible to the critical task. As humanist critics, our regard of nature in literary and artistic representation is instrumental and anthropocentric. But the time has come to avenge nature—or, at least, to critically probe into nature’s ongoing revenge against the exploitation of culture.
Nature—a different, humanly modified nature—will remain after the climate change doomsday. Nature precedes our understanding and conceptualization of it, but, despite the unimaginable damage done, it will also survive us when the Earth becomes inhabitable for humans. There will be nature after culture as there is now a rebellious nature that resists in spite of culture. And thus we call for articles that explore insubordinate representations of nature in modern and contemporary literature and art. We press for the need to reassess how nature is already and has been for a while striking back against human domination. We call for scholars from the fields of literary studies, postcolonial studies, art, history, gender and women’s studies, film and media studies, ethics and philosophy, cultural studies, ethnology and anthropology, and other related disciplines to join us in this interdisciplinary volume that will re-examine the intersections of culture and nature in literary and artistic representations and will point out the insurgence of nature within and outside of culture.
Contributors may wish to explore, among others, the following topics:
- Ecofeminism and gender studies: domination and empowerment
- Postcolonial and transnational representations of nature as (dis)empowered ‘other’
- Econarratives of subversion and rebellion
- Naturalisation of others and otherisation of nature in literature and art
- Literary and artistic representations of ecocides and ecological crisis
- Post-pastoral literature and the redefinition of the poetics of domination
- Social epistemology and ecology
- Environmental ethics applied to cultural studies
- Globalisation and global ecological imperilment
- Eco-social art and literature
- Post-humanism and ecology
- Ecotopias in literature, film and television
- Insurgent nature and the future of humanity
- Gothic nature and eco-horror in dystopic narratives
Please submit article proposals for the volume tentatively titled Avenging Nature, a Survey of the Role of Nature in Modern Contemporary Art and Literature by July 1st, 2018. Article proposals should include a title, a 500-word summary, author’s name, institutional affiliation, emails address and short biographical note.
Articles will be selected following a blind peer-review process and authors will be notified by October 1st, 2018. Full articles will be expected by March 1st, 2019. The final book proposal will be submitted for final approval to a top-tier publishing house which has already shown interest in an international launch of our volume.
Please send your submission and queries to email@example.com
(posted 16 March 2018)
Cultures and/of Migration
The third issue of VTU Review
Deadline for complete manuscripts: 1 August 2018
The history of migration begins with the origins of the human species. Over many centuries, the movements of people(s) have affected economies, cultures and political structures in a wide variety of significant ways.
We invite contributions from scholars in the humanities and social scientists with an interest in the cultural aspects of migration. We welcome articles from both established professionals and advanced PhD students.
Topics may include, but are not restricted to:
- cultural patterns of migration;
- forced vs voluntary migration;
- migration and cultural identity;
- migration and gender;
- cultures of departure and cultures of arrival;
- migration and diaspora;
- migration and memory;
- migration and language;
- writing migration;
- images of migrants in literature, film and the mass media;
- education and management of the cultural impact of migration.
Inquiries and complete manuscripts are to be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by 1 August 2018.
VTU Review is a newly established peer-reviewed journal, published in English by St. Cyril and St. Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria. The journal comes out twice a year and is published both in print form and electronically as an open access publication.
VTU Review is dedicated to publishing and disseminating pioneering research in the humanities and social sciences for an international audience.
The journal’s inaugural issue is available at http://journals.uni-vt.bg/vtureview/eng/. Its second issue, which focuses on travel and mobility but also includes a Varia section with articles on other topics, is due in May 2018.
(posted 14 March 2018)