CFP: The Political Aesthetics of Agricultural Protest in the 21st Century, ICLA 2022 Group Session, Tbilisi/Tiflis (15.11.2021)

Sandra Fluhrer's picture

One of the most pressing socio-ecological and -economical issues is the future of agriculture. The urgency has shown in parliamentary debates, but even more so in the streets. Most recently, aims to further liberalise the Indian agricultural market have sparked a wave of revolt: In late 2020, hundreds of thousands of farmers came to Delhi with tractor rallies and protest camps. In Europe, farmers have protested agains the EU’s agrarian reform for years with massive convoys of tractors blocking roads and city centres, most prominently in France and Germany. In southern Europe farm workers have repeatedly protested against low wages and appalling living and working conditions, as have the workers organized in Brazil’s Movimento dos Sem Terra.

The group session aims at collecting different readings on the political aesthetics of these protests and their literary representations from a global perspective. The papers might address:

  •    representations of different forms of recent agricultural protest in literature or other arts/media in documentary or fictional form (e.g. Milo Rau, Das neue Evangelium, 2020; Uta Ruge, Bauern, Land, 2020; Michel Houellebecq, Sérotonine, 2019; Éric Vuillard, La guerre des pauvres, 2019),

  •      aesthetics and medialisation of recent protests (use of time and space, ways of creating images and narratives; Delhi’s Trolley Times protest paper), 

  •       ways in which the protests relate to major socio- and eco-political issues and ecological threats of our time (human rights, labour rights, carbon emission, depletion of soils, drought, flooding, deforestation, animal rights, public health, etc.),

  •   possible relation of the different agro-political agendas (e.g. ecological, sustainable, socialist, conservative, liberal) to specific aesthetics,

  •       relations to the history and/or literary history of agricultural protest (16th cent. peasant revolts, Zapatist movement, late 1970s US ‘tractorcades’; Virgil’s Georgica, writings of Thomas Müntzer, Georg Büchner’s 1834 pamphlet “Der Hessische Landbote”, William Morris’ 1890 rural utopia News from Nowhere, Sergei Tretyakov’s documentary fiction on the collectivisation in the 1930s, Shyam Benegal’s 1976 film Manthan, etc.),

  •      possible relations to myths of the rural and to the history of totalitarian agricultural politics (Nazi-German “Blut und Boden” ideology; violent turns of the collectivisation in the Sowjet Union and China).

Organizer: Dr. Sandra Fluhrer, Comparative Literature, University of Erlangen (Germany)

As part of ICLA 2022 in Tbilisi, Georgia, July 24–29, 2022

Proposals (no more than 300 words + 3-5 keywords; language: English or French) have to be submitted via the ICLA site by November 15, 2021. You will be informed of the acceptance of your proposal in early December. Proposals rejected by the group session organizers will be considered for inclusion in the Congress various sessions.

Group session language will be English.

Membership of the ICLA and registration (for fees see ICLA website) is a requirement to present at the congress. You can become a member via your national organisation or directly via the ICLA:

In case of questions contact: (Please remember to submit your proposals via the congress site.)