Southeast Asian Literatures and the Anthropocene

By | June 13, 2021

Call for Papers: 4th ASLE-ASEAN Ecocritical Workshop-August 23-24, 2021

  • Organized by the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment –Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASLE-ASEAN) and the Department of English, Faculty of Modern Languages & Communication, Universiti Putra Malaysia

Deadline: 25th June 2021
Contact: Dr Agnes Yeow and Dr Florence Toh

In his seminal work “The Climate of History: Four Theses” (2009), the historian Dipesh Chakrabarty argues that the human condition has fundamentally changed and that our notions of what separates human and natural history are untenable given the realities of anthropogenic climate change. A decade later, this radical realisation continues to resonate with us as humanity finds itself grappling with a disruptive sense of time, space, and history. The Enlightenment, modernity, globalisation, decolonisation, the nation-state and a host of other historical, political, social, economic and cultural categories have all come under renewed intense scrutiny and interrogation in light of the climate crisis that we are living and experiencing on a daily basis. The core constructs of class, race and gender – so pivotal to the Humanities – are being reconsidered and reframed to reflect the conditions of the geological
epoch of our own making: the Anthropocene.

The Anthropocenic turn in the Humanities has seen a groundswell of wide-ranging theoretical, philosophical, cultural and ethical discourses and debates. As a critical concept, the Anthropocene has informed and shaped disciplines in both the Humanities and Sciences and created stimulating and innovative modes of inquiry. As a narrative, it can be argued that the Anthropocene has lain ‘dormant’ in the settings and dwellings of literary works and has only come to the fore through the strategic process of re-centring. More importantly, the social dimension of climate change and the Anthropocene necessitates a reassessment of literature to unearth the ways in which communities respond to or imagine climate change.

This conference poses questions such as “How do Southeast-Asian writers and cultural practitioners tell the story of climate change?” and “What creative strategies are deployed in narrating changes which occur over vast scales of time and space?” To what extent, if at all do Southeast-Asian writers engage with the Anthropocene and how is this shown in their writings? What is the difference between reading/narrating the Anthropocene in the Global South and the Global North in a world where inequalities abound especially with regards to carbon emissions and resource consumption?

We welcome submissions which focus on Southeast Asian writings and cultural expressions and how these engage – either explicitly or implicitly – with the Anthropocene both as a critical concept and as a lived reality. We are interested in papers that consider a plurality of themes, issues, methodologies, and areas of inquiry, including, but not limited to, the following:
● Climate fiction
● Foodscapes
● Landscapes
● Ecopoetics
● Sense of place and displacement: global, planetary, regional, national, communal, personal
● Environmentalisms
● Eco-philosophy and ethics
● Environmental justice
● Empire, imperialist ecology
● Postcolonial ecocriticism

● Environmental nostalgia
● Climate trauma
● Eco-cinema
● Speciesism
● The politics and identity of place in the Anthropocene
● Dystopia, utopia and speculative futures
● Indigenous ecologies
● Critical animal studies
● Critical plant studies
● Ecocritical geographies
● Science and technology
● The posthuman
● Material ecocriticism
● Trash, toxins, waste
● Soil
● Water
● Air
● The weather
● Bioregionalism
● The littoral
● Ecofeminism, gendered ecologies
● Eco-masculinity
● Disability and the environment
● Medical humanities
● The Capitalocene and the Plantationocene
● Environmental affect
● Eco-spirituality
● Ecocide
● Urban/rural dwellings
● Planetary consciousness
● Ecomedia
● Eco-psychology

Please submit abstracts (200-250 words) to by 25th June, 2021. Papers for presentation must not exceed 20 minutes in length.

For enquiries relating to the 4th ASLE-ASEAN Ecocritical Workshop, please email us at