ASLE (Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment) 2019: "Paradise on Fire"

Activity: Participating in or organising an academic eventParticipation in academic conference


I am organising and moderating a panel at ASLE 2019 (Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment), "Paradise on Fire," which is taking place at UC Davis, California (USA) from 26 to 30 June 2019. The panel is titled "Waste in the California Literary and Artistic Imagination."

This is the description of the panel:
The language of waste permeates California’s fraught race, class and environmental history, from the very justification for its settlement, which was based on the Lockean view of land occupied by indigenous people as “uncultivated wasteland” to be civilized (1591), to current debates over San Francisco’s growing homeless population, seen by the city’s wealthiest as “marring” the landscape and by critics as embodying the human toll of Silicon Valley’s monopoly on wealth. Throughout California’s history, the categorisation of objects, land and humans as disposable has served to justify the productivist paradigm, the displacement of indigenous people, and segregationist and anti-immigrant housing policies (Wacquant 1993; Bauman 2004; Davis 2006; Manzanas/Sanchez 2014). Home to the first modern landfill (Fresno California, 1937), Hollywood, the Military-Industrial Complex, and indeed Japanese internment camps, California has engendered a proliferation of countercultural artistic and literary responses that have mobilised the language of waste to address the exploitation of land and resources, the mistreatment of specific peoples, and the exclusionary foundations of the “California dream.” From Frank Norris’s McTeague (1899) and Nathanael West’s The Day of the Locust (1939), to Joan Didion’s accounts of the 1960s and the waste-ridden landscapes of science fiction (Ray Bradbury, Ernest
Callenbach); from the recycling efforts of the California assemblage movement to the waste-infused border writing of Chicano literature (El Puente, Ito Romo), there is a rich tradition in attending to the waste(d) byproducts of the myth of California.
Period26 Jun 201930 Jun 2019
Event typeConference
LocationDavis, United States, California
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • ecocriticism
  • California
  • American literature
  • climate fiction
  • American history
  • avant-garde
  • twentieth century
  • twenty-first century
  • nineteenth century