AàC/CfP | Figuring Animals in Anglophone Literary and Media Texts | Suède | 29 mai 2016
Call for Applications
4th Annual Workshop of the Postgraduate Forum Environment, Literature, Culture
“Figuring Animals – Images and Imaginaries in Anglophone Literary and Media Texts”
15 – 16 August 2016
Mid-Sweden University, Campus Sundsvall
CfP’s Dead Line : May 29th, 2016, email@example.com
With the formation of the interdisciplinary field ‘Animal Studies,’ animals are increasingly moving into the purview of literary and cultural studies. In the environmental humanities, an animal oriented perspective is beginning to establish itself as a dynamic and productive sub-field. Greg Garrard, for example, devotes an entire chapter to animals in Ecocriticism (2012). The way humans read animals shapes culture just as much as culture shapes the way we read animals (Baker in Garrard, 153). This mutually constitutive relationship makes ‘animal’ a central trope in environmental thinking and discourse. In this workshop, we want to take a closer look at how Ecocriticism and the theoretical and methodological concerns of Animal Studies can interact productively with each other.
What links Ecocriticism and Animal Studies is the concern with the politics of representation that shape human interactions, material and discursive, with animals. The conceptual separation of the human animal from non-human animals is at the center of most mainstream environmental and philosophical thinking. In continental European thought, human exceptionalism is based on a variety of concepts, such as that of an immortal soul, existential freedom, or symbolic language. With its roots in the Enlightenment tradition, human exceptionalism still informs most scholarly practice in the humanities and underwrites even theoretical approaches that are interested in conceptualizing nonhuman forms of subjectivity, as posthumanist scholar Cary Wolfe points out in his seminal monograph Animal Rites (18).
In this tradition, the ways in which humans relate to animals are predominantly shaped by a presumed hierarchy in which animals rank below humans. From the prevalent utilitarian perspective, animals are regarded primarily as a resource for human use, which finds expression in cultural practices like animal husbandry (esp. raising animals for human consumption) or the display of animals in zoos but also in the ways humans relate to animals through language. During this workshop, the linguistic, textual, and visual expressions of animal imaginaries that illustrate and comment on, and at the same time influence and shape, human-animal-relationships are at the center of our concern.
We invite master and doctoral students with projects in the environmental humanities or Animal Studies to contribute to our workshop. Questions, texts, and projects might address but are not limited to the following:
● representations of human-animal-relationships in cultural artifacts
● representation of animals in visual culture; e.g. animal bodies as spectacles
● representations of animals in environmentalist texts; e.g. endangered species
● philosophical, conceptual and structural bases that underwrite human-animal-relationships
● specific discursive formations of “the human” and its delineation against nonhuman animals (e.g. ‘discourse of species’ (C. Wolfe), but also e.g. ‘dehumanizing’ discourses, such as colonial discourse)
● functions of metaphor and metonymy involving animals in specific discourses and/or texts
● textual instances involving animals that resist allegorical interpretation
● specific instances of anthropomorphism, zoomorphism, and possible alternatives
Students can participate by submitting an excerpt of their dissertation or MA thesis, a research poster presenting their PhD project, or a theoretical text that interests and/or challenges them for discussion. We will be able to invite a maximum of 10 participants. The workshop language is English.
If you are interested in participating, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org by May 29th, 2016 and let us know in which form you would like to contribute (excerpt of own work/poster/secondary text). Please state your current project topic and include a short biographical note (150 words).