CFP: Anthropocene Austria, London (14.4.2020)

Nicola  Thomas's picture

CfP Anthropocene Austria: symposium 11 June 2020 (London); deadline 14 April 2020


‘Anthropocene Austria’

A one-day research symposium on Austrian literature and culture in the Anthropocene

11 June 2020, Queen Mary University of London

Call for Papers


Austrian Studies 30 (2022) will examine the implications of the now well-established theoretical paradigm of the Anthropocene – the current geological epoch, in which humans are leaving an indelible trace on the fabric of the planet – for research on Austrian literature and culture. Preparatory to the volume, we invite contributions to a one-day symposium at Queen Mary, University of London on 11 June 2020.


Ideas of environment and place have featured prominently in the Austrian cultural imagination, not least in the form of Alpine landscapes. Against this backdrop of geological ‘deep’ time made visible, the social fabric of the modern nation state comes sharply into relief. The relevance of the Anthropocene for Austrian literature and culture is, as yet, uncertain: perhaps Moore’s concept of the ‘Capitalocene’ (2016) speaks more clearly to a cultural zone which has often been at the nexus of European networks of trade, production and migration.

Some theorists (Morton 2007; Chakrabarty 2009; Haraway 2016; Alaimo 2016) argue that we must reflect on the implications of the Anthropocene for our existence at a species level, while also remaining attentive to global flows of capital which cement inequalities between and within nations and populations. While the challenges of the Anthropocene are planetary in nature, they tend to resist apprehension at the planetary scale, becoming more tangibly manifest at the personal, local, regional and national levels. Study of a specific national context in its negotiation with Anthropocene challenges serves to highlight the complex processes whereby local lives and national cultures register – or resist – their enmeshment with planetary crisis. According to a simplistic rhetoric of climate culpability, Austria is both a perpetrator and a victim: it ranks slightly above the European average for CO2 emissions per capita, although emissions are falling sharply; climate breakdown and warming temperatures are already having dramatic effects on both snowfall and glaciation in the Alpine regions, causing major economic and environmental impacts; while negotiation with the realities of migration continues to determine political agendas and is increasingly linked – often in misleading ways – to environmental concerns.


In dialogue with contemporary theoretical and political debates on ecology and environment, and building on recent work in German and Austrian literary studies (Dürbeck et al 2019; Schaumann and Sullivan 2017), the symposium will explore what it means to read Austrian literature and visual culture in the Anthropocene. At the same time, we will ask what case studies from the Austrian context can teach us about the predicament of the Anthropocene more broadly. The focus will be on understanding Austrian literature and culture through their entanglements with environments and ecologies, against the backdrop of Anthropocene ‘derangements of scale’ (Clarke 2018). Topics may include (but are not limited to):


- Representations and engagement with geological ‘deep time’ in Austrian literature and culture

- Extraction and exploitation (c.f. Yusuff 2018), including consideration of the physical landscape, mining, resource extraction, animals and other non-humans, farming and agriculture, and urban environments

- The ‘Capitalocene’ in provincial and metropolitan Austria; the role of global flows of capital in shaping environments

- Green traditions in Austrian politics and culture: radical ecologies of left and right, eco-fascism

- Postcolonialism and the Anthropocene in Austria: understanding the global Anthropocene through histories of empire

- Anthropocene forms: the search for commensurate literary / visual language, from epic to miniature

- Economies and ecologies of waste and consumption; modes of salvage, re-use and recycling, including re-reading of literary and cultural traditions


Abstracts of 300 words, plus a brief speaker bio, should be submitted to Caitríona Ní Dhúill ( and Nicola Thomas ( by 14 April 2020; potential contributors will be invited to offer 20-minute papers to the symposium at QMUL on 11th June 2020.



Redaktion: Constanze Baum – Lukas Büsse – Mark-Georg Dehrmann – Nils Gelker – Markus Malo – Alexander Nebrig – Johannes Schmidt

Diese Ankündigung wurde von H-GERMANISTIK [Mark-Georg Dehrmann] betreut –