The following panel has been approved by 2015 ACLA annual conference secretariat. Those interested please contact xinning13[at]jlu[dot]edu[dot]cn:
The (Re)vision of Nature, Eco-consciousness, and Modern Chinese Literature
A vibrant and productive branch of modern literary theory, eco-criticism not only unsettles the old anthropocentric view of nature and humanity and fuels environmentalist activism, but contributes, directly or indirectly, to the (re)construction of national and ethnical identities, gender roles and cultural self-imaginations in different historical contexts. Also a cosmopolitan movement that urges a collective response of human race to the environmental challenges in the modern world, eco-criticism nonetheless vehemently condemns the rapacious and hegemonic globalization through foregrounding the importance of locality and the attachment of human beings to their immediate living environments. By contrasting what Spivak terms as “planetarity” to capitalist globalization, eco-criticism promises a cultural pluralism based on mutual recognition and respect.
Inspired by contemporary eco-criticism, this panel attempts to reexamine modern Chinese literature and culture from a comparative and global/ “planetary” perspective, addressing in particular the metamorphosis of nature, both conceptual and material, in modern Chinese history and its intersections with various efforts to reconstruct cultural identities of modern Chinese subjects. By scrutinizing the changed visions and roles of nature in modern China, this panel means: 1) to illuminate the inherent connection as well as the significant fissure between modern and traditional Chinese cultures; 2) to examine the cross-cultural dialogues between modern Chinese and Western cultures on the issue of nature and humanity; 3) to combine literary and ideological analysis of nature with ecological study and economic, political and social history of modern China for a comprehensive understanding of the complexity of modern Chinese subject.