ASLE 2007

June 12th, 2007
Scope of the Conference:

The 2007 biennial conference of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE) will officially begin with an evening reception and plenary on Tuesday, June 12, 2007. For the first time ASLE will be offering morning and afternoon pre-conference workshops and seminars (led by invited facilitators) on Tuesday to allow attendees to explore certain topics in greater depth. There is no cost for these pre-conference events, but advanced registration is required. The conference will officially end at noon on Saturday, June 16, 2007, following the general business meeting.


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ASLE 2007 Plenary Sessions

A List of Confirmed Speakers and Panel Discussions

Check back for additions to this exciting lineup.

Di Brandt is an award-winning Canadian poet, author of five collections of poetry: Now You Care (Toronto: Coach House, 2003), Jerusalem, beloved (Winnipeg: Turnstone, 1995), mother, not mother (Toronto: Mercury, 1992), Agnes in the sky (Winnipeg: Turnstone, 1990), and questions I asked my mother (Winnipeg: Turnstone, 1987). She has also published a collection of creative essays and a critical study of contemporary Canadian women?s writings. Her recent work also includes collaborations with musicians.

Cecelia Tichi, William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of English at Vanderbilt University, is author of Embodiment of a Nation: Human Form in American Spaces (Harvard UP, 2001), Shifting Gears: Technology, Literature, Culture in Modernist America (University of North Carolina Press, 1987), and New World: New Earth: Environmental Reform in American Literature from the Puritans through Whitman (Yale UP, 1979), among other books.

Joint plenary on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina:

Robert Bullard is Ware Professor of Sociology and Director of the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University. He is a leading expert in environmental justice, both in academic and political circles, and his numerous publications include Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class and Environmental Quality (Westview, 1990, 1994, 2000), Confronting Environmental Racism: Voices from the Grassroots (South End, 1993), Unequal Protection: Environmental Justice and Communities of Color (Sierra Club, 1994), and Just Sustainabilities (MIT, 2003).

John Biguenet is the Robert Hunter Distinguished Professor of English at Loyola University New Orleans and an award-winning writer. His series of columns about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, "Back to New Orleans," appeared in The New York Times in fall 2005. He is also the author of Oyster, a novel, (Ecco/HarperCollins) and The Torturer's Apprentice, a collection of stories (Ecco/HarperCollins). His fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in such publications as the Washington Post, Esquire, Granta, Story, Zoetrope: All-Story, DoubleTake, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, and Ploughshares.

Panel on the Carolina Coast:

Jan DeBlieu is the author of dozens of articles and essays about people and nature, which have appeared in publications including The New York TimesMagazine, Audubon, and Orion. Her books include Hatteras Journal (Fulcrum 1987), Meant to Be Wild (Fulcrum 1991) , which was a Nature Book Club main selection and was chosen by the Library Journal as one of the three best natural history books of the year, Wind (Houghton Mifflin, 1998; Shoemaker & Hoard 2006), and Year of the Comets: A Journey from Sadness to the Stars (Shoemaker & Hoard 2005). She is a longtime environmental activist.

Bland Simpson is the author of The Great Dismal, The Mystery of Beautiful Nell Cropsey, Into the Sound Country, and most recently, The Inner Islands. He teaches creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is also a member of The Red Clay Ramblers, the internationally acclaimed string band.

Ann Cary Simpson, a photographer, has collaborated with Bland on several of the publications listed above. Ann has worked for a number of conservation groups and is associate director of development for the Institute of Government in Chapel Hill.

Orion Magazine Panel on the New, New Environmental Writing

What's next for environmental writing? Who's redefining what it is and how it intersects with the rest of American culture? In this plenary panel, the editors of Orion magazine bring together several writers who are helping to inspire the kind of cultural change that is so desperately needed in the world today.

The moderator: H. Emerson Blake is editor-in-chief of Orion magazine, where he has been a member of the editorial staff for fourteen years. He has also served as editor for numerous book projects, including many during his two-year tenure as publisher for Milkweed Editions.

The panelists:

David Gessner is the author of several books, including The Prophet of Dry Hill, Sick of Nature, and Return of the Osprey (named one of the top ten nonfiction books of the year by the Boston Globe). In 2006 he won a Pushcart Prize. He taught environmental writing at Harvard and is currently an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. He is the Editor of the national literary journal Ecotone.

Pramila Jayapal is a writer, activist, and founder of Hate Free Zone Campaign of Washington, a grassroots nonprofit organization that was created in November 2001 in response to the backlash against immigrant communities of color. Her book Pilgrimage: One Woman's Return to a Changing India deals with her struggles to reconcile how she carries within her the many places she has lived. She resides in Seattle.

Derrick Jensen is the author of Endgame, The Culture of Make Believe, A Language Older than Words, Listening to the Land (a USA Today Critics Choice for one of the best nature books of 1995), and Railroads and Clearcuts. He writes for The New York Times Magazine, Audubon, and The Sun, among many others. He lives in northern California.

Ginger Strand's fiction and essays have appeared in Harper's, The Believer, The Iowa Review, The Gettysburg Review, Swink, Raritan, The New England Review, and Carolina Quarterly. She has received residency grants from The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the American Antiquarian Society, as well as a Tennessee Williams scholarship in fiction from the Sewanee Writers' Conference. She lives in New York City.

Panel on Home Ground: A Literary and Scientific Collaboration

In this plenary session, we?ll discuss the collaborative and interdisciplinary process of creating the book project Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape. A New York Times science columnist recently wrote that, "the book is a way of reclaiming the language that gives definition to landscape from the denatured terms of modern public discourse." Such a reclamation required four years, the imaginations of forty-five American writers?particularly their powers of descriptive and metaphorical expression?and the scientific thinking of the geographers, geomorphologists, folklorists, and linguists who made up our advisory board.

Home Ground?s writers each defined about twenty land and water terms, words such as Detroit rip rap, gore, looking glass prairie, nubble, yazoo, and zig-zag rocks, which represent human culture?s encounter with physical geography; our board members ensured a level of scientific accuracy essential to the book. As Home Ground?s editor Barry Lopez describes, the people who worked on the project "have come to feel that what we say now about landscape is critical to our economic and political future." The spirit of collaboration and the writers? and scientists? mutual respect for each others? imaginations inherent in Home Ground speak to the larger issue of citizenship, the ongoing inquiry into the nature of place, and the legacy of American writing that has beautifully woven place into narrative.

Moderating the discussion will be managing editor, Debra Gwartney with the following panel of contributing authors:

Luis Alberto Urrea is the author of the historical novel, The Hummingbird of God, as well as the nonfiction book, The Devil?s Highway. He is currently at work on two books of poetry, The Tijuana Book of the Dead, and Piedra; a novel, The House of Broken Angels; and film adaptations of previous books.

Elizabeth Cox is a writer and teacher who?s novels include Familiar Ground, The Ragged Way People Fall In And Out of Love,Night Talk, and The Slow Moon (2006, Random House). She has also written essays and poetry, and the short stories she has written have recently been collected and published in Bargains in the Real World.

Will Graf is the Educational Foundation Endowed Professor at the University of South Carolina, in the department of geography, where he specializes in fluvial geomorphology. He is the author of many articles and books including Fluvial Processes in Dryland Rivers, and is the recipient of the John Wesley Powell Award from the U.S. Geological Survey, as well as the Founder's Medal of the Royal Geographical Society, from Her Majesty, Queen of Great Britain and the Royal Geographical Society, 2001.

Jan DeBlieu (see above)