Call for papers

“Canadians and the Environment: Historical, Cultural, and Literary Perspectives”

Canadian Studies Department  in cooperation with American Literature and Culture Department at Maria Curie-Skłodowska University is announcing a 2-day conference/seminar on “Canadians and the Environment: Historical, Cultural, and Literary Perspectives.” The conference will take place in Lublin, Poland on 12-13 February 2014. It is addressed to junior scholars and doctoral students who are interested in exploring Canadian history, culture and literature from environmental perspectives. Invitation is extended also to scholars working in the wider fields of ecocriticism and North American studies.

The conference’s two keynote speakers are professor Kylie Crane from the Mainz University  and Dr. Julia Fiedorczuk from the University of Warsaw. Professor Crane, who will also offer an additional workshop on the subject of environmental humanities, is the author of Myths of Wilderness in Contemporary Narratives: Environmental Postcolonialism in Australia and Canada (2012).  Dr. Fiedorczuk is a poet, writer, scholar, and an eminent promoter of environmental humanities in Poland.

The  conference fee is 200 PLN.

In the country with – as Margaret Atwood has put it – “such a high ratio of trees, lakes and rocks to people,” the natural environment has always been  a powerful force, shaping political, social and individual destinies – even as it was over years gradually being reshaped itself –  and has figured prominently in human calculations and imaginations. Ever since the land was settled by the First Nations,  Canadian people’s history and politics, economic life, ideology, social practices, national traits, and cultural products have  evolved  in a dynamic engagement with the country’s landbase, climate, fauna and flora.  This engagement, once local in scale and effect,  became enormously complicated  in the second half of the twentieth century by, on the one hand,  the processes and pressures  of economic and cultural globalization, and on the other,  by  the global environmental crisis.  Thus, even though by mid-twentieth century Canadians had moved in great numbers to cities and insulated themselves against the Northern chill and prairie dust with advanced technology (creating in the process new kinds of Canadian environments), they continue to negotiate the terms of their future with the land and climate and continue to articulate their ever evolving environmental identity through their political and economic ideologies and practices, as well as through their art.

It is the task of environmental humanities to reflect upon and chart  all of these phenomena and processes, by asking questions not only about how and why things  happened and to what effects, but also about how and why we think about them the way we do, and how our thinking is shaded by our cultural, ideological, linguistic, racial, gender, and human(istic) biases. With this goal in mind, the organizers of the conference/seminar call for papers in English on any aspect of the following topics:

– Canadian environmental history;
– Cultural legacy of Canadian people’s engagement with various types of natural environment;
– Canadian vs. American experience of and responses to the North American environment(s);
– Ethnic vs. western constructions of Canadian environments; Canadian ethnic groups and the environmental crisis;
– Canadian “built environments”;
– Architects of Canadian environmental sensibility;
– The natural environment and Canadian sense of national identity;
– Canada and  the modern day environmental crisis;
– Canadian environmental movement and environmentalist thought;
– The environment in Canadian arts and literature;
– Ecocritical rereadings of Canadian classics;
– Environmental sensibility in Canadian popular culture.

Paper abstracts of 200-250 words in length should be emailed by 15 December 2013 to Magdalena Gnieciak pbkumcs2014@gmail.com. Authors will be notified if their proposals have been accepted by the end of December 2013.