Call for Papers: Land, Landscape and Environment, 1500-1750

Reading University,  14  to 16 July, 2008

Current debates over the environment – and in particular over the exploitation or management of natural resources – find their origin in early modern discourses of mastery and stewardship. Man’s right and responsibility to exploit the Earth were confidently asserted. To what extent, though, were those who made their living from the countryside, and those who wrote about it, ambivalent about landscape change in the name of progress and improvement, whether in England, Scotland, Ireland, Europe, or in the American colonies? In what ways did land, landscape and environment give rise to struggles between the promoters and beneficiaries of agrarian capitalism and its victims? How did representations of land and environment develop in this period? What connections can we draw between literary and visual depictions of land and environment – whether as map, image, or text – and these ideas of mastery and control? And what does the recent turn towards ‘green politics’ in early modern literary studies suggest about the usefulness of twenty-first century political imperatives for an interrogation of the early modern past?  

Papers are invited on the following areas: plantation and colonisation as civilising process; agrarian capitalism and sustainable agriculture in theory and practice; topography and poetry, pastoral and georgic, the chorographical and country-house poem; enclosure, disafforestation and drainage: their advocates, opponents, practice and consequences; law, property rights and tenure; husbandry and husbandry manuals; the country house and its landscapes; horticulture and gardens; rivers; writing the land; artistic representations of landscape; cartography, maps and signs; the country and the city; parks; urban pastoral; travel, travel-writing, walking tours and sight-seeing. 

Proposals (max. 300 words) for 30 minute papers and a brief CV should be sent via email attachment by 1 February 2008 to Dr. Adam Smyth, School of English and American Literature, University of Reading,

Published in: on January 28, 2008 at 11:10 am  Leave a Comment  

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