Alabama Symposium on English and American Literature: Elemental Ecocriticism

Date: Thursday, April 25, 2013
Time: 07:00 PM
Location: Birmingham Room Bryant Conference Center
Cost: Free and open to the public. 

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The Department of English will host the the 30th Alabama Symposium on English and American Literature: Elemental Ecocriticism April 25-27, 2013. Past scholars and writers in the past have included: Jacques Derrida, Alice Walker, Gayatri Spivak, William Gass, Fredric Jameson, Stephen Greenblatt, Charles Bernstein, John Searle, Gerald Graff, Joseph Roach, Trudier Harris, Yunte Huang, and Michaela Mahlberg. Additional sponsors include The Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies and the College of Arts and Sciences.

Ecocriticism is a field of inquiry that examines literary representations of the natural world and the effects of these representations on that world. In just over 20 years, ecocriticism has become an exciting environment of its own, one negotiating its theoretical and institutional growth. Once ecocritics focused exclusively on humans' interactions withlandscape and other creatures in the landscape; today many are interested in reconceiving those spaces as featuring a web of co-constituitive and hybrid agents, some human, others not. Some questions ecocritics might ask are: What do the elements and their mixtures offer us today? What can the elements do to us? And for us?

There will be a keynote address by Cary Wolfe, Bruce and Elizabeth Dunlevie Professor Of English At Rice University, who will present "The Biopolitics of Human and Animal Bodies." Wolfe is also the founding director of 3CT:  The Center For Critical And Cultural Theory. His books include Animal Rites: American Culture, the Discourse of Species, and Posthumanist Theory, What is Posthumanism?, The Other Emerson, and Before the Law: Humans and Other Animals in a Biopolitical Frame. it will be held in the Greensboro Room at the Bama Theater, downtown Tuscaloosa. Doors open at 7:30 pm. Free and open to the public.

Speakers will continue on Friday and saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Bryant Conference Center, Birmingham Room. These lectures are free and
open to the public. Refreshments will be provided.

Prestenters include:

  • Lowell Duckert, Assistant Professor of English at West Virginia University
  • Karl Steel, Assistant Professor of English at Brooklyn College
  • Valerie Allen, Professor of English literature at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY
  • Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, Professor of English and Director of the Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute at the George Washington
  • Julian Yates, Associate Professor of English and Material Culture Studies at University of Delaware
  • Sharon O'Dair, Hudson Strode Professor of English and Director of the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies at the University of Alabama
  • Steve Mentz, Professor of English at St. John's University
  • Anne Harris, Associate Professor of Art History at DePauw University
  • Chris Barrett, Assistant Professor of English at Louisiana State University

A full schedule of events with times and speaker presentation titles can be found at

Contact Info: Nic Helms, (404) 374-2152,Website,

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