Call for Papers

The Heart of the Gila:

Wilderness and Water in the West


Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE)

2016 Off-Year Symposium, June 8-11, 2016

Western New Mexico University

Silver City, NM

Deadline Extended to March 15, 2016

Letting our location be our guide in focusing the theme, the Gila
Wilderness was established as the nation’s first wilderness area 91 years
ago and continues to define our regional identity. The Gila River remains
the last free-flowing river in the Southwest, but there is a current
proposal in the state legislature to dam the river; local activists have
been organizing to fight the proposal. Drought, compounded by climate
change, has greatly affected our area, with the largest fire in New Mexico
state history occurring in the Gila during 2012.  The Gila was the
northernmost region of the Mogollon People a millennium ago, and our
region remains very culturally diverse with its close proximity to the
Mexican-U.S. border.

We invite papers, roundtables, presentations, creative work, video
presentations, and discussions from a range of disciplines and academic
backgrounds that explore the past present, and future of wilderness,
mythology of the West, Old West, New West, water, drought, climate change,
desert, wastelands, atomic testing sites, military and western space,
rivers, dams, tourism, fire, forest management, native cultures, migrant
cultures, borders, activism, rhetoric of place, writers of place, writers
of the West and Southwest (Aldo Leopold, Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner, too
many to name), wilderness philosophy, and diversity in the West. We invite
participants to interpret the theme broadly. We especially welcome creative
writers, activists, graduate students, and academics working in the
humanities and beyond to consider submitting to the symposium.

Symposium sessions will be 90-minutes long. Both scholarly and creative
submissions are welcome. Pre-formed panels are encouraged.

   - proposals for pre-formed panels must include at least four presentations
   (papers, readings, provocations, responses, etc.), 15 minutes-max each,
   plus a chair; panel organizers must submit the proposal on behalf of all
   panelists (500 word abstract for the panel outlining topic, format,
   participants' roles; 300 word abstract for each contribution as relevant to
   the format; all contact information)
   - proposals for panels may also include roundtables (five or six 10
   minute-max presentations plus discussion)
   - individual paper/reading/performance submissions are for 15 minute
   presentations; 300 word abstracts should describe both form and content and
   include all contact information

*Please submit your proposal by March 15, 2016 on-line at ***
We will notify you of its final status by March 21, 2016.*

For questions about submissions, the program, the symposium site, or field
trips, please contact the symposium organizer Dr. Michaelann Nelson at
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Plenary Speakers

Our list of invited speakers includes writers and scholars that are
inspired by the people, culture, and landscape of our region in the

·       David Gessner is the author of nine books, including *All the Wild
That Remains: Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner and the American West, *as well
as, *My Green Manifesto*, and *The Tarball Chronicles*, which won the 2012
Reed Award for Best Book on the Southern Environment and ASLE’s award for
best book of creative writing in 2011 and 2012.

·       Sharman Russell, author of *Diary of a Citizen Scientist: Chasing
Tiger Beetles and Other New Ways of Engaging the World* (WILLA Award
Winner), as well as a dozen other books, writes primarily about nature and
the southwest. She makes her home in the Gila.

·      Dave Foreman, founder of the direct action environmental group
EarthFirst!, has written several books, including *Confessions of an
Eco-Warrior* and *Ecodefense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching.* He is
currently the director of the Rewilding Institute, a think tank dedicated
to promoting conservation and species extinction.

·       Lucy Tapahonso, Navajo Nation Poet Laureate, and author of several
books of poetry, including *The Women are Singing* and *Blue Horses Rush In*.
Her poetry is inspired by the idea that the feminine is a source of balance
and power in the world.

·      Priscilla Ybarra, author of *The Good Life: Mexican American Writing
and the Environment*. Dr. Ybarra’s work investigates Mexican American
literature and environmental issues. She is a professor of English at the
University of North Texas.

·      Phillip Connors, author of *Fire Season: Field Notes From a
Wilderness Lookout* (National Outdoor Book Award, Sigurd Olsen Nature
Writing Award), has spent the last decade as a fire lookout in the Gila
National Forest. He previously was an editor at the *Wall Street Journal*.

Travel Awards

We will offer ten awards of $250 each to graduate students and independent
scholars to help defray the cost of attending the symposium. Information on
how to apply can be found on the website.

Symposium Location

Western New Mexico University is a diverse, public, regional university
with about 3,500 students. Silver City is located in southwestern New
Mexico at 6,000 feet elevation. It is the gateway to the Gila National
Wilderness Area, the United States’ first wilderness area, as well as Gila
Cliff Dwelling National Monument. It is known for its vibrant art
community, locavore food scene, and all-around funky downtown. It has been
recently named one of the top 20 small towns to visit by *Smithsonian

Tom Lynch
Chair, Undergraduate Studies
Editor, *Western American Literature*
Department of English
202 Andrews Hall
P.O. Box 880333
University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Lincoln, NE  68588-0333 <[log in to unmask]>
* Our lives are frittered away by e-mail * - H. D. Thoreau

*New Books:*
*The Bioregional Imagination: Literature, Ecology, Place
*Artifacts & Illuminations: Critical Essays on Loren Eiseley

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