Sheep at Sycamore Gap, Hadrian's Wall, Northumberland

ASLE-UKI Biennial Conference: Northumbria 2022

Call for Papers

Association for the Study of Literature and Environment, UK and Ireland, Biennial Conference 2022

‘Epochs, Ages, and Cycles: Time and the Environment’

6–8 September 2022, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne

Plenary Speakers include:

Samantha Walton (Bath Spa University)
Elizabeth-Jane Burnett (Northumbria University)

Northumbria University is delighted to host the 2022 Biennial Conference of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment, UK and Ireland. The purpose of ASLE-UKI is to encourage scholarship, criticism, and appreciation of environmental literature and of the relationship between literature and environment, through activities and publications based in the UK and Ireland. ASLE-UKI welcomes participation by anyone interested in environmental literature and culture—past, present, or future—from anywhere in the world, whether as scholars, readers, or creative writers.

For the 2022 conference, we are guided by Edmund Burke’s observation that society is ‘a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born’. Nowhere is this truer than in our relationship with the environment, which is shaped by decisions made by countless generations of hunters, gatherers, farmers, gardeners, builders, miners, and engineers, and where every choice we make today may have profound environmental implications for countless future generations. While papers on any aspect of literature, culture, and environment are welcome, this conference in particular invites contributions that address the theme of ‘Epochs, Ages, and Cycles: Time and the Environment’. Possible areas include, but are not limited to:

  • Deep time: how have writers responded to the deep past as revealed by geology, palaeontology, and archaeology? How are notions such as the Anthropocene, the Capitalocene, the Sixth Extinction, or the Great Acceleration reflected in environment writing?
  • Historical time: how was environment discussed in the Middle Ages, the age of Enlightenment, or the age of empire? How far are ecocritical models applicable to pre-industrial literary cultures? How is the environment reflected in historical fiction?
  • Circular time: how are years, months, seasons, life cycles, and daily rhythms represented in literature? How do writers balance teleology with circularity? How are ideas, tropes, and literary forms cycled and recycled?
  • Future time: how do writers imagine our environmental futures, from the day after tomorrow to the last syllable of recorded time? How do the choices we make now impact on the future? Can literature change the world?

We welcome proposals for 20-minute papers, preformed panels of three, or exceptionally four, papers, and round table discussion panels with three to five participants. Please submit your proposal via the follow forms:

The deadline for proposals is Monday 6 June 2022. You will be informed of the outcome of your submission within two weeks from the deadline. If, however, you need an early decision for reasons of travel and/or funding, please indicate this when you submit your proposal and we will endeavour to make a decision within ten working days of your submission.

Over the years, the ASLE-UKI conference has developed a reputation for outings, walks, and field trips that explore local environments and environmental issues. Trips at this conference may include a walk along Hadrian’s Wall, a guided tour of Newcastle and the Tyne, a visit to a Northumbrian nature reserve, and a guided tour of Newcastle’s art galleries and museums.

There will be wine receptions and a vegetarian conference dinner. More information about events and outings will be published on the conference website early in 2022.

The conference is intended to be an in-person event and we have limited facilities for hybrid sessions. In the (we hope unlikely) event of a new Covid outbreak or other issue that makes an in-person conference impossible, we will announce an alternative online conference.

Registration will open online by Friday 1 July 2022. We will publish the registration fees early in 2022 on the conference website There will be reduced rates for students and unwaged delegates. All delegates must be a member of ASLE-UKI or an international ASLE affiliate association. Links to international ASLE Affiliates can be found at https://asle.org.uk/membership/

The organisers aim to publish a selection of articles based on the best papers on the conference theme as a special themed issue of Green Letters, the journal of ASLE-UKI.

For further information, please contact the conference organiser, Professor Brycchan Carey; brycchan.carey@northumbria.ac.uk