Midwest Modern Language Association (M/MLA)
November 10-13, 2005*Milwaukee, WI
Panel Sponsored by the Association for the Study of Literature & Environment (ASLE):
"Identity in the Ecosystem: How Natures Contribute to the Construction of Selves"
Ecological transition zones, or "ecotones"—zones where two or more ecosystems meet—are some of the most biologically productive areas on the planet. Literary scholars have long been interested in our own favored brand of transition, employing concepts such as "slippage" and "the instability of the text." This ecological-literary transition zone suggests an exploration of another sort of duality: the varieties of identity-construction processes at work in characters whose experiences in nature differ diametrically. Such diameters could include work/leisure, East/West, mountain/valley (or forest/prairie, etc.), wilderness/city, youth/age, enslaved/free, and so on. This panel will consider several of these dichotomies and thus seek to gain an understanding of how membership in different ecosystems can contribute to the construction of different selves. Of particular interest are proposals that read a single character's experiences in two or more ecosystems or, in what might be the most productive approach and one that avoids the reductive binary, in two ecosystems and their ecotone, as well as those that draw on evolutionary psychology theory or theory from allied fields such as ecological or environmental psychology/anthropology, cognitive science, or human ecology. Please send 500-word abstracts by April 1, 2005 to the following e-mail address.
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