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Call for papers

“Wildness without Wilderness”: The Poiesis of Energy and Instability

The European Association for the Study of Literature, Culture and Environment (EASLCE): 7th Biennial Conference (Brussels, Belgium— from 27 to 30 October 2016)

Hosted by the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and its Department of Languages and Literatures, in association with the Benelux Association for the Study of Art, Culture and the Environment (BASCE)

As Gary Snyder reminds us in “The Etiquette of Freedom” (1990), wilderness—i.e. the expanse of the physical natural world untamed by humans—may have considerably shrunk; by contrast, however, wildness—i.e. the instability of the material world and of its agencies that elude human regulation and control—very much remains a constant in the existence of beings enmeshed with their environments. 

Contributing to this ineradicable and enduring wildness and instability, other constants such as energy and creativity inform both the non-human and human worlds of impermanence and indeterminacy (Serpil Opperman & Serenella Iovino, Hubert Zapf, Sidney Dobrin).  Indeed, not only do energy flows and their disruptions remain inseparable from life and living organisms; moreover, energy also proves inseparable from poiesis, understood as a potential for making that combines randomness and design.  With the relational activity leading to transformation that underlies the spontaneous self-organization and patterning of many systems (Fritjof Capra, Herbert Maturana & Francisco Varela), poetic travail is in fact what links the wild artistry and skilful means of nature to those of human production (Jonathan Skinner; Harriet Tarlo).  What the various narratives respectively explored by particle physics, material ecocriticism, the energy humanities, experimental ecopoetics, or ecospiritualities tell us is that the universe is teeming with (eco)compositional forces and responses, with experiential space opening itself up to forms of joint making and unmaking, with temporary montage and collage artistry blending chance and intention through physical and/or mental assemblage, dissipation, and re-arrangement. 

The 7th Biennial Meeting of EASLCE, in association with BASCE, will be held in the fluctuating, multilingual urban space of Brussels, a city that has proved home as much to the “ordered wildness” of physics uncovered by Nobel Prize-winning scientists like Ilya Prigogine and François Englert as to the one of the mindscapes revelled in by the Symbolist and Surrealist avant-gardes. 

Therefore, from all environmental fields of inquiry and endeavour, from the humanities and natural sciences to the creative arts and public policy/activist spheres, the Organizing Committee invites papers probing into the poiesis of non-human and human systems, and into their interrelated narratives of energy, wildness and travail.  Spanning the spectrum from natural to textual energies, possible perspectives may include—but are not necessarily limited to—some of the following approaches:

-The impact of concepts such as energy and poiesis, instability and creativity on current ecocritical thinking/theorizing, on ecoliteracy, ecolinguistics, eco-narratology, ecosophy, and eco-ethics.

-Patterns of assemblage, proliferation and travail in both non-human and human texts, procedures and organisms; systemic readings of energetic patterns of dissipation and collapse.

-Representations of chaos, wildness, autopoiesis, and complexity in literature, film, the arts, linguistics, philosophy, science, and digital environments.

-Ecopoetics and the poiesis of energy and instability: entropy and “ordered wildness” in textual environments and texts-as-environments; elusive energies, assemblage and fragmentation in recombinant and procedural eco-aesthetics; humans as ecocompositional and eco-aesthetic animals.

-Energetic travails under and above ground: the poiesis of fuel and fuel extraction; the chaos, wildness and complexity informing petrocultures; cultural and literary responses to the environmental practices and addictions of “Homo Energeticus.”

-“Wildness without wilderness” in cities: urban collapse, mutation and apocalypse vs. urban renaturing, sustainability and ecological resilience; cities as “living eco-labs,” urban entanglements in the web of the bioeconomy; urban eco-design; the city as ecological palimpsest and travail.

-Transmutations of energies in the interlocking of mental and physical ecologies; ecospiritual and ecopsychological readings of the poiesis of matter and consciousness in interaction.

– Energy exchange and instability in the travail between physical and social ecologies; the dynamics of channeling and dissipating psychic and social energy around ecological crises; the travail of mapping out the (geo)politics of energy.

-Energetic labour and travail: the poiesis of the elements and natural forces (water, the weather, tectonics, etc.); the formation of “counter-imaginaries” to energetic mischanneling and depletion; the poiesis of decomposition, recycling and composting.

– Embodied “wildness without wilderness”: randomness, design and energy exchange in animals and plants; shifting energies and relationalities between human and non-human bodies/forms of “creatureliness”; the poiesis of the feral; zoopoetics.

-Randomness and design in nature as sources of ecophobia and ecophilia; the gaps between the artistry of nature and human creativity as fuel for ecophobic and ecophilic narratives and texts.

-The poiesis of energy and instability at work in human and non-human environments as fuel for “Une écopoétique francophone?”, “Eine deutschsprachige Ökopoetik?”, etc.?

The primary conference languages will be English, French, German, and Dutch/Flemish.

We welcome both scholarly and creative proposals.  The submission formats are either for individual scholarly papers of 20 mins/individual creative contributions/performances of 20 minutes, or for pre-made panels of 3 twenty-minute scholarly papers/creative contributions.

The format for submissions is as follows:

-individual proposals: title + 300-500 word abstract + biosketch of 5-10 lines + IT requirement + full contact details.

-preformed panels: 500 word abstract for the panel comprising general topic and format outline + participants’ biosketches and full contact details + IT requirements, supplemented by individual 300 word abstracts for each contribution on the panel.

ON BEHALF OF THE ORGANIZING COMMITTEE, ALL PROPOSALS SHOULD PLEASE BE SUBMITTED TO Dr. Franca Bellarsi <fbellars@ulb.ac.be> by SUNDAY, 10 April 2016

FINAL CALL AND NEW EXTENDED SUBMISSION DEADLINE: SUNDAY, 10 April 2016

All submissions will be internationally peer-reviewed BY EASLCE AND BASCE