Calls for papers for conferences taking place in April 2025

Ecological Grief and Mourning in the Literature and the Arts in the Anglophone World (18th – 21st c.).
Institut Catholique de Paris / Catholic University of Paris. 3-4 April 2025.
Deadline for proposal submissions: 15 June 2024.

Venue details: Campus des Carmes of the Institut Catholique de Paris / Catholic University of Paris (74 rue de Vaugirard, 75006 Paris, France) 


  • Héloïse Lecomte (ENS de Lyon)
  • Estelle Murail (Institut Catholique de Paris / Université Paris Cité)
  • Laura Ouillon (Université Paris Cité)

Keynote speaker:

  • Stef Craps: Professor of English Literature at Ghent University


In the wake of Judith Butler’s work on un/grievability, in Mourning Nature (2017), climate change and mental health researcher Ashlee Cunsolo and landscape architect Karen Landman have outlined the complexities of thinking about the grievability of the non-human, and, more broadly, ‘ecological grief,’ this kind of ‘ mourning that resists the artificial separation between bodies that can and cannot be mourned’: ‘It is about recognizing our shared vulnerabilities to human and non-human bodies, and embracing our complicity in the death of these other bodies – however painful that process may be.’ (Cunsolo 3-4) This conference proposes to explore the concept of ecological grief and the fast-growing body of theoretical work that is developing around it against the background of the ongoing sixth-mass extinction and biodiversity loss. The broader reflection about the Anthropocene has also highlighted new ways of reflecting, imagining and representing human and non-human relationships by contributing to decentring human subjectivities and offering new understandings of the living. With this conference, we also wish to think about the longer history of ecological grief from the eighteenth century onwards, including by exploring some of the consequences of the Industrial Revolution. 

Both writers and artists have explored new ways of ‘mourn[ing] beyond the human’ (Cunsolo and Landman, 2), grieving for past, present and future ecological losses, attempting to visualise and express ecological grief but also to carve out spaces of remembrance. In literature, the poetic subgenre of the pastoral elegy is built on the poet’s acceptance of “death as natural […], in line with the season pattern of death and rebirth” (Twiddy 2012, 4). However, the loss of nature itself (turning it into a mirror of human loss) redefines the traditional elegy’s search for consolation (Sacks 1987, 3). This redefines the very function of the pastoral, leading to the emergence of new subcategories such as the “anti-pastoral elegy” (Gilbert 1999, 188) or the “ecological lament”, thus defined by Timothy Morton: “In elegy, the person departs and the environment echoes our woe. In ecological lament, we fear that we will go on living, while the environment disappears around us. Ultimately, imagine the very air we breathe vanishing – we will literally be unable to have any more elegies, because we will all be dead. It is strictly impossible for us to mourn this absolute, radical loss.” (Morton, 186) The very possibility of mourning nature is therefore questioned – is nature grievable? How do we grieve for it? What is the role of writers and artists in this individual and collective process? While to some, environmental grief gives way to desolation or an irredeemable sense of melancholy, others view it as a form of resilience or even a spur to action, a source of activism in art.

The conference welcomes contributions from researchers working in the fields of literature, art history, visual studies, music studies, film studies, game studies, cultural studies, philosophy and anthropology. We particularly welcome submissions that revolve around, but are not limited to, the following concepts and themes:

  • The (un)grievability of the natural environment and the non-human
  • Old and new forms of elegy and ‘ecological lament’ (Morton, 186): the (anti-)pastoral elegy, the proleptic ecological elegy
  • Individual and collective mourning rituals ; creative approaches and responses to grief, mourning, loss and resilience
  • Human and non-human mourning; shared grief
  • The politics of grief; artivism and literature as a form of environmental activism
  • Solastalgia and melancholia 
  • Eco-anxiety and anticipatory grief
  • Extinction 
  • Epidemics and plagues
  • Memorials, memento mori and other ways of remembering
  • Ghosts and spectrality

We welcome the following types of contribution: academic/critical papers, video essays, artistic contributions, live poetry/spoken word and theatrical performances. Please submit abstracts of up to 300 words in English, together with a short biographical note (no more than 150 words), to by 15 June 2024.

Website address 

CFP: Ecological Grief and Mourning in the Literature and the Arts in the Anglophone World (18th – 21st c.) – LARCA

Contact details

(Posted 16 February 2024)

Playing and Playfulness in Salman Rushdie’s Fiction.
Université Côte d’Azur, Nice. Thursday 3 and Friday 4 of April 2025.
Submission deadline: 30 June 2024.

Guest Speakers: 

  • Ana Cristina Ferreira Mendes (University of Lisbon), 
  • Stephen Morton (University of Southampton), 
  • Marc Porée (École Normale Supérieure, Paris), 
  • Florian Stadtler (University of Bristol)

Because they affect the linguistic, narrative, structural, cultural and intermedial spheres, the motifs of playing and playfulness should allow us both to pay homage to the astounding richness of Salman Rushdie’s fiction and to question its puzzling complexity. Rushdie’s art of parodically recycling cultural material from all sorts of historical and geographical origins likens him to postmodernism’s intrinsic syncretism and its “aesthetics of hybridity” (Stadtler) or its palimpsestuous nature (Porée) just as his mocking deconstruction of all metanarratives appears reminiscent of the postmodernist determination “to subvert all centers of authority” and to “romp in polyphony, in plurality, in maximum freedom, in a joyous relativity where all that is rigid is overturned” (Olsen). However, the systematicity of the recourse to tongue-in-cheek metafiction and “self-parody” (Pesso-Miquel 2007) may also encourage us to wonder whether this form of “exhibitionist acrobatics” could not be a means to “give expression to a boastful metafictional self-awareness as the text obsessionally sings its egomaniacal and selfishly seductive song” (Gonzalez). From a postcolonial perspective, Rushdie’s hegemonic foregrounding of playfulness similarly seems to lend itself to ambiguous interpretations. If his densely intersemiotic texts ostentatiously display “the legacies of colonial modernity” (Morton) and are therefore “appropriable to a bourgeois, predominantly western intelligentsia” (Ahmad), his desire to constantly mix eastern and western codes, to forge a hybrid, bastardised novelistic art may be construed as a proof of “residual faith in utopian grand narratives, a desire to reconstruct some notion of the New” (Baker). Besides these postmodernist and postcolonial approaches, other fertile fields of investigation may be found in the interaction between playing and poetry so much does the author of Midnight’s Children strive to generate linguistic, stylistic, syntactic and rhetorical innovation in a manifest will to reenchant the English language. Finally, the humorous dispositions enacted by such a prominent presence of playing and playfulness may also be examined, and Rushdie’s humour à la Sterne (Pesso-Miquel 2004) or his Rabelaisian grotesque (Porée and Massery) seem to pave the way for fruitful comparative analyses.

Please find hereafter a (by no means exhaustive) list of possible topics:

  • Playing around, humour, funny jokes (who are the addressees?)
  • Playing with tradition, magical realism, “the alternative great tradition of the novel”
  • Playing with his own sources of inspiration
  • Playing with geographical boundaries, remapping the world
  • Playing with words, neologisms and linguistic inventiveness: poetry or showmanship?
  • Playing with formal boundaries, hybridisation, parody, pastiche
  • Playing as an antidote to despair
  • Playing by ear, oral tradition, songs, rewriting old stories and myths
  • Playing games, pretence, wearing masks, metaleptic ludism
  • Playing with fire: Scheherazade, historically traumatic events
  • Playing by the rules, Americanisation and “selling out”

Proposals of circa 300 words should be sent to 

by the 30th of June 2024. Please enclose a short biographical note of a dozen lines.

Further details in the original CFP enclosed below.

{Posted 4 April 2024)