Environment and the City
A publication devoted to the topic “Environment and the City” is considered, as a follow-up to the workshop held in Grenoble on Sept. 14, 2012 – initiated by CEMRA, the Centre for the Study of the Modes of Representation in English-Speaking Countries (EA 3016, Stendhal University - Grenoble 3) funded by Region Rhone-Alpes (within the framework of ARC 3),. The publication will study the different representations associated with cities, environment and the various interactions between the two in Australian and Canadian literature and history. These geographical areas were initially settler colonies, and thus came into existence through an appropriative relationship to “local” space, a conquest that was also undertaken symbolically, as well as in literature. Our project will shed light on the various issues raised by the confrontation of the concepts of cities and environment, and is aimed at researchers whose fields are urbanization and development, in French and English.
As far as history is concerned, one of the topics could be the issue of sharing space, whether within cities (urban constructions, public gardens, housing, meeting places…) or without (the suburbs, the country…). A natural development of this idea is the study of the geographical, social and historical boundaries that have shaped “modern” Australian and/or Canadian cities – modern being a loaded word, as readers of Habermas know. Subject matters such as geography, city planning, climatology, among others, are within the scope of this call for publications. Another point of interest could be the consequences of the modern economic exploitation of spaces and territories on rural and/or indigenous traditions. The general impression is that spaces are gnawed away by cities; the former are supposed to be more natural or less tame (e. g. the exploitation of tar sands in the Province of Alberta in Canada, or the uranium and gold mines in Australia). This could also be a topic of interest. It is noteworthy that these various frontiers have a great influence on the ways in which city dwellers, or people living in the suburbs, perceive and conceive time and duration: how do the daily commutes in countries larger than what is customary in Europe impact their inhabitants’ sense of time, what representations of urban space and traffic are entailed by inner-city means of transportation designed to protect people from the biting cold of Canadian winters.
In literature, ecocriticism has begun to play a very important role today and many books testify to its dynamic approach. In his book entitled Ecocriticism (2004), Greg Garrard dwells on the relationship between humans and their environment in various literary texts. His approach is twofold: on the one hand, the texts he analyzes were inspired by Romanticism or Transcendentalism, which aim at establishing a harmonious relationship between living organisms and their environment; on the other hand, they belong to dystopias and their speculative narratives which depict decrepit worlds that have been destroyed by technological breakthroughs, the results of which often lead to the rupture between living beings and the environment. However, ecocriticism, which is being debated along with environmental activism, should not be considered the only approach insofar as the environment and the notion of space in its broadest sense are scrutinized in many theoretical texts written by Bachelard (La poétique de l’espace, 1957), Leo Marx (The Machine in the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America, 1964), Baudrillard (Le système des objets, 1968) and even Bourdieu (Langage et pouvoir symbolique, 2001). Even if the book we plan on publishing will aim at problematizing the various types of relationships between the realm of living beings and the environment as a space which is “around” us, this notion can also be understood in a broader sense, as social, political or ideological environments.
Submissions for papers including an abstract (300 words) and a short bio-bibliographical note should be sent by April 15, 2013 to the organizers, Cyril Besson (Cyril.Besson@u-grenoble3.fr) and André Dodeman (firstname.lastname@example.org). Acceptance of proposals will be notified by the end of April. Papers can be written in English or French and shall not exceed 6000 words. If your proposal is selected by the committee, you will have until July 15, 2013, to send us your final draft.
Stendhal University - Grenoble 3
UFR de Langues
1180 Avenue Centrale
38400 St Martin d'Heres Email: email@example.com
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