Environment, Culture, and Place in a Rapidly Changing North

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Deadline: Nov 5 2011
Event Date: Jun 14 2012 – Jun 17 2012
Event Website:  Event Webpage
City:   University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau

We invite paper and panel proposals for the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment’s Off-Year Symposium, “Environment,  Culture, and Place in a Rapidly Changing North,” to be held June 14-17 at the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau. Proposals for creative or scholarly work related to the field of literature and environment broadly, or to the symposium theme specifically, should include a 250-word abstract, paper title, your name, and affiliation. Proposals for pre-organized panels are also welcome. Submit proposals to Sarah Jaquette Ray (sjray@uas.alaska.edu) and Kevin Maier (kevin.maier@uas.alaska.edu) by November 5, 2011.


The North American “North” of Alaska and Canada is an excellent geographical imaginary through which to understand the human-nature  concerns of our time. Ecosystems trespass national boundaries, for instance, and Northern communities experience the symptoms of climate change disproportionately relative to their contribution to its acceleration. A symposium focusing on “the North” suggests a transnational perspective of this paradox, as well as a range of concerns, from peak oil and climate change to traditional ecological knowledges and tourism. While the North is often seen as an isolated place with a unique character, safe from the economic and environmental woes of “down south,” this imaginary belies the North’s place within transnational phenomena, such as colonialism, global climate change, and globalization.

The symposium’s keynote speaker will be Julie Cruikshank, Professor Emerita of Anthropology at University of British Columbia, and author of Do Glaciers Listen? Local Knowledge, Colonial Encounters and Social Imagination. Plenary speakers are Ellen Frankenstein, who will screen her documentary film, Eating Alaska, Ernestine Hayes, author of Blonde Indian, who will do a reading from her current work, and Nancy Lord, who just published Early Warming: Crisis and Response to the Climate-Charged North.


We welcome proposals for papers, interdisciplinary research, or creative work on issues related to literature and the environment, and also work that explores the North American North, addressing (but not limited to) the following themes: Global indigenous environmental movements; Subsistence/food security/food justice/food cultures; Traditional/Local Ecological Knowledges; Climate Change (perception, bodies, knowledges, glocalism, glaciers, sea-levels, migration, justice); Transnational North; The North’s colonial, military, or historical contexts; Animals/Animality/Wildlife; Boundaries/Borders in the North; Migrations, human and nonhuman; ANWR, peak oil, and the Arctic as global space; Media representations of the North.

Travel Awards

Graduate Student and International Travel Awards (of $500) are available, as traveling to Juneau is expensive.  To apply, please indicate your interest in being considered for one of these awards in your proposal.


Dr. Sarah Jaquette Ray
Assistant Professor of English
Program Coordinator, Geography and Environmental Studies
University of Alaska Southeast


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