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Flows & Floods: Changing Environments and Cultures

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22nd February, 2020 | University of Warwick

Keynote Address: Profs. Dominic Boyer and Cymene Howe (Rice University)

This conference examines the relationship between cultural production and environmental change through the rubric of two related critical terms: flows and floods. A flow – a steady current or stream – is perhaps the defining metaphor of the contemporary world; academic and popular discourse alike is replete with references to the flow of goods, money, energy, information, wealth, resources, and cultures. These flows connect and shape people and places, states and societies, in uneven and unequal fashion. In the current Anthropocene era – where human activity has had significant geological and environmental impact – the stability of these flows is increasingly called into question. The world’s enmeshed currents of wealth, resources and biophysical processes over-flow into destructive literal and metaphorical floods. In times of crisis, flows of energy, people, commodities, and climate become oil spills, ‘tidal waves’ of migrants, flooded markets, and storms. Our conference, therefore, looks to generate discussions of the variety of ways literal and metaphorical flows and floods are represented, registered, and imagined in various forms of cultural production.

We are particularly interested in proposals that engage with the fields of environmental humanities, energy humanities, ecocriticism and/or postcolonial studies, as well as new and emergent interdisciplinary methodologies. Papers may include but are not limited to the following topics:

       Flows and floods in world-literature

       The anthropocene, capitalocene, and world-ecology

       Petroculture, extractivism, and energy crisis

       Foodways, food systems, and food imaginaries

       The shaping and limiting of flows in state-building and environment-making

       Migration, borders, and boundaries

       Environmental, energy, and cultural transitions

       Green imperialism, sacrifice zones, and vernacular/indigenous environmentalism

       Cultural geographies and histories of rivers, dams, pipelines, shipping networks, etc.

       Financial flows, capital flight, and enclave zones

       Oceanic studies and hydrocultures

       Circulation, exchanges, and flows of culture and religion

We invite individual proposals for 20-minute presentations. Please submit 300-word abstracts, a list of up to five keywords, and a short biographical note (50-100 words) by November 1st, 2019 to Diese E-Mail-Adresse ist vor Spambots geschützt! Zur Anzeige muss JavaScript eingeschaltet sein!. We welcome queries about paper fit or any other questions.

For more information, please visit:   

Organising Committee: Nora Castle, Amul Gyawali, Harry Pitt Scott Dept. of English & Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick