Wrack Zone: Call for Papers, Panels, and Other Presentations; ALECC Biennial Conference

Via Michelle Bastian on EEHN

Hello all,

On behalf of the local organizing committee for the 2018 ALECC conference, being held 20-23 June 2018 on the traditional lands of the Songhees and Esquimalt people at the University of Victoria, I’m pleased to launch the CFP for our conference! We’re grateful to the ALECC executive that we will have this opportunity.

Our theme for 2018 is “Wrack Zone,” and our submission deadline is September 20, 2017. Please help to distribute the CFP widely: I’ve pasted the full text under my signature line below (and attached a PDF that I suspect the listserv will strip away, in which case please email me for a copy if you’d like one).

We encourage submissions from any and all disciplines and discourses, taking the terms “wrack” or “wrack zone” either literally or metaphorically: biological inputs of seaweed to coastal ecosystems; fiction whose action takes place in or near the sea; sites of pain resulting from cultural flux; the ebbing and flooding of political systems or poetic genres….

Individual submissions are of course welcome, but we encourage potential attendees to consider reaching out to potential collaborators you may or may not know. I’ve always found members of the broad ALECC community ready to be generous with their thoughts and time, so please don’t feel isolated even if this would be your first ALECC event. (And if you’re looking for suggestions about who to contact and how, please feel free to check in with me, and someone on the organizing committee will try to help.)

As with past ALECC conferences, the Friday afternoon will be devoted to field trips of various kinds. Accommodations are available on campus, though we will have a conference hotel downtown as well. Finally, we intend to provide only vegetarian food service during the conference, though other options will be available from the university’s many food outlets.

I should note that our conference website is not yet live, but we anticipate that it will be within the next couple of weeks: our conference email address, though, is ALECC2018@uvic.ca. Stay tuned, and we look forward to hearing from you and to hosting you in June 2018!


Richard Pickard, Ph.D.

University of Victoria

Assistant Teaching Professor, Dept. of English


Wrack Zone

Call for Papers, Panels, and Other Presentations

ALECC Biennial Conference

20-23 June 2018, University of Victoria

Traditional lands of the Songhees and Esquimalt peoples

Association for Literature, Environment, and Culture in Canada

Wrack (n., v.)
ruination, destruction, subversion (e.g., “wrack and ruin”) items washed up from the open sea (e.g., “wrack zone”): kelp, plastics, feathers, bodies -ed with guilt, pain, sobs (e.g., “nerve-wracking”): affect, emotion  

The phrase “wrack zone” refers to the shifting region just above the high-tide line, where seaweed, woody debris, and floating objects of all kinds are deposited by waves: the collective noun for all those objects is “wrack.” (“Wrack” is also sometimes used for similar collections washing up in rivers and lakes, and on agricultural lands for weeds, vegetable refuse, roots and similar materials.)

The ocean’s wrack zone is where things wash up from elsewhere, but while this might imply a sort of ending, in fact the wrack zone is a profoundly vital site of ongoing materiality. Biologically, for example, wrack is an extraordinarily valuable part of shoreline ecosystems, supporting up to 40% of a beach’s invertebrates, which are a crucial food source for virtually all shorebirds. The wrack zone, as well, is where the detritus of global traffic ends up and takes on ambivalent forms, and represents a philosophically and aesthetically generative space.

With this in mind, the 2018 ALECC conference invites submissions that respond thoughtfully to the term “wrack,” be those submissions practical, creative, theoretical, scientific, or critical.

Behind all of our thinking about this conference theme is the idea of something like transformative resilience amid the ruins of capitalism. However, we are mindful that—as Kate Driscoll Derickson has recently argued—“resilience talk directs our attention toward a social formation that is uninspiring in its emphasis on enduring the effects of the very processes we ought to be focused on transforming” (City 20.1, Feb. 2016). After all, sustainability of the current system cannot be desirable for or desired by those who wish to build more equitable global human and ecological relations: hence, wrack and transformation.

We have elected not to provide the traditional list of diverse areas of interest related to the theme. Instead, although we welcome individual submissions, we encourage potential attendees to seek connections with each other both before you submit proposals and after the final schedule is released. It is our preference that as many presentations as possible will speak to each other, so that it becomes both an interdisciplinary and a collaborative event focused on collective learning.

Although past ALECC conferences have tended to emphasize literary and cultural questions, we are actively seeking presentations from multiple disciplines and discourses. Our local organizing committee contains representatives from Geography, Law, Writing, and Environmental Studies, along with English.

To propose an individual paper, creative or other work, including a reading (20 minutes), please submit a blind (no name included) proposal that includes a title; a 250- to 500-word abstract; your preference for a scholarly, creative or mixed session; and any requests for audio-visual equipment. In a separate document, please send name, proposal title, current contact information, and a one-page curriculum vitae (used for funding applications).

To propose a pre-formed scholarly panel or creative session (three presenters for a 90-minute session), please submit as a complete package the following:

  • session title
  • 200-word session abstract
  • one-page curriculum vitae and contact information for the session organizer and each presenter
  • 250- to 500-word blind abstracts for each paper/presentation.

To propose some other kind of format or presentation (e.g., workshops, roundtables, exhibits, performances), please contact the organizing committee in advance of the September 30 deadline to discuss proposal submission requirements.

Proposals should indicate clearly the nature of the session and all requests for audio-visual equipment and any other specific needs (e.g., space, moveable chairs, outdoor location, etc.). We ask that panel organizers attempt to include a diversity of participants (e.g., not all from the same institution).

Proposals must be submitted by September 30, 2017, to ALECC2018@uvic.ca.

Official submissions should include the word SUBMISSION, the abstract type (panel, paper, other), and your (or the panel proposer’s) name in the email subject line: SUBMISSION paper Gayatri Spivak, for example, or SUBMISSION panel Jon Gordon. We will acknowledge all submissions within 3 days of receipt.

Any general questions or queries for the organizing committee should include the word QUERY in the email subject line: QUERY accommodations, for example, or QUERY allergies.


1 thought on “Wrack Zone: Call for Papers, Panels, and Other Presentations; ALECC Biennial Conference

  1. Pingback: Wrack Zone: Call for Papers, Panels, and Other Presentations; ALECC Biennial Conference | A blog about the environmental (ecological) arts & humanities

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