Call for Contributions (anthology): Brecht and Ecocriticism / Ecocriticism of Brecht (abstracts due by 6 December 2021)

Kristopher Imbrigotta's picture
Call for Papers
December 6, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, Environmental History / Studies, Film and Film History, Theatre & Performance History / Studies

Abstracts due by December 6, 2021

Brecht and Ecocriticism / Ecocriticism of Brecht
Edited by Elena Pnevmonidou and Kristopher Imbrigotta

For someone whose artistic persona, politics, and aesthetic praxis are so inextricably associated with the large metropolitan cityscape, Brecht’s exploration of life in the city is informed by a remarkable affection for nature. This is evident in his myriad nature, animal, and tree poems; his attentiveness to the smallest evidence of enduring natural life even in the most inhospitable concrete spaces; and his sensitivity to the impact of weather and seasonal change on people and their struggles. Brecht’s political and ethical outlook does not pit humans against nature but rather views humans, in their creatureliness and vulnerability, as an integral part and expression of nature. His critique of capitalism thus comprehends environmental degradation and dehumanization as two interlinked devastations of our modern world.

This volume explores Brecht’s preoccupation with nature, and we invite in particular three kinds of ecocritical approaches to Brecht highlighted below. We ask, first, how Brecht and Brechtian concepts align with contemporary ecocriticism and Anthropocene theories. Second, we invite contributions that seek to enrich our understanding of Brecht’s literary works through ecocritical analyses of the representation of nature, the environment, and interactions between animals, plants, and humans in his writings. On the other hand, third, we propose that Brecht’s distinct approach to nature itself constitutes an ecocritical paradigm. To what extent do Brecht’s writings and theatrical praxis constitute a framework for a demystified and politically engaged aesthetic response to our planet’s current environmental crisis? Can Brecht’s works and theories serve as a methodology of critical inquiry and practical intervention? We seek in particular contributions that discuss the adaptation of a Brechtian ecocritical paradigm in contemporary environmentally engaged literature, theatre, art, film, and music.

The volume editors will provide a comprehensive introduction to 1) situate Brecht the person and the artist, and 2) articulate how his oeuvre provides an ecocritical framework that can inform our understanding of this current moment of planetary crisis and rapid environmental and social change. We seek scholarly contributions of approx. 6000 words from multiple directions of inquiry and approaches, conceived broadly within the scope of these thematic headings:

Ecocriticism and Brecht: theory, Brechtian concepts, the Anthropocene
Ecocriticism of Brecht: ecocritical readings of Brecht’s own literary works
Ecocriticism with Brecht: eco-film, art, literature, music, theatre, etc. that can be described as Brechtian

Possible topics for contributions include but are not limited to:

Brecht’s concept of what it means to be human
Sites of contention and conflict, protest movements, and Brecht’s use value today
The Gestus of environmental activism, protection, and/or decolonialization
De-centering the human and/or the human as the center in Brecht’s work
Dialectics and dialectical approaches to ecocriticism in post-Brechtian ‘modes’
Destruction, endings, new beginnings as envisioned by Brecht and the
Failures and triumphs of capitalism
Brecht’s V-Effekt/defamiliarization/making strange as ecocritical strategy

Challenging Brecht’s ‘blind spots’


Please send by December 6, 2021 a one-page abstract and brief bio to Elena Pnevmonidou, University of Victoria ( and Kristopher Imbrigotta, University of Puget Sound ( The volume is currently under consideration for advance contract with Camden House. First drafts of completed articles are due by June 1, 2022.