Go East! Ecocriticism in Central and Eastern Europe

Katarzyna Lisowska's picture
May 21, 2016 to May 22, 2016
Subject Fields: 
Literature, Philosophy, Humanities, Eastern Europe History / Studies, Area Studies

Confirmed keynote speaker: Prof. Scott Slovic (University of Idaho)

Invited speaker: Dr. Julia Fiedorczuk (University of Warsaw)


Within ecocritical discourse there are still significant disproportions between Anglo-American Academia and continental, notably Central and Eastern, Europe. In the former context, it has been developing rapidly for several decades, while it has only now begun to grow its roots in the latter.

The primary goal of ecocriticism is to draw attention to the interrelations between the environment and literature. And yet, the field has embraced incredibly varied perspectives and themes that, on the first look, do not seem to have much to do with literary writing: deep ecology, ecofeminism, ecology of the city and of daily life, bioregionalism, environmental justice – to name but a few.

It seems to us that the popularization of ecocriticism within the humanities’ discourse in our region is necessary, because the latter simply cannot avoid the basic ecocritical questions about the limits of sovereignty of countries and individuals, but also about the common points of ecological policy with the issues of the globalization, colonialism and post-colonialism. By cause of the great ethical and political complexity of these issues, the need to find solutions to them seems particularly important, especially from the perspective of the countries which over the years had struggled with imperial domination, and now to a large extent, depend on the influence of the big capital.

Due to the almost initial state of research and our specific geopolitical location, we would like to focus on the texts from the area of Central and Eastern Europe, not only those which directly deal with relationships between humans and other animals and the environment. We would also like to talk about ecocriticism itself, in its theoretical and ideological commitments and connections. We would like to devote the conference primarily to such literature.

We are pleased to inform that Professor Scott Slovic (University of Idaho), one of the most distinguished and recognizable scholars in the field of ecocriticism, will be the conference’s keynote speaker. Professor Slovic was a co-founder of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE), and since 1995 has edited the journal "ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment" - the major scholarly journal of ecocriticism. As an advocate of internationalization of ecocritical discourse, Slovic has lectured at academic centers worldwide, including Lebanon, Brazil, France and India. As a Fulbright Scholar he has conducted his research in Germany (University of Bonn, 1986-1987), Japan (University of Tokyo, Sophia University, and Rikkyo University, 1993-1994) and China (Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, 2006). Professor Slovic cooperates with many scholars worldwide, what results in edited by Slovic “A Booklist of International Environmental Literature”, which is published on the pages of the prestigious journal “World Literature Today”. In the latest edition readers might find also entries on environmental literature from Poland and the Ukraine.


The list of suggested topics includes, but is by no means limited to:

1) Philosophy and aesthetics:

- Ecological epistemology: the epistemological entanglements of environmental literature and ecocriticism.

- Ecocriticism and the metaphysical tradition; the problem of essentialism in the environmental humanities and literary studies;

- The aesthetics and poetics of nature writing and ecocriticism;

- The agency of ecocritical discourse: do ecocriticism and environmental literature have any practical impact on social realities?

- The individual and the environment: a subject, an agent, a network, a community (modes of co-existence in literature and ecocritical thought);

2) Poetics, theory, literature:

- Ecocriticism and Theory: methodologies and methodological turns – possible alliances and conflicts; e.g., ecocriticism and the linguistic turn, the spatial turn, the affective turn, postcolonial studies, and biopolitical studies.

- Narratology and poetics as tools of raising environmental awareness;

- The gift and the burden of language: linguistic representation and mimesis in environmental literature.

- The writing / reading subject and nature: experience and interpretation in ecocriticism;

- Are non-anthropocentric stories possible? Toward eco- and bio-centric narratives.

- Ecocriticism and feminism

- Ecopoetry, biopoetry, and enviromental literature in Central and Eastern Europe;

3) History, specificity, regionalism:

- A Travelling Theory: The Anglo-American roots of ecocriticism and the problems and prospects of adopting it in a Central and Eastern European context.

- Ecocriticism and globalization: the question of globalism from the 'local' perspective;

- Specificity of ecocriticism in Central and Eastern European countries: Lithuania, Lativia, Estonia, Belarus, Ukraine, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Romania, Hungary.

- Ecocriticism and the new regionalism: commonalities and differences;

- Ecocriticism and European literary modernism, avant-garde, and postmodernism;

- Ecocriticsm, Environmental Literature, and Post-Communism;

- Ecocriticism and the study of everyday life.                                 


We welcome proposals from scholars at all stages of their academic careers. Proposals (200-350 words) should be submitted to: dkntlconference@gmail.com

The conference languages are Polish and English

Conference fee: 35 €  

Proposals due: March 7th 2016

Notification of acceptance: March 21st 2016

Date of the conference: May 21-22th 2016

Venue: The University of Wrocław, The Institute of Polish Philology, Plac Nankiera 15,Wrocław, Poland

The Conference is organized by the Dept. of Literary Theory, Dept. of Romantic Literature, University of Wrocław, and the Doctoral Students’ Research Group of Literary Theory.

Academic Advisory Committee:

Prof. Wojciech Soliński, University of Wrocław

Dr. Wojciech Małecki, University of Wrocław

Contact Info: 

The University of Wrocław, The Institute of Polish Philology, Plac Nankiera 15,Wrocław, Poland