Call for papers

Environmental Emotions: Tracking affects on page and screen
Ecocritical Network for Scandinavian Studies (ENSCAN) Workshop VI

The ecological crisis and other global crises are becoming increasingly intertwined. In Scandinavia, both the war in Ukraine and the intensifying climate crisis are causing distress and emotions that are difficult to handle. Many aspects of the current situation are standard themes in climate change fiction (Cli-Fi) and other works of fiction: wars, migration, and the manifold dynamics of the climate crisis. This ENSCAN workshop, hosted by the Finnish research project on empirical ecocriticism, will explore these themes in manifold ways. Empirical ecocriticism has emphasized the importance of studying the actual impacts of literature and other texts such as films, tv-series, and games. Various methods are used to explore the widely different reactions that texts may engender in readers. 

We call for papers that explore the theme of intertwined crises and their accompanying emotions using empirical ecocritical methods, as well as other relevant methodologies. A special interest of ours is the affective dimension of environmental issues, such as the much-discussed phenomena of “eco-anxiety” and “ecological grief”. The workshop aims to explore questions such as the following:

  • What is the state of research on empirical ecocriticism in Scandinavia? 
  • What kind of means or devices does Nordic environmental literature use in efforts to engage with readers? How does the current global and European situation resonate with themes in Nordic Cli-Fi and other literature?
  • What kinds of eco-emotions (or climate emotions) are depicted and dealt with in Nordic fiction and poetry? How do these emotions compare to those depicted in literature from other areas?
  • How can literature be used in practice to engage with eco-emotions in a constructive manner? (e.g. education, literature therapy)
  • What kind of imaginaries and narratives would be needed in practice in relation to global and regional crises? What is the role of literary depictions of utopias and dystopias about ecological futures in this regard?

The keynote speakers will approach related matters from both global and European perspectives. We are delighted to have two internationally recognized experts on empirical ecocriticism as our keynote speakers: Matthew Schneider-Mayerson and Wojciech Malecki (see the Keynote Speakers page). 

The heart of ENSCAN workshops has been the live communication and feeling of togetherness among the participants. This is why we aim for as strong on-site participation in Helsinki as possible, even while we recognize the ecological impact of conference travel and we endorse participants to offset their travel-related emissions. It is possible to follow the workshop online via Zoom, but the presentations by participants are asked to be given live in Helsinki. Thus, Enscan 2023 will be a hybrid workshop that will run both on-site and on-line.

Please send a proposal of roughly 300 words to before 14th March. Please mention if you are planning co-operation with some other presenters who also have made a proposal. Standard presentations will be 15-20 minutes, followed by discussion, but we are open to creative suggestions (e.g. dialogues, creative artistic methods in an academic frame). Proposals will be evaluated by the workshop committee and decisions will be made before the end of March. Registration will then open on 1st April.