Saturday, January 30, 2016

Elemental Ecocriticism: at MLA, and at 30% off for blog readers

by J J Cohen

[So much going on blogwide at the moment, but please read and consider signing this letter to the Medieval Academy]

Elemental Ecocriticism: Thinking with Earth, AIr, Water, and Fire was published just in time for this year's Modern Language Association meeting in Austin. I never had the chance to blog about that conference (coming back to the immediate start of the spring term plus #femfog ensured that would not happen), but I did want to publicly thank all who attended the launch we had at the conference. Unlike a few sessions I attended that featured papers going far over time and an audience intent on asking questions that were really mini presentations (or so specific that were about a fragment of research rather than an invitation to communal dialogue), this roundtable had a truly communal feel. The presentations were poignant and the conversation that unfolded afterwards thoughtful and engaged. The room was full of people with little in common as far as archives go (everything from classical literature to postmodern fiction, and a wide variety of languages represented) but at every moment palpably present was a commitment to working something out, together. I have never left a session as full of hope -- and for that I give full credit to the presenters (Stacy Alaimo, Lowell Duckert, Stephanie LeMenager, Steve Mentz, Serpil Oppermann and in spirit Sharon O'Dair) and the amazing audience, who pressed forward to forge some provisional answers to the impossible question of what future might we make?

I have blogged some background to the collection here, and want to emphasize its origins in the joy of collaboration. The volume is for a limited time 30% off at the press website, if you follow the instructions for ordering it here. Purchasing the volume (or asking you library to do so) supports collaborative work in the humanities and sends a message to the press that we need more such communities of shared endeavor. Thank you!

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