Organizer: Molly Volanth Hall (firstname.lastname@example.org), University of Rhode Island
Proposed Format: Traditional Panel (4 Presenters)
Social histories of our contemporary climate crisis increasingly emerge alongside the geologic. Though a global phenomenon, recent conversations among historians of Britain have suggested that English culture and history may play a special role in the emergence of the Anthropocene era which we currently inhabit - both as the birth place of the industrial revolution, and because of the British empire’s global natural resource extraction networks and the culture and policies which maintained them at home in England. This panel asks how the dominant literary trend of Modernism, which emerges in the decades leading up to the great acceleration of environmental change in the mid-twentieth century, engages with, responds to, perpetuates, resists, constitutes, or otherwise represents community(ies) in response to environmental disaster or devastation in the British empire. The panel hopes to pay particular attention to works by authors from territories other than England proper – those authored by colonial British subjects during the early twentieth century. Four presentations will explore questions related but not limited to: the environmental devastation of the period’s colonial and world wars; representations of the changing landscapes and natural spaces of the British empire; the use of environmental aesthetics to mediate and respond to the myriad social, political, and economic upheaval; direct representations of environmental crisis.