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Join us in Austin, Texas in 2014!

We will be at the Radisson Hotel and Suites-Downtown Austin

October 18-22, 2014



"Forces of Nature: The Elements and Aesthetic Production"

Humankind's reverent, impassioned and, at times, embattled relationship with nature has informed artistic production from its birth until today. The natural elements impact whether we merely survive or thrive, but the natural world also serves as one of our most important sources of aesthetic inspiration and critical inquiry.  The oral traditions and texts of early civilizations worship the elements as deities; Homer's Odyssey and other classical works investigate the impacts and repercussions of hedonism on the environment; and Medieval tomes such as Dante’s Commedia use landscape models to map cultural terrain.  Moving forward, Enlightenment and, later, Romanticist thinkers begin to engage in a secular study of nature, while Modernism responds to the vastly changed environmental – and cultural - landscapes brought about by industrialism, innovation and alienation.  In our current era beyond the post-modern, we benefit from many new veins of theoretical inquiry and criticism related to the complex relationship between nature and culture, from Ecosemiotics to Animal Studies and beyond.  Please join us in exploring these themes and more in Austin, Texas for the 2014 South Central MLA conference. Papers on the conference theme and on all topics are welcome.