Natures 2013 Plenary Speaker
We were so honored to have Dr. Scott Slovic (University of Idaho) serve as our distinguished plenary speaker for Natures 2013. Dr. Slovic is an ecocritic of the first order, editor of ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies of Literature and Environment, a very busy international speaker, and a prolific author. See his Amazon.com listings.
For his Natures 2013 plenary address, Dr. Slovic spoke about the complex critical identities that comprise the web of ecocriticism, a field too often mischaracterized as one-dimensional.
In his Seminar on Academic Life, Dr. Slovic gave conference participants a peak behind the curtain of academic publishing and otherwise share lessons learned from his extensive experiments with shaping scholarship to make a positive impact on the world.
"Recently, when I was speaking at the Universite' de Poitiers about interdisciplinary ecocriticism and the efforts of many ecocritics to make their work mean something beyond the Ivory Tower, a colleagues in the audience mentioned Oscar Wilde's famous statement that "All art is quite useless" and asked how ecocritics might respond to such a thought. It seems to me, of course, that many (perhaps most) ecocritics would recoil from the idea of art for art's sake or, so to speak, criticism for criticism's sake. The practice of environmental writing and criticism, while not numb to the intrinsic value of beauty and interesting ideas, tends to reach outward toward practical impacts on social transformation and environmental protection. At the very least, our work typically--and perhaps by definition--engages with the world beyond textuality (or with the idea of the world out there)." [Scott Slovic, Editor's note, ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment 19:1 (Winter 2012) 1.]
The Natures Conference
The Natures conference was established in 2009 out of a growing awareness that environmental studies was an arena in which various disciplines could find common ground. While papers delivered at the conference cover a wide variety of topics, including but not limited to environmental ones, that original value for interdisciplinary representation persists. Natures provides young and seasoned scholars the opportunity to share their work from across the broad spectrum of the humanities, explore the variety of critical identities, and participate in the growing field of ecocriticism.