The Environment and Human Migration: Rethinking the Politics of Poetry
University of Bamberg, November 25-26, 2016
This Conference explored the links between environmental and migratory issues, while rethinking the relationship between poetics, ethics, and politics. Papers discussed poetry that engages the environment and human migration in historically informed, conceptually complex, and aesthetically innovative ways, and in doing so considered the following questions:
- How do poems that address the nonhuman world and human mobility together approach questions of environmental crisis and globalization?
- How do poems with a keen interest in mobility as well as the environment rethink ideals of cosmopolitanism and world citizenship?
- How do poems conceptualize the ways in which migratory movements affect the perception and re-imagination of people's relationship to the nonhuman environment, and vice versa?
- In what ways do poems interested in the natural world and migratory movements re-negotiate the ideals of place and sense of place that traditional ecocriticism and Western environmentalism at large tend to celebrate?
- How have experiences of migration, displacement, diaspora and exile shaped the traditions of 'nature poetry', 'environmental poetry' and 'eco-poetry'-genres commonly associated with ideals of local attachment and modes such as the pastoral?
- What are the environmental implications of poetry about 'placelessness'?
- How can the category of 'non-places' that is often used to conceptualize airports or highways be rethought through poetry that is invested in mobility as well as the natural environment?
- How can poetry, or specific subgenres like the elegy, approach these issues in different ways that prose, or other forms of literary fiction and nonfiction, and what are the implications of such a mobile environmental poetics?
The conference is linked to the DFG Research Project "The Environmental Imagination of Mobility: Nature and Migration in Contemporary American Poetry" and was generously supported by the German Association for American Studies (GAAS/DGfA) and the Bavarian American Academy (BAA).