Call for Abstract Submissions, NATURE: Narrative, Authorship, Textual Ecosystems - The University of Chicago Conference

Ana Ilievska's picture
Call for Papers
November 10, 2017 to November 11, 2017
Illinois, United States
Subject Fields: 
Environmental History / Studies, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, Humanities, Literature, Philosophy

Abstract submission deadline: October 15, 2017 

Conference Organizers: 

Ana Ilievska 

David Orsbon 


Department of Comparative Literature 

Graduate Student Conference 

The University of Chicago 

Fall 2017 

NATURE: Narrative, Authorship, Textual Ecosystems 

November 10-11, 2017 

Keynote Speaker Prof. Dipesh Chakrabarty (The University of Chicago) 


We often assume we know what nature is when we talk about it, whether in everyday speech or in academic discourse. But what exactly do we mean by the term “nature” and the semantic field surrounding it? Some scholars, such as Dipesh Chakrabarty, have thought about ways in which we narrativize nature and our relationship to it. This raises a set of further questions that we want to explore in our conference: What kinds of relationships does nature have to text, narrative, and authorship? By our count, there are at least four ways in which this relationship manifests itself: nature writes itself (shifting coastlines, eroding mountains); nature writes us (genetics, climate impact, sounds); we write nature physically (pollution, technology); and we write nature as narrative (literary, scientific texts). Moreover, there might be yet another way in which we create nature narratives in the form of robotics, urban soundscapes or thingscapes, virtual networks, and artificial habitats by means of technology. In this line of thought, abstract submissions that address and challenge the following set of problems are especially welcome: 

 diachronic and philological interventions on the meaning of “nature”; 

 nature as "person," "other," concept, construct, or “thing”; 

 cross-cultural notions of nature; 

 nature as it relates to ideas of text, narrative, and authorship; 

 narrative as ecosystem and vice versa; 

 technologies and artifacts as having nature(s)/nature narratives. 

We invite contributions that are at the intersection of but not limited to literature, media studies, ecocriticism, history, philosophy, sound and visual studies. Please send your 200 word abstracts to and by October 15, 2017.

Contact Info: 

Ana Ilievska and David Orsbon 

Department of Comparative Literature

The University of Chicago 

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