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Ecomedia Interest Group

2013 June 17
by Shared by Steve Rust

For those of you who were unable to attend the recent ASLE conference, I wanted to let you know what we accomplished at our first Ecomedia Interest Group meeting. If you would like to join the new email listserve we are creating to continue our conversation please email Please provide your full name, affiliation and rank, email address, research/teaching interests, list of related organization of which you are a member, and any ideas you have for growing the field in your email.

Given the outpouring of interest in ecomedia studies over the past few years, including a significant number of panels and papers at this year’s ASLE conference, at this first meeting of the ecomedia interest group we set out to explore such questions as:  How do we negotiate between our interest in ecocriticism and our primary disciplines? How do we make resources in the field available to newcomers? What questions at issue within the field have yet to be addressed? Who are our audiences and how do we find them? Ecomedia studies ( encompasses a wide range of subject areas, including film, photography, new media, digital humanities, video games, data visualization, music and sound studies, comics, and other forms of visual and audio art and rhetoric that intersect with environmental understandings.

We had a remarkable turn out as more than thirty scholars gathered at the group meeting and several more expressed interest but were unable to attend. We passed around a sign-up sheet to begin the process of building an email list to continue the conversation outside of ASLE. After introducing ourselves and sharing our interest in ecomedia, Don Fredrickson usefully suggested that the best use of our time would be to identify and discuss action items.  To that end we discussed the following four action items:

1) The group would like to see an ASLE plenary speaker whose work speaks directly to our interests.

Several people noted that while several of this year’s plenary speakers – including Rob Nixon and Stacy Alaimo – made significant use of visual imagery in their presentations that none of the speakers focused their talks on the role of visual and/or audio texts as such. There was unanimous consent that ASLE should make an extra effort for a plenary speaker whose work intersects more directly with ecomedia studies for the next ASLE conference in 2015.

2) The group expressed interest in creating a Facebook page and developing a more visible web presence and online community to share ideas and resouces.

Thanks to Nicole Seymour we now have an Ecomedia group Facebook page: Many people expressed interest in creating a space either linked to or directly embedded within the ASLE website for folks to share syllabi, bibliographic references, information on films, film festivals and other visual texts. Stephen Rust and Salma Monani pointed folks to – a blog designed to address these very issues, and Robin Murray and Joe Heumann invited submissions to their blog Eco-Cinema and Film Genre ( Folks are invited to submit syllabi, references, and other helpful information to the Facebook page or either of the blogs.

3) There is significant interest in organizing an off-year ASLE symposium focused on ecomedia studies.

While several meetings of events have been held in Europe no such meeting suited to the interests of ASLE-based media scholars has been held in the US. To this end there is considerable interest in holding an off-year ASLE symposium focused on ecomedia. Literary scholars would be encouraged to attend but the primary focus of the conference would be media.  Nothing concrete has been planned as of yet but folks at a couple institutions have made initial inquiries as to the feasibility of hosting such a symposium.

4) We must continue to build bridges between ASLE and other organizations.

This year, ASLE sponsored a panel at the International Environmental Communications Association conference held in Uppsala, Sweden June 6-10. However, as Salma Monani explained, the IECA did not sponsor a panel at ASLE though the offer was made.  The group also expressed interest in the need to make a more concerted effort to organize an environmental interest group within the Society for Cinema and Media Studies and to continue to reach out to the IECA and other organizations.  Stephen Rust has agreed to to look into what steps would need to be taken to start such an interest group within SCMS – the first step is that 25 members are required to maintain interest group status. Others are encouraged to look into this process for similar organizations as well.

The complete list of those who attended the meeting or have expressed interest in remaining part of the conversation appears below.



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