Call for Special Issue of Interval(le)s on
"The Pastoral: New Trajectories in the Anthropocene"
“Pastoralism is a species of cultural equipment
that western thought has for more than two millennia
been unable to do without”
(Lawrence Buell, 1995).
Since its very beginning, Ecocriticism – and its so-called four “waves” – has highlighted the inextricable entanglement of the pastoral with Western perceptions, representations and conceptualizations of the environment (Buell 1995; 2005; Slovic 2010). The recent emergence and multiplication of analytical perspectives, theories, and neologisms related to this subject, including the ‘post-pastoral’ (Gifford, 1999), the ‘postmodern pastoral’ (Corey and Waldrep 2012), and the ‘necropastoral’ (McSweeney, 2015) has evidenced its absolute centrality in current debates on culture and the arts while interrogating problematic notions such as “wilderness” and “frontier” as well as the disorienting affective dimensions of the “abject” and the “sublime”. In addition, the relative cohesion of a plethora of different perspectives on the pastoral, when they attempt to move beyond traditional issues of nostalgia and escapism, corroborates the establishment of a new step within its long-standing evolution which should not be overlooked.
While ‘pastoral’ continues to remain a “contested term” considering the “bewildering variety of works” to which it has been attributed (Loughrey 8), Donna Haraway's urge to “stay with the trouble” (2016) invites scholars to engage with the intricacy of this notion through a transdisciplinary method inspired by new materialist trends and the “New New Synthesis” in arts which seeks to bring together human and nonhuman realities, practices and ecologies (63). And while Leo Marx first discussed ‘complex pastoral’ in the presence of a textual reference undermining the reader’s appreciation of the idyll (5-11) today, new aspects of pastoral complexity are called into account when reflecting on the epistemological stance advocated by the burgeoning field of the Environmental Humanities (Oppermann and Iovino, 2017). Such critical approaches can help us meet the imaginative challenges of representing and interpreting current crises, from climate change to global pandemics, with which the pastoral coexists and mutates, together with its contradictions and paradoxes.
In this regard, we are launching a new issue of Interval(le)s, the online journal of CIPA, dedicated to the exploration of emerging pastoral trajectories in contemporary culture, while creating a space of scholarly debate for new ways of interpreting, performing, and developing this concept, particularly in regard to how it negotiates the idea of the human-nonhuman relationship. Through this call, we invite studies that investigate new displays of the pastoral in fields of study, including literature, architecture, the visual arts, media, and advertisement. In addition, interest is also expressed in regard to research which, by adopting a more retrospective glance inspired by a renovated ecocritical hermeneutics, wishes to reevaluate the archive(s) of Western culture in regard to the many manifestations of the pastoral from Hesiod to our times.
The authors will be notified of abstract acceptance by February 1. Manuscripts (6000-7000 words including in-text MLA references and bibliography) are expected by April 30 (and revised manuscripts by June 18) for publication in September 2021.
Works Cited and References
Buell, Lawrence. The Environmental Imagination: Thoreau, Nature Writing, and the Formation of American Culture. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University PressHarvard University Press, 1995.
---. The Future of Environmental Criticism: Environmental Crisis and Literary Imagination. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2005.
Corey, Joshua, and G. C. Waldrep. The Arcadia Project: North American Postmodern Pastoral. Boise, Idaho: Ahsahta Press, 2012.
Farrier, David. “Toxic Pastoral: Comic Failure and Ironic Nostalgia in Contemporary British Environmental Theater.” Journal of Ecocriticism, 6.2, 2014, pp. 1-15.
Garrard, Greg. Ecocriticism. London: Routledge, 2004.
Gifford, Terry. Pastoral. London: Routledge. 1999.
---., Pastoral, Pastoral (2nd edition). New York: Routledge. 2020.
Haraway, Donna J. Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Durham, Duke University Press, 2016.
Hiltner, Ken. What Else is Pastoral?: Renaissance Literature and the Environment. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2016.
Lilley, Deborah. The New Pastoral in Contemporary British Writing, Cambridge: Routledge, 2019.
Loughrey, Bryan. The Pastoral Mode: A Casebook, London: Macmillan, 1984.
Love, Glen A. “Revaluing Nature: Towards an Ecological Criticism”. The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology, edited by Cheryll Glotfelty and Harold Fromm. London: University of Georgia Press, 1996, pp. 225–240.
Marx, Leo. The Machine in the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America, New York: Oxford University Press, 1964.
McSweeney, Joyelle. The Necropastoral. Poetry, Media, Occults, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 2015.
Oppermann, Serpil and Serenella Iovino. Environmental Humanities: Voices from the Anthropocene. New York: Rowman & Littlefield International, 2017.
Schliephake, Christopher, Brooke Holmes, and Serenella Iovino. Ecocriticism, Ecology, and the Cultures of Antiquity. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2017.
Slovic, Scott. “The Third Wave of Ecocriticism: North American Reflections on the Current Phase of the Discipline.” Ecozon@, 1.1, 2010, pp. 4-10.