ASLE-UKI Biennial Conference: Galway 2025

Call for Papers

Association for the Study of Literature and Environment, UK and Ireland, Biennial Conference 2025

‘Erosion – Creimeadh’

9th August (Online Day); 12th-14th August 2025, University of Galway

Confirmed Keynote Speakers: John Brannigan, Nessa Cronin, Malcolm Sen

The 2025 conference for the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment, UK and Ireland (ASLE-UKI) will be hosted by the University of Galway, Ireland. ASLE-UKI welcomes participation from scholars, readers, and creative practitioners interested in the relationships between literatures, environments and cultures – past, present, or future from anywhere in the world.

The theme of the 2025 conference is Erosion – Creimeadh. (Creimeadh is the Irish word for erosion: pronounced ‘crem-oo’). Erosion is a slow, gradual type of degradation. It is hard to perceive, with its effects often only becoming visible over time through generational knowledge, art, or technology. Yet, erosion also contains the risk of suddenness, as once it reaches a certain point, disasters such as floods, mudslides, or avalanches can strike. Erosion is a salient example of Rob Nixon’s concept of “slow violence” (2011), or Timothy Morton’s concept of the “hyperobject” (2013), which express the difficulty of dealing with nonhuman scales when there are calls for action. How can literature and culture be a way to perceive, theorise, or address erosion?

As with previous ASLE-UKI conferences we are happy to receive papers on any aspect of literature, culture, and environment, but we particularly welcome responses to the conference theme. Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Scale: erosion invites us to reflect on that which exceeds the usual operational scales of political action, at institutional, infrastructural, interpersonal, and organisational levels. Can we use ecocriticism to face open scales, regardless of how and where we live? How can we re-think time and space at larger scales, in secular or nonsecular ways, enabled and demanded by what we now face as our political and ecological long-term horizons? And how do we still acknowledge and address the risks of sudden local catastrophes?
  • Temporality: erosion elicits a sense of slow and ancient time. In postcolonial contexts such as Ireland, there is often a longstanding sense that landscapes, language, culture, or economic sovereignty are being eroded. Yet, concepts of slow and ancient time can relegate postcolonial contexts to the past and obscure their imbrication in present networks of economy and power. How do we situate ourselves within temporalities of erosion?
  • Resistance: can resistance to ecological, social, neo-colonial, or economic oppressions be forces of counter-erosion, chipping away at destructive processes? How does one respond to erosion when it has been caused unjustly through exploitation, extraction, pollution, colonialism, politics, or economics? What are the sources of ideological inspiration for subcultures that are developing in the face of ecological or indeed imminent landscape collapse?
  • Language and materiality: how does one write from the perspective of the eroded, whether it be an ecosystem, a species, a language, a culture, or an economy? who are the ‘natural’ actors in erosion processes? What materialities are at play when objects collide with each other during erosion? How might erosion contradict ideas of the aesthetic itself as the ‘natural’ dwelling place of the speculative, the prophetic, the sublime, and other modes of limitlessness?

As the conference is being held in the west of Ireland, we also particularly invite papers that consider the conference theme and/or the broader topics of literature, culture, and environment in the UK and Ireland, and which consider the interrelationships in these islands between histories, languages (including English, Irish, Scots Gaelic, Welsh, and others), literatures, and/or ecologies.

Proposal formats may include:

  • Individual scholarly or creative-critical papers/performances of 20 minutes.
  • Preformed panels of three or four papers/dialogues/performances.
  • Roundtable discussion panels with three to five participants.

Please submit proposals via the links on the conference website.
***LINKS WILL BE ADDED SOON***
Include contact details, a short bio, and an abstract of up to 300 words by 19th December 2024.

We can facilitate hybrid participation where possible. All delegates must be members of ASLE-UKI or an ASLE affiliate association. Membership information can be found at: https://asle.org.uk/membership/. More more information, please contact us at: asleuki2025@gmail.com.

A note about our location in Galway, Ireland. Situated at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, the west of Ireland suffered intensely from the Great Famine (1845-49), yet maintained its Irish language communities and traditional heritage despite colonisation. Galway currently constitutes one of the most youthful and diverse communities in Ireland. Ireland’s literature is strongly linked to west of Ireland landscapes, traditions, wildlife, and waterways – with Galway in particular having strong links with William Butler Yeats (whose home Thoor Ballylee is approximately 30 KM from the conference venue), James Joyce (whose wife Nora Barnacle grew up in the immediate environs of the University of Galway), John Millington Synge (whose plays were inspired by the Aran Islands off Galway’s coast), and Lady Augusta Gregory (whose Coole Park home was the birthplace of the Irish literary revival). In the contemporary period, the region is home to many writers, artists, and theatre-makers; the University of Galway itself includes amongst its staff Elaine Feeney (longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2023) and Mike McCormack (longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2017, and awarded the Goldsmith’s Prize in 2016). Participants to the conference will have many opportunities to experience these distinctive – and in many ways unique – natural, cultural, and scholarly features.

Galway and its university are also closely connected to Irish-language literature and culture. The Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking regions of Ireland) stretches out from to the west of the city, encompassing Conamara and the Aran Islands. An Taibhdhearc (Ireland’s national Irish language theatre) is located in the city centre. Many Irish-language literary figures are associated with the city and county, including Máirtín Ó Direáin, Pádraic Ó Conaire, Eoghan Ó Tuairisc, Caitlín Maude, Joe Steve Ó Neachtain, Seán Ó Curraoin, and Sorcha Ní Ghuairim.

Conference committee: Ashley Cahillane; Laoighseach Ní Choistealbha; Tina-Karen Pusse; Patrick Lonergan.

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