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American Literature Association Conference

CFP: Thoreau Society
American Literature Association Conference
Boston, May 23-29, 2019

The Thoreau Society is pleased to sponsor two sessions at the American Literature Association Conference in 2019 in Boston.

Thoreau and Political Ecology: Thoreau is long established as one of the nineteenth century’s most powerful spokespersons for abolitionism and civil disobedience as well as a founder of the U.S. environmental movement, but these two strains in his work have typically been read separately. This panel seeks papers that expand on recent efforts to weave them together. How might Thoreau’s writing be understood as an effort to build a coherent theory of social and environmental justice? How did Thoreau’s intense studies of local environments – in and around Concord, in Maine, on Cape Cod and elsewhere – shed light on broader political conflicts driven by resource competition and ecoscarcity? How did his personal politics of simplicity connect to the larger economic and environmental transformations in the antebellum United States? How do more recent ideas in environmental criticism and political ecology – biopolitics, systems thinking, virtue ethics and the new materialism – help us better appreciate Thoreau’s own attempts to theorize and put into practices the interrelations of the political and the natural? Please send 300-word abstracts for 20-minute presentations by January 15, 2019, to John J. Kucich at

Teaching Thoreau: As a both a college student and as a new teacher, Thoreau was, famously, unsatisfied with the traditional teaching methods of his day, yet he remained devoted to education (both of himself and of others) for the rest of his life. This roundtable seeks brief presentations that explore pedagogical approaches to the writings and teachings of Thoreau. We welcome submissions that describe innovative ways of teaching Thoreau in and beyond the university as well as new considerations of Thoreau’s own efforts to reimagine education. How did Thoreau’s own long engagement with education and reform in the nineteenth century shape his work? And how can his work help us reimagine education in our own time? Please send 100-200-word abstracts for 10-minute presentations by January 15, 2019, to John J. Kucich at

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Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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