The Department of English Studies warmly invites you to the international conference "Literature and the Environment" from June 08 - 10 at the Institute of Plant Sciences (Schubertstraße 51).
(The conference opening and the keynote by Hubert Zapf is at Meerscheinschlössl.)
The aim of this conference is to underline the specific relevance of literature and of literary studies for environmental and ecological concerns. As literature has addressed environmental issues in the past decades, and eco-literature has evolved into a distinctive new genre, eco- criticism has emerged as a concomitant branch of literary studies. However, there still seems to be a tendency within literary criticism to regard eco-literature as a form of littérature engagée which is rather less satisfactory from an aesthetic point of view. This view has often led to an almost exclusive focus on contents in critical approaches to committed environmental literature. However, and as suggested by Hubert Zapf’s model of literature as an element of a cultural ecology, it is the specificity of literary texts which determines, to a large extent, their unique cultural function. Thus, literature unfolds its main potential with regard to cultural transformations not only on a thematic or referential level, but also as an effect of “the specific structures and functions of literary textuality as it has evolved in relation to and competition with other forms of textuality in the course of cultural evolution.” (Zapf 2006)
The conference thus aims at exploring the potential of literary texts as cultural manifestations which either operate apart from or undermine pragmatic, one-dimensional and conventionalized discourses of ‘innovation’ and ‘development’.
- Hubert Zapf (University of Augsburg)
- Axel Goodbody (University of Bath)
- Marilyn Bowering (University of Victoria, BC)