Thursday, March 05, 2015

MLA Ecocriticism and Environmental Humanities Forum in the Commons Newswire

by J J Cohen

A significant change to MLA structure was the recent reorganization of divisions and discussion groups into forums, along with the introduction of a few new ones. Among these new forums is Ecocriticism and Environmental Humanities. Though proposed by Sharon O'Dair, Stacy Alaimo, Stephanie LeMenager and me (and the four of us thereby became its inaugural executive committee when it was approved), the establishment of Ecocriticism and Environmental Humanities is in fact the culmination of years of lobbying by numerous MLA members, many of them allied with the visionary organization ASLE.

Now that the forum is up and running, we are planning all kinds of events both at future MLA Conventions (in Austin we will sponsor a roundtable on "Energy, Matter, Force") and within the wider structure of the association (stay tuned, for example, for -- we hope -- a PMLA announcement). We are committed to honoring the ethics of the environmental humanities in whatever we do, and therefore have special interests in environmental justice, activism, critical pedagogy, interdisciplinary alliances, queer practices, postcolonial and critical race scholarship, the new materialisms.

A piece on the new forum appears in the latest Commons Newswire. We are especially proud that the our MLA Commons page has become a place for scholars to post and download syllabi. Read the whole interview (we composed the answers together) and you'll see why we think this forum matters -- and not just because it's a space where medievalists, early modernists, and more contemporary types are able to join across temporal divides in a shared project.

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