The ACLA system is now accepting paper submissions. We are looking for works on ecocriticism, nature writing, and natural resources in any sphere of contemporary culture in the postsocialist world. The panel description is attached below. If you are interested, please reply off-list to firstname.lastname@example.org or submit your paper proposals directly at the ACLA website (http://acla.org/node/add/paper?seminar=12406).
Panel: Culture vs. Nature: Ecocriticism and the Poetics of Nature and Natural Resources in the Postsocialist World
This seminar focuses on the intersection of ecology, politics, religion, and culture in the postsocialist world in order to examine the ways in which contemporary discourses on nature, natural resources, and ecological concerns are used by cultural producers, politicians, and non-governmental institutions to formulate and shape ideas about national or ethnic identities and social belonging. Countries such as the Russian Federation are rich in natural resources (gas, oil, minerals, timber), which inevitably influences politics and cultural production both on an international, global, level and on a local scale. In his recent study of the Perm oil industry, for example, Doug Rogers reveals how Lukoil’s regional politics have been key in the revival of local non-Russian cultural identities (The Depths of Russia: Oil, Power, and Culture after Socialism 2015). Soviet history is rife with environmental disasters and Svetlana Alexievich’s Nobel Prize has brought into the international limelight her work on the Chernobyl Disaster. The importance and transformation of the natural world is a well-established theme in Russian, Soviet, and socialist and postsocialist cultures and political discourses, but what is the most appropriate theoretical framework through which to examine these accounts and products within a non-Western context? What discursive tools do writers, directors, and artists in the postsocialist world utilize in order to articulate the importance of nature, natural resources, and ecology for all of society? How does our understanding of this complex node of ideas change over time? In what ways do nature, ecology, and religion intersect in recent Russian films and novels (Elena Kolyadina’s Flower Cross 2011, Eugene Vodolazkin’s Laurus 2012, Pavel Lungin’s The Island 2006, Aleksei Balabanov’s Me Too 2012)? We encourage proposals that cross boundaries between disciplines and approach the study of nature and ecology in a variety of narrative and visual forms.