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Games as Ecomedia CFP for ASLE 2015

2014 November 21
tags: , ,
by Alenda Chang

The deadline for proposals is fast approaching, but I’m still hoping to assemble a fun and thought-provoking games panel at next year’s ASLE in Idaho. All approaches are welcome!

Of Dungeon Crawls and Chthonic Uprisings: Unearthing the Ecological Subtexts of Games

In Last Child in the Woods (2005), Richard Louv argues that “Nature—the sublime, the harsh, and the beautiful—offers something that the street or gated community or computer game cannot.” Yet in the last case, at least, history and media scholarship offer contrary views. Henry Jenkins has celebrated games’ capacity for spatially oriented “environmental storytelling,” while game history is studded with obvious and not-so-obvious examples of environmental gameplay, from Colossal Cave Adventure and SimEarth: The Living Planet to recent, open-world games like MineCraft and Dwarf Fortress. This panel invites diverse ecocritical perspectives on computer/video games and related virtual worlds, and in keeping with the conference’s “underground” theme, potential topics could include the following:

  • Games and place (local/regional games, mapping and topography)
  • The logic of the dungeon crawl/clear
  • Permadeath games, apocalypse, and “dark ecology”
  • Games’ extraction and resource-management mechanics
  • Games/gamers as subcultural versus mainstream (e.g. Gamergate and cultures of online anonymity)
  • Ethical/environmental issues with sourcing for game hardware and industry labor practices
  • Genre case studies, e.g. of farm/gardening games, zombie or contagion narratives, etc.
  • Alternate-reality games and their “rabbit holes”
  • Games and animal studies
  • Game cheating and failure

Possible games: Minecraft, Diablo, Colossal Cave Adventure, Dwarf Fortress, Metroid, Dig Dug, Fallen London, Bioshock, Shelter, Dragon Age, Waking Mars, Limbo, etc.

Please send abstracts of approximately 250-300 words and brief bios to Alenda Chang at by December 1.

Virunga Doc Now Available on Netflix

2014 November 20
by Steve Rust


In what has become the new normal in today’s global mediascape, the documentary film Virunga has been release simultaneously in theaters and on the streaming site Netflix. The deal to make the film available for streaming was brokered with Netflix by Leonardo DiCaprio through his production company, Appian Way Productions.

Written and directed by Orlando von Einseidel, Virunga follows a group of national park rangers who risk life and limb to protect the last of the world’s mountain gorillas as civil war and the battle over the Congo’s natural resources rages around them.

The film is expected to garner multiple award nominations.

Panel CFP: Ecomedia and Scale (FSAC Conference)

2014 November 6
by Steve Rust

Call for Abstracts: “Ecomedia and Scale” Pre-Constituted Panel

FSAC Annual Conference, June 2-4, 2015, University of Ottawa

 As the sub-field of ecocinema studies continues to expand and wrestle with evolving issues of representation, industrial production and consumption, and ecophilosophy, in this panel we wish to consider how issues of scale come into play. While scholars continue to debate the appropriateness of the term ‘anthropocene’ in defining humanity’s impact on our planet’s ecosystems in our current epoch, we propose a need to think as well about temporal and spatial scales exceeding the human. Timothy Morton’s notion of hyberobjects—things so massively distributed in time and space that humanity is dwarfed in comparison—is one such way that we can begin conceptualizing scale and its impacts on human politics and ecology. At the same time, scholars like Ursula Heise have attempted to negotiate spatial scales of the global and the local within ecocriticism, to draw attention to how both global circulation and the particularities of local or regional environments shape ecomedia. These are suggested entry points into the topic and we encourage a wide range of perspectives.

This panel is therefore seeking abstracts dedicated to issues of scale (temporal, spatial, etc.) in the study of ecomedia (films, games, web-based media, television, etc.). We welcome papers addressing questions of representation within ecomedia, as well as the production, reception, circulation, and preservation or disposal of media. Critical engagements with how scale is interrogated in ecocriticism and the environmental humanities, posthuman theory, ecofeminism, and related theoretical frameworks will also be considered.

Submissions to our pre-constituted panel are due on November 20th, 2014. Please send an abstract (max 300 words), a title, and brief bio to rachel.jekanowski@concordia.caor We will be in touch by the 25th to let you know if your paper has been accepted. Submissions are welcome in either French or English.

Please direct questions about the panel and abstracts to either of the email addresses above.

Stephanie Lam

Doctoral Candidate, Film & Visual Studies

Harvard University

Rachel Webb Jekanowski

Film & Moving Image Studies Doctoral Program

Concordia University

Panel CFP: Asian Ecocinema & Media (ASLE 2015)

2014 November 5
by Steve Rust

CFP: Panel on “Asian Ecocinema & media: Notes from Underground”, ASLE 2015 (June 23-25, Moscow, Idaho)
Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE)’s 11th Biennial Conference will take place June 23-27, 2015 at University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho. Keynote speakers include Linda Hogan, Stephanie LeMenager, Jorge Navarro, Anna Tsing, and Donna Haraway.

With a growing awareness of global environmental issues, and an attempt to address the growing interest in films and media in relation to various ecocritical theories, this panel invites papers that fall within the study of media and films in Asia in relation to ecological and environmental issues. It seeks to expand the field of ecocinema/eco-visual media studies towards a broader coverage in Asian contexts.

Papers that address the conference theme, “Notes from Underground: The Depths of Environmental Arts, Culture and Justice” will be of particular interest. Participants are encouraged to interpret the conference theme as broadly as possible. From the depictions of Asian environmental crises (e.g. The Impossible, Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain), representations of ruinous environments shaped by urban developments and post-disaster reconstructions (e.g. Still Life, 3.11 Surviving Japan), horror or artistic depictions of the dark side of nature (Dark Water, Uncle Bonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives), to social media coverage of pollution problems in Asian cities, ecological and environmental issues in Asia have increasingly been exposed to the outside world through fictional films, documentaries and various forms of media.

Possible themes may include, but not limited to:
Waste, toxicity, refuse and pollutions
Underground aesthetics in ecocinema
Underground, independent cinema in Asia
Eco-degradation and human (moral) degradation
Eco-materialism/ New Materialisms in film/media
Specific environmental issues in Asia
Defining Asian ecocinema/ eco-film criticism
Asian eco-religio-philosophical thoughts in films
Green movements and social media in Asia
Animal studies, animality, ecojustice
Climatic changes, natural disasters in film
Other related topics

You are invited to submit a 300 word abstract, a brief bio, or any question to
Kiu-wai Chu at Deadline for proposal submission is
November 30, 2014. For further information about the conference
please refer to the following link:

Kiu-wai Chu
Department of Comparative Literature,
University of Hong Kong,
Hong Kong

Interview with Chris Palmer on NPR

2014 October 27
by Steve Rust

Chris Palmer, longtime wildlife filmmaker turned professor and director of American University School of Communication’s Center for Environmental Filmmaking sat down recently with National Public Radio’s Barbara King to talk about his forthcoming book, Confessions of a Wildlife Filmmaker.

Click Here for a link to the full interview.

New Book: Green Planets: Ecology and Science Fiction

2014 October 15

Thanks to Andrew Hageman for drawing my attention to this book in a recent review for the journal ISLE. Click here to read Andy’s review of the book. Although most of the book focuses on literature, some of the essays reference or deal directly with media texts.

Green Planets: Ecology and Science Fiction, Edited by Gerry Canavan and Kim Stanley Robinson. Wesleyan University Press

Description from the publisher’s website:

Essays exploring the relationship between environmental disaster and visions of apocalypse through the lens of science fiction

Contemporary visions of the future have been shaped by hopes and fears about the effects of human technology and global capitalism on the natural world. In an era of climate change, mass extinction, and oil shortage, such visions have become increasingly catastrophic, even apocalyptic. Exploring the close relationship between science fiction, ecology, and environmentalism, the essays in Green Planets consider how science fiction writers have been working through this crisis. Beginning with H. G. Wells and passing through major twentieth-century writers like Ursula K. Le Guin, Stanislaw Lem, and Thomas Disch to contemporary authors like Margaret Atwood, China Miéville, and Paolo Bacigalupi—as well as recent blockbuster films like Avatar and District 9—the essays in Green Planets consider the important place for science fiction in a culture that now seems to have a very uncertain future. The book includes an extended interview with Kim Stanley Robinson and an annotated list for further exploration of “ecological SF” and related works of fiction, nonfiction, films, television, comics, children’s cartoons, anime, video games, music, and more.

Contributors include Christina Alt, Brent Bellamy, Sabine Höhler, Adeline Johns-Putra, Melody Jue, Rob Latham, Andrew Milner, Timothy Morton, Eric C. Otto, Michael Page, Christopher Palmer, Gib Prettyman, Elzette Steenkamp, Imre Szeman.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS


“The book posits a fundamental opposition in the genre: the future-technological city (Utopia) versus the pastoral Arcadia: each believing the other one to be the true dystopia. Add to this our ecological crisis, and you have the situation all these SF essays confront in so topical and stimulating a way. This seems to me a truly timely and contemporary, innovative collection, breaking new ground for literature and perhaps for reality as well.”—Fredric Jameson, William A. Lane, Jr., Professor of Comparative Literature, Professor of Romance Studies, Duke University

Green Planets is solid gold in terms of the breadth of the primary and secondary sources treated and the ways that the authors seamlessly intercalate their theoretical starting points and their literary examples.”—Patrick D. Murphy, author of Transversal Ecocritical Praxis

PhD scholarships @ Goldsmiths

2014 October 14
by scubitt

unfortunately only open to UK/EU candidates. We have a strong interest in all aspects of ecomedia studies, and colleagues across the consortium in neighbouring disciplines can also be involved in your studies. Last year the competition was intense (success rate below 8%) so be ready to work hard even on the application.


The Department of Media & Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London is inviting applications for September 2015 entry to our PhD programme.

Goldsmiths is part of a block grant AHRC studentship partnership (with Sussex, Kent, East Anglia, Essex, The Courtauld and the Open University) which means that we will be entering successful applicants to our PhD programmes to a competition for these studentships in the spring of 2015.

The funding has been awarded to CHASE (Consortium for Humanities and the Arts South-East England)‚ a partnership of seven institutions formed to promote excellence in research, postgraduate research training and knowledge exchange in the arts and humanities. Applications will be considered jointly by the partner universities via four panels. Applications will be considered on a competitive basis.

For UK students, these awards cover both fees and maintenance and for EU residents awards are on a fees only basis. The funding will cover, professional development opportunities, including the enhancement of media skills and placements overseas or with prestigious arts organisations.

If you want to be considered for one of these awards, please note that you need to have been accepted onto a PhD programme by 14 January 2015. This means that for September 2015 entry you will need to have made a formal application to the programme by the end of December 2014 and have had initial contact with us to discuss your proposal by early December 2014. (The consortium will run for several years: we are open to discuss entry in subsequent years with potential candidates) For any enquiries to the PhD programme of the Department of Media & Communications, Goldsmiths please contact the PhD admissions tutor, Dr Richard MacDonald (; and to see staff expertise please consult

Topic areas covered in the CHASE consortium include

Digital Arts & Photography History, Theory and Practice
Popular Culture
Cultural Studies (Policy, Arts Management and Creative Industries)
Ethnography and Anthropology
Interpreting and Translation
Journalism and Publishing
Media and communication studies
Installation and Sound Art History, Theory and Practice;
Film-Based and Time-Based History, Theory and Practice
Media: New Media/Web-Based Studies
Media: Film History, Theory and Criticism
Media: Television History, Theory and Criticism
Information and Communications Technologies

The criteria for selecting the scholarship awards are:
– quality of the research proposal
-academic achievement / equivalent professional experience (normally first class honours and a distinction at Masters level)
– excellent references (potential supervisors can provide one but not both)
– demonstrated preparedness for research – including whatever evidence can be provided that they will finish in 3 years
– benefit of the research environment to the candidate’s research (written with the proposed supervisor)

The research proposal should contain the following elements:
o key areas/issues of the project, and why you wish to pursue this research;
o the research problems or questions you intend to address;
o the research context in which those problems or questions are located;
o the particular contribution to knowledge and understanding in this area that you hope to make, explaining why the work is important and noting relevance to non-academic beneficiaries, as appropriate;
o the methods and critical approaches that you plan to use, and the sources, if appropriate;
o how the proposed work relates to what you have studied already;
o any ethical issues relating to the research project including how these will be identified and addressed.
o how the project will develop over the period of the award.
o how the doctoral research relates to your eventual career aims.


CFP: Futures of the Arctic at SASS Conference

2014 October 12
by Steve Rust

Call for Proposals for “Futures of the Arctic” Stream at SASS 2015.

The Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at Ohio State University in collaboration with Scandinavian programs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and University of Wisconsin-Madison welcomes the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study (SASS) to Columbus, OH for its 105th annual meeting to be held from May 6-9, 2015.

STREAM 3: The Futures of the Arctic

While the Arctic has often been conceptualized as unchanging, pristine and outside of time, it has also been the site of profound aesthetic, political, cultural, policy and environmental utopian and dystopian imaginings of a number of possible future(s). In this stream, contributors will address, whether through aesthetic texts (literature, film, television, digital media, etc.) or through sociological, political or policy perspectives, “The Futures of the Arctic” as it has been both imagined and codified in the past and the present. Examples of this imagining come from a long history and are as diverse as: Medieval imaginary conceptions of the North through Old Norse sagas, and imaginary travel narratives from the Nordic countries; 19th and 20th century accounts of how the inclusion of parts of the Arctic region is central to the cultural and political imaginary of various European and North American nation-states; architect Ralph Erskine’s designs for Arctic living in Sweden and Canada; and the future-oriented policy positions of NGOs, nation-states, corporations and supranational organizations in regards to what the future of the Arctic might and ought to be. This stream seeks to break away from simplistic accounts of the Arctic as unchanging or primordial, seemingly unaffected by human agency on and through its populations and environments, to focus on how its futures have been continuously recast in both utopian and dystopian ways in art, culture, and politics.

Presentations from a wide variety of disciplines, and inter/trans-disciplinary approaches are encouraged. For questions and more information about the stream, please contact Prof. Scott MacKenzie, Department of Film and Media, Queen’s University at Submit all proposals as 300 word abstracts in response to the stream directly to the SASS conference organizers at by November 1, 2014.