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CFP: “The Rise of the Anthropocene in 19th-century Literature” (Deadline: 5/15/2022)

CFP: "The Rise of the Anthropocene in 19th-century Literature" (Deadline: 5/15/2022)

PAMLA 2022 Special Session at U.C.L.A.

November 11-13, 2022

Abstract Deadline: May 15, 2022

Panel Chair: Dewey W. Hall, Ph.D.

In February 2000, at the meeting of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) in Cuernavaca, Mexico, the atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen first uttered the term Anthropocene in reference to the current geological.[1] As Crutzen exclaimed, a new epoch had begun due to anthropogenic forces, reshaping the biosphere. Evidently, Crutzen reasoned two decades ago that “the Anthropocene could be said to have started in the latter part of the eighteenth century, when analyses of air trapped in polar ice showed the beginning of growing global concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane. This date also happens to coincide with James Watt’s design of the steam engine in 1784.”[2] In effect, proxies such as ice core samples, tree ring markings, and, of course, receding glacial lines have been identified as evidence to make the case that higher degrees of carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere have had detrimental consequences locally and globally, since, as Crutzen asserts, the redesign and advent of steam engine technology dating back to the pre-industrial era.

So, what is one to make of Crutzen’s research? What sorts of implications does study about atmospheric changes due to industrialization have upon one’s understanding of the environment? How might acknowledgement of the Anthropocene shape the way one interprets nineteenth-century literary (and non-literary) discourse? In various fields from literary studies to archaeology, the term Anthropocene has had an impact in reshaping the way researchers think evident in recent publications such as Jeremy Davies’s The Birth of the Anthropocene (2016), Tobias Menely and Jesse Oak Taylor’s Anthropocene Reading: Literary History in Geologic Times (2017), and Torgeir Rinke Bangstad and Póra Pétursdóttir’s Heritage Ecologies (2022), featuring reorientations toward interpreting matter from a geological perspective.

The panel aims to feature well-reasoned commentary about the Anthropocene and its significance in shaping literary and non-literary discourse produced by authors during the nineteenth century. 20-minute paper proposals for the special session may consider the following: the Anthropocene and matter; Anthropocene hyperobjects (e.g., evidence of global warming, climate change in 19th c. discourse); famine or disease in anthropogenic times; place in the Anthropocene; space and smoke; urban ecologies; waste during the Anthropocene. Paper proposals (200-300 word abstract) are welcome for consideration, which should be posted through the PAMLA portal at: https://pamla.ballastacademic.com/Home/S/18575. Please set up an account to access the portal prior to posting your abstract: https://pamla.ballastacademic.com. The deadline for abstracts will be May 15, 2022.

Abstract

"The Rise of the Anthropocene in 19th-century Literature" aims to take into consideration the impact that humanity has had on the biosphere (e.g., atmosphere, environment, space, nature, etc.) as recorded in the literary and non-literary discourse produced during the 19th century. The term Anthropocene, coined by atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen in 2000, references a new geological epoch since 1784 due to James Watt's redesign of steam engine technology, marking the dawn of the industrial age evident through the advent of the locomotive, steamboats, and factories, which transformed the terrain of the literary and non-literary landscape. Botanists, chemists, geologists, and naturalists as well as men and women of letters observed the effects during their anthropogenic times, reasoned about their findings, and encoded their discoveries in their written discourse, which have become written records. Paper proposals for the special session will take into consideration the effect of humanity on the environment represented in literary and non-literary discourse during the Anthropocene in the 19th century, especially representations in discourse by women writers.

Paper proposals (200-300 word abstract) are welcome for consideration, which should be posted through the PAMLA portal at: https://pamla.ballastacademic.com/Home/S/18575. Please set up an account to access the portal prior to posting your abstract: https://pamla.ballastacademic.com. The deadline for abstracts will be May 15, 2022.


[1] J. Carruthers, “The Anthropocene,” South African Journal of Science, vol. 115 number 7/8 (July/August 2019): 1.

[2] Paul Crutzen, “Geology of mankind,” Nature, vol. 415.23 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1038/415023a. Date Accessed March 31, 2022.

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