CFP: “Illness and the environment in American Literature and Cinema”, EBAAS Conference 2018

Panel organized within the framework of the European Association for American Studies (EAAS) and the British Association for American Studies (BAAS) conference King’s College, University College, and the British Library, London. 4-7 April 2018.

“Environment, Place and Protest.” Deadline for abstracts: September 25, 2017

In Toxic Exposures: Contested Illnesses and the Environmental Health Movement (2007), Phil Brown, American sociologist and specialist in environmental studies, examined the relationship between disease clusters and the environment. He concluded environmentally provoked illnesses (EPI) to be “contested illnesses” as they involve scientific disputes and extensive public debate.

The environment as an agent in health has long been an issue in American cinema and literature. Literary scholar Heather Houser’s recent volume Ecosickness in U.S. Contemporary U.S. Fiction: Environment and Affect (2014) speaks to this issue looking at a variety of productions including Todd Haynes’ Safe (1995) and Richard Powers’ Gain (1998), to mention only a few. Literary and filmic narratives that look at environmentally provoked illness (EPI) differ from conventional illness narratives as they focus on the cause of illness rather than its effect, and Houser looks at the languages used in both.

We invite papers that address EPI or environmental issues in illness narratives both in American cinema and literature—autobiography and fiction. Submissions might focus on but are not limited to:

  • narrative and aesthetic characteristics;
  • the ambiguity as to the causes of illness, and its influence;
  • the environment and sense of place;
  • environmental, political and ethical issues;
  • the question of responsibility—government, corporate or other;
  • personal testimony vs. political commitment;
  • EPI/illness narratives as protest literature/cinema.

Please send a 250-word abstract—for a 20-minute presentation—and a short bio note by September 20, 2017 to the panel organizers:

Pascale Antolin, Bordeaux Montaigne University: antolin.pascale@orange.fr
Cecilia Beecher Martins, University of Lisbon, ULICES: cbeechermartins@gmail.com

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