ASLE announces twelfth biennial conference
The Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE) announces its twelfth biennial conference, "Rust/Resistance: Works of Recovery," to be held at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, June 20-24, 2017. The conference has been organized by faculty and staff at Wayne State, University of Michigan, and Oakland University, in partnership with the national leadership of ASLE.
ASLE seeks to inspire and promote intellectual work in the environmental humanities and arts. Our vision is an inclusive community whose members are committed to environmental research, education, literature, art and service, environmental justice, and ecological sustainability.
The 2017 conference brings together scholars, artists, and activists to celebrate the nature of the Rust Belt and the Great Lakes, and to ask critical environmental questions. "Rust/Resistance: Works of Recovery," the conference theme, reflects its host city, highlighting the struggle for environmental justice embodied by Detroit and its people. Plenary speakers, including poet Ross Gay, MacArthur fellow Tiya Miles, and other prominent activists and scholars, will address issues such as Detroit and the history of abolition, the place of humor in environmentalism, the legacy of Henry David Thoreau, and the evolution of the Digital Humanities.
ASLE co-president Anthony Lioi, associate professor of Liberal Arts at the Juilliard School, explains that the organization chose Detroit as the conference site for many reasons, including the city's legendary artistic heritage, its central role in American industrial history, and its struggles against environmental injustice. These histories will feature in conference seminars and workshops on a variety of topics, including Indigenous Studies, Ecocinema, and the environmental humanities in secondary education. Field trips will bring participants to a range of relevant sites around Detroit, such as the Lake St. Clair Metropark Field Station, Forgotten Harvest, the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, and the Belle Isle Aquarium and Laboratory.
Some conference events are free and open to the public. On Wednesday, June 20, a special panel on "Detroit Water Wars: Empire and Ecology in the Postindustrial Heartland" will draw local scientists, activists, and poets into conversation. Midtown businesses, galleries, and arts organizations, such as Source Booksellers, Motor City Brewery, the Simone DeSousa Gallery, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, and the Scarab Club, will host live music, poetry, and experimental film for the "Cultural Crawl" on Thursday, June 22. A free screening and discussion of the film Watermark (2014, Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky) will be held at the Detroit Film Theater on Friday, June 23.