GIECO research group held its fifth research seminar in San Vicente de la Barquera (Cantabria). Since the topic of the seminar was the sea, GIECO members travelled to this small town by the Cantabrian Sea from September 22th to September 25th. During these four days there were presentations about literary images of the sea, the sea as a metaphor, sea creatures and how humans relate to them, or about the relationship between humans and the sea. The different presentations included authors from several countries and different periods, thus achieving a general overview of the sea in literature. During the seminar, other issues were also dealt with, such as the imminent presentation of the manuscript of the book, La Montaña: Realidad y Simbología as the first volume of the CLYMA series within the “Biblioteca Benjamin Franklin” of the Franklin Institute (University of Alcalá), the characteristics and due dates for the articles of the second volume Sense of Place, and possible perspectives for a book on the sea. The organization of the fifth EASLCE Conference, that will take place in Tenerife at the end of June 2012, was also discussed as well as a possible pedagogical project. The seminar also included a field trip to the Parque Natural de Oyambre, where some regional guides offered information on the native fauna and flora.
University of Bath (UK), September 1-4, 2010
EASLCE celebrated its fourth biennial conference together with the association ASLE-UK at the University of Bath (United Kingdom). Organized by Axel Goodbody and Greg Garrard, the conference was attended by more than 170 people from different countries. The plenary speakers were Professor Sidney Dobrin (University of Florida), Dr. Georgina Endfield (University of Nottingham), Dr. Timo Maran (University of Tartu) and Professor Robert Watson (UCLA). There were several simultaneous sessions on a great variety of topics such as “Climate Change: Representation and Discourse,” “Dystopias and Science Fiction,” “Ecopoetry,” “Ecopedagogy,” “Postcolonial and Indigenous Literatures,” “Writing Nature in a Changing Environment,” “Ecocinecriticism,” “Environmental Justice,” or “Foreign Languages, Education and the Environment,” among others. At the annual EASLCE meeting, elections for both the executive committee and the advisory board took place and Carmen Flys Junquera was elected EASLCE president, whereas some members of GIECO are also part of EASLCE’s advisory board.
The research group GIECO held at the University of Alcalá its fourth research seminar, entitled “Sense of Place in a Changing World.” The seminar started the Thursday September 30th with the plenary lecture “Re-Scaling Geo-Loyalty: Sidestepping the Local-Global Impasse?” offered by professor Scott Slovic (University of Nevada), one of the most important ecocritical figures at a global level. After that, the Spanish writer Jorge Riechmann presented the book Ecocríticas.Literatura y Medio Ambiente, the result of several years of research of the group GIECO, and the first book on literature and ecocriticism published in Spain. Later on, the poets Julia Barella, Jorge Riechmann, Estela Calderón and Steven White, among others, entertained the participants with a poetic reading of several of their works. On Friday, several sessions took place with a total of eight people presenting their research on the idea of sense of place in several literary works written in English, French and Spanish. That same day, professor Axel Goodbody (University of Bath) gave his lecture on “Place Belonging in a Post-modern World”. Finally, on Saturday, the seminar participants enjoyed a field trip to the Parque de los Cerros de Alcalá, allowing them to know the flora and fauna of the area, and also to share their views on the seminar. On Saturday afternoon, the meeting of GIECO took place and it was then when the members commented on the conclusions of the seminar and on future projects of the group.
GIECO held their annual seminar in the “Parque Nacional de Las Cañadas del Teide” from March 12th to 14th, 2010. The aim of this seminar was twofold. On the one hand, the scholars presented their works in progress during debate sessions as an exercise of exchanging their different perspectives about the mountain as a cultural and literary archetype. On the other hand, the members of the group had the opportunity to learn and discuss about the cultural meaning and implications of the Teide landscape. The seminar also became a useful tool to identify common fields of research among the members of the group, with special attention to the literary representation of the mountain.
Several members of the GIECO research group attended the conference “New Grounds: Ecocritism, Globalization and Cultural Memory” organized by Astrid Bracke and Marguérite Corporaal at Radboud University (Nijmegen). The conference enabled researchers on ecocriticism from all over the world to debate on ecocritical issues from a variety of approaches. There were around forty lectures, with delegates from at least fifteen countries. The different sessions covered a wide range of topics such as: architecture, visual arts, ecopoetics, transgressing boundaries, sense of place, nostalgia, apocalypse, material culture, animals, postcolonialism or globalization. Greg Garrard, Richard Kerridge, Serenella Iovino and Catrin Gersdorf were the plenary speakers, and there was also a plenary round table entitled “Ecocriticism in Europe.” Five representatives of five different European countries, chaired by Carmen Flys Junquera, offered an interesting overview of the state of ecocriticism in Europe.
The second seminar of the GIECO research group was held in Huéscar (Granada) from October 22th to October 25th. Patrick Murphy, a well-known expert on ecrociticism and ecofeminism and also a member of GIECO, attended the seminar and offered a lecture entitled: “An Ecological Feminist Revisioning of the Masculinist Sublime.” He also took part in the different activities made during the seminar: the study of different ecocritical theories about space, the analysis and debate of Barbara Kinksolver’s novel The Poisonwood Bible, and the field trip to the Sierra de la Sagra and the Cerrada de Catril. Murphy’s participation enriched the debate and favored the creation of joint projects.
Once again, the GIECO research group participated in the AEDEAN annual conference, which celebrated its 32nd year, in November 2008 in Palma de Mallorca. With Juan Ignacio Oliva as chair, the round table discussion “Eco-Alterity: ‘Scaping’ Difference in American Literature” was formed by Carmen Flys, Begoña Simal, Diana Villanueva and Irene Sanz. The main theme of the discussion was how the idea of otherness is expressed through landscape in the works of several American writers such as James Baldwin and Rudolfo Anaya, Shawn Wong, Daniel Quinn and Octavia Butler.
The GIECO research group took part in the Ecocriticism Seminar held on November 25th 2008 in the Faculty of Arts of the University of Oporto (FLUP). Representing GIECO, Dr.Montserrat López Mújica presented a study entitled: “Lectura ecocrítica de la novela Derborence de C.F. Ramuz.” The aim of this Seminar was to acquaint Portuguese scholars with this literary school and to open a future debate. For this purpose, specialists on different literatures (in French, Spanish and English) and on criticism were invited from France and Spain, countries where this theory is gaining more supporters.
For the past few centuries, and especially during the 19th Century, the contemplation of landscape has been the source of artistic inspiration. In the 21st Century, landscape has become a concern and an issue of socio-political debate, as illustrated by the European Landscape Convention, Florence 2000. The environmental experts of the Convention included the cultural dimensions of landscape in their definition: “Landscape refers to an area perceived by people, whose character is the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors”. Therefore, landscape is “the geological, ecological and cultural characteristics that can be perceived in a natural scene”. Perception, a key issue, directs us to the fields of Humanities and the Arts. The theme of the 3rd EASLCE Conference focuses on the role of landscape representation and perception, by studying its development in literature as well as in other arts. More specifically, we hope to put forth a new perspective in the socio-political debate by illustrating how the artistic and philosophical language has also represented (and continues to do so) the close link and relationship between human and non-human beings. This artistic discourse not only illustrates these relationships, but also influences and shapes perceptions and attitudes, and is thus, crucial in fostering environmental awareness.
GIECO will have their annual seminar in “Parque Nacional de Monfragüe” from April 4th to 6th, 2008. The aim of this seminar is twofold. On the one hand, the scholars will make a presentation of their work in progress in debate sessions as an exercise of exchanging their different perspectives. On the other hand, since ecocriticism rejects traditional disciplinary barriers -between sciences and arts above all- and is committed to environmental activism, there will be a lecture given by a scientist and walks along the park to broaden the environmental knowledge and awareness of the group. Another objective for this seminar is the identification of possible common fields of research among the members of the group.
The research group GIECO organized a panel discussion in the 31st AEDEAN Conference held in November 2007 in A Coruña. The round table, “Ecofeminism: Essentialism, Shared Experience or Quintessential Environmentalism?” was chaired by Carmen Flys participants were Margarita Carretero, Diana Villanueva, Imelda Martín and Irene Sanz. The concept of ecofeminism was analysed in this round table, first from a theoretical point of view and then the conclusions were applied to actual examples such as the novel Desert Blood by Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Dawn by Octavia Butler and the PETA association campaigns against the use of animal skin.