CFP: The Forest Unseen: Feminism and the Visibility of Connections in Bodies, Nature, Science, and Violence

Erika Berroth's picture
Call for Papers
October 18, 2018 to October 21, 2018
Tennessee, United States
Subject Fields: 
Women's & Gender History / Studies, Environmental History / Studies, Film and Film History, German History / Studies, Literature

Call for Papers: Coalition of Women in German annual conference, Sewanee: The University of the South, TN, October 18-21, 2018.

WiG Conference Open Session 2

The Forest Unseen:  Feminism and the Visibility of Connections in Bodies, Nature, Science, and Violence.

This panel connects to our new conference site at Sewanee: The University of the South. The title references the work of resident ecologist and evolutionary biologist David George Haskell, author of The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature (2012) and The Songs of Trees: Stories From Nature's Great Connectors (2017), which is inspired by the Cumberland Plateau where Sewanee is located. Haskell illustrates the intricate connections of local and global in the sustained observation of a small patch of land in the Appalachian Mountains. A focus on forests is simultaneously also emerging in Germany: Peter von Wohlleben's besteller Das geheime Leben der Bäume: Was sie fühlen, wie sie kommunizieren--die Entdeckung einer verborgenen Welt (2015) reveals the forest’s secrets as a romanticized vision of solidarity and community in the midst of the country’s “refugee crisis.” Stacy Alaimo’s work Bodily Natures: Science, Environment, and the Material Self (2010) and Rob Nixon’s Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor (2011) offer intersectional readings of bodies and environments that can help theorize these phenomena. Nixon calls attention to forms of activism in the global South, where interconnected environments suffer from the effects of slow violence, the gradual and often invisible effects of exploitations, toxicity, climate change, while Alaimo introduces a concept of trans-corporeality, where porous bodies interface with other entities, and materials flowing through bodies.

This panel seeks to convene presenters interested in exploring connections among feminist theories, environmental studies, and the sciences in the context of German Studies, with a focus on representations of forests, trees, and gendered bodies. Contributions could include eco-feminist perspectives on diverse texts, including oral and written narratives, fiction, poetry, graphic novels, and visual texts. Topics could include:

  • The interconnectedness of climate change with human societies and more-than human forms of life, for example in the genre of climate fiction.
  • Notions of cultural and literary plant agency, violence, or eroticism,  for example in genres like the grotesque or science fiction, or phyto-myths in our daily lives, e.g. in the diversity of narratives connecting women and trees.
  • Representations of human and more-than-human entanglements in narratives that increase visibility and awareness, for example in the genre of fairy tales and feminist re-visions of tales.
  • The networks of violence committed against material objects and all forms of life in war and conflicts, and the representations of memory and trauma in relation to such violence, for example in autobiographical genres, trauma narratives, narratives of flight, displacement, and migrations.

Depending on the range of submissions and topics, we would like to consider a roundtable or workshop format for this panel. Please send abstracts of 200-300 words, including your thoughts on the panel format, to both organizers by March 1, 2018. Organizers:  Erika Berroth ( and Joela Jacobs (

Please email organizers with any questions about the panel or submissions. Panelists should become members of The Coalition of Women in German or renew their membership for 2018 prior to the conference.




Contact Info: 

Erika Berroth and Joela Jacobs