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Eco-conference on Ecological Migrations and Transcultural Ethics

The Department of English (SFS)
Madras Christian College (Autonomous), Chennai, Tamil Nadu
organizes an Eco-conference on

Ecological Migrations and Transcultural Ethics

Concept Note

“… the wind began to tug fiercely at my clothes. Stealing a glance over the parapet, I saw, to my astonishment, that my surroundings had been darkened by a churning cloud of dust. In the dim glow that was shining down from above, I saw an extraordinary panoply of objects flying past — bicycles, scooters, lamp posts, sheets of corrugated iron, even entire tea stalls. … Long afterwards, I am not sure exactly when or where, I hunted down the Times of India’s New Delhi edition of March 18. I still have the photocopies I made of it. “30 Dead,” says the banner headline, “700 Hurt As Cyclone Hits North Delhi.”          

                                                                     — Amitav Ghosh, The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable

Ghosh’s imagery of the cyclone that hit Delhi on March 17, 1978 establishes that climate change is real and is everywhere. The devastating, stormy “movement” of the debris of a flood or a wind, in this fascinating description, is not only experiential but also a metaphorical “movement” of affected communities, their memory and culture towards scattered locations and further formations and assimilation. This environmental “movement” brings about various entangled problems such as forced travel and migration, social evils such as racial and religious hatred, trafficking, poverty, loss of land and respect, lack of job opportunities, weak land rights and lack of empowerment. To discuss these entangled problems the organizers of the conference invite “every kind of warrior …” (Arundhati Roy, The Cost of Living) ―the multi-disciplinarians―to critically analyse social, cultural, literary and cinematic texts of various regions and continents using theories and methods from their own and relevant other disciplines.

The aim of the conference is to expand the pluralistic and multidisciplinary debate on ecological migrations in the epoch of Anthropocene and resultant cultural transformations. South Asia is highly vulnerable to climate change. According to UN reports, 8 million people were adversely affected by floods in Bangladesh alone; 1.7 million in Nepal and 31million people in India, excluding the recent devastating flood in the State of Kerala, during the past 10 years (https://news.un.org/en/). This is not to mention the effects of slow and structural violence such as pollution, land degradation, deforestation, soil erosion, desertification and climate warming. In the light of these troublesome statistics, humanitarians and social scientists understand climate change, ecological degradation and the resultant migration as primarily a matter of “a crisis of culture” “not just a crisis of nature” (Amitav Ghosh). The crisis of culture is complicated by social and political implications as well. For instance, ecological migration affects men, women and other genders differently. In that sense, ecological migration is a gendered process. A few questions would help the scholars understand the nexus between ecological migration, culture and gender. How do gender roles apply in the context of ecological migration? How different is the affect of ecological migration on men, women and other genders? How does ecological migration create a forced trans-identity of genders? How would one look at ecological migration from a gender-perspective? What gender, culture and environment theories would one employ to understand the complexity of the context? How do representations reflect differentiated power relations in the landscape of climate change related displacement and migration?

            The ethics of ecological migration works at different levels―from the causes of the slow degradation of a region to the ethics of cultural formations of the ecological migrants. If ecological migrants are forced to move out of their homes due to explicit ecological and implicit socio-cultural reasons, it is also worthwhile to understand how ecological degradation affects people who are not forced to leave their homes. Scholars may identify cultural texts―literary, cinema, new media, popular media―to apply postcolonial, class, caste, gender and ecocritical approaches to cultural representations and realities of ecological migration/degradation.

Sub-themes

  • Ecological migration and culture
  • Historical ecological migration studies
  • Migration studies and affect
  • Material migration studies
  • Ecological migration and ethics
  • Representations of ecological migration/degradation in literature and cinema
  • Floods, drought, climate warming, and vulnerable communities
  • Indigenous communities and climate change
  • Gender, migration and climate change
  • Food systems and transcultures
  • Changing urban and rural landscapes
  • Ecological representations of land, forest, deserts and water in cultural texts
  • Ecological wisdom in songs and rituals
  • Adequacies of ecological laws security and policies
  • Trans-identities of ecological migrants
  • Ecological migrants and/verses settlers

Call for Papers

Abstracts not exceeding 300 words should be sent in the format given below (only on M.S. word document) and emailed to ecoethicsconference@gmail.com before 31 December 2018 for acceptance. The contributors will be informed of the acceptance of the abstract by 20 January 2019. Full papers, not exceeding fifteen pages (4000-8000 words) and typed in single space in A4, following MLA style sheet, should be submitted by 28 February 2019. Kindly note that a maximum of 100 papers will be selected for presentation. Selected papers may be published in the form of a book with a renowned International publisher and special edition of a reputed journal.

Registration

The delegates who would like to attend and present a paper in the conference will be charged a registration fee.

Delegate Registration (with accommodation): Rs. 4500
Delegate Registration (without accommodation): Rs. 3000
(Note: Employed research scholars belong to the above category)
Fulltime Student Registration (with accommodation): Rs. 3500
Fulltime Student Registration (without accommodation): Rs. 2000
Foreign Delegate: 100 US Dollars

(The registration fee covers the conference kit, lunch and tea for two days and participation in all sessions including the film screenings.)

Mode of Payment

Payment shall be by DD in favour of “The Bursar, Madras Christian College” payable at Chennai, or by following the relevant links on the website of the college: https://mcc.edu.in

The DD Can be sent to the following address:

Prof. Daniel David
Head,Department of English and Conference Convener
Department of English Language and Literature (SFS)
Madras Christian College Tambaram, Chennai – 600059

Accommodation

Accommodation to paper presenters will be arranged on request. Please note that the rooms will be allotted on sharing basis. Kindly note that there are only limited rooms and so it will be made available only on a first-come-first-served basis.

About Madras Christian College (Autonomous)

Madras Christian College traces its origin to the General Assembly school founded by the Rev. John Anderson, a Missionary from the Church of Scotland on 3rd April 1837. Anderson was a pioneer in introducing English medium education in South India. Rev. William Miller who arrived in 1862 upgraded the school to a college by adding F.A. and B.A., courses in 1865 and 1867. Along with a few other Protestant Missions in Madras, Miller transformed the institution and named it ‘Madras Christian College’ on 1st January 1877. Miller was succeeded by worthy leaders like Professors Skinner, E.M. Macphail, Meston and Hogg.

Due to rapid expansion the college moved from George Town, Chennai to a 400-acre campus in Tambaram in 1937.

The College at the moment has 64 Departments in various disciplines functioning in both Aided and Self-Financed Streams. Madras Christian College has consistently been ranked one of the top ten colleges in the country by the India Today and The Week ranking systems and the NIRF ranking. The college has been awarded College with Potential for Excellence by UGC.

About Department of English (SFS), Madras Christian College

The Department of English (SFS) was introduced in 1999 to offer Part II English papers to students of all disciplines. It began to offer an undergraduate programme, B.A. in English Language and Literature, during the academic year 2014-2015. The programme was approved as equivalent to the B.A. English offered by the University of Madras. The department has 11 faculty members and 150 students.

Important Dates

Deadline for Abstract Submission: 31 December 2018

(Please send your abstract in the prescribed registration form, which can be downloaded from the bottom of this page)
Abstract acceptance intimation: 20 January 2019
Deadline for Registration: 28 February 2019
Deadline for Paper Submission: 28 February 2019

(Please send the Originality statement, which can be downloaded from the bottom of this page, along with the paper)

Inquiries: For any logistical and academic queries, contact:

Mr. K. Samuel Moses Srinivas (Assistant Professor, Dept. of English (SFS), Madras Christian College, Chennai)
Email:  sammoses23@gmail.com
Mobile Number: 9677264394

Ms. Subarna De (Assistant Professor, Dept. of English (SFS), Madras Christian College, Chennai)
Email:  subarnade@gmail.com
Mobile Number: 9159676157

Academic Advisors

Prof. Nirmal Selvamony, Professor, Department of English, School of Social Sciences, Central University of Tamil Nadu, Thiruvarur, India

Prof. Scott Slovic, Professor, Department Chair, Department of English, College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences, University of Idaho, USA

Prof. Ursula K. Heise, Professor, Marcia H. Howard Chair in Literary Studies, Department of English, Institute of the Environment & Sustainability, University of California, USA

Prof. Joni Adamson, Professor, Environmental Humanities, Department of English
Director, Environmental Humanities Certificate, Arizona State University, USA

Prof. Patrick D. Murphy, Professor, Department of English, University of Central Florida, USA

Prof. Simon C. Estok, Professor, Department of English, Language and Literature, College of Liberal Arts, Sungkyunkwan University, South Korea

Prof. Gordon Walker, Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, UK

Prof. Serpil Oppermann, Professor at Department of English and Literature, Hacettepe University, Turkey, and Vice President, EASLCE (European Association for the Study of Literature, Culture and the Environment

Prof. Patrick Brereton, Head of the School, School of Communications, Dublin City University, Ireland

Prof. Chia-Ju Chang, Associate Professor, Modern Languages and Literatures, Brooklyn College, The City University of New York, USA

Prof. T. Ravi Chandran, Professor of English, Department of HSS, IIT Kanpur, India
Dr. Yalan Chang, Assistant Professor, Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, Huafan University, Taiwan

Prof. D. Narasimhan, Associate Professor of Botany, Madras Christian College, Chennai, India

Prof. Serenella Iovino, Professor of Comparative Literature, University of Turin, Italy

Prof. Mark C. Long, Professor, Director of the Integrative Studies Program, Keene State College, USA

Prof. Salma Monani, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies, Gettysburg College, USA

Prof. S. Ravi Rajan, Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Studies at the University of Santa Cruz in Santa Cruz, California

Conference Committee

Patron:

Dr. R.W. Alexander Jesudasan, Principal, Madras Christian College

Conference Convener: 

Mr. Daniel J. David, Head, Department of English (SFS), Madras Christian College

Organizing Secretary:

Mr. K. Samuel Moses Srinivas, Assistant Professor, Department of English (SFS), Madras Christian College

Organizing Committee:

Ms. Indumati S., Assistant Professor, Department of English (SFS), Madras Christian College

Ms. Esther Hebrews, Assistant Professor, Department of English (SFS), Madras Christian College

Ms. Lavanya M., Assistant Professor, Department of English (SFS), Madras Christian College

Ms. Hemalatha N.N., Assistant Professor, Department of English (SFS), Madras Christian College

Ms. Eunice Catherine, Assistant Professor, Department of English (SFS), Madras Christian College

Mr. Irwin Varughese, Assistant Professor, Department of English (SFS), Madras Christian College

Ms. Pavithra Mahendran, Assistant Professor, Department of English (SFS), Madras Christian College

Ms. Bersiya Grace, Assistant Professor, Department of English (SFS), Madras Christian College

Ms. Subarna De, Assistant Professor, Department of English (SFS), Madras Christian College

Mr. Nevis Vannan, Assistant Professor, Department of English (SFS), Madras Christian College

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