“Waste and Abundance: Critical Readings of Modern Wastelands”
The School of English, Queen’s University Belfast
17th and 18th April 2007

Papers from all perspectives across the Humanities are welcome

Confirmed Plenary Speakers: Dr Peter Boxall (University of Sussex), Professor Thomas Docherty (University of Warwick), Professor Paul Seawright (University of Ulster), Dr Moynagh Sullivan (NUI Maynooth)

“Faint light on stage littered with miscellaneous rubbish”: Samuel Beckett’s representation of the human condition as regulated by waste in Breath, a playlet of 1969, now reads as a striking anticipation of our present race against ecological catastrophe. However, if there is now a pressing need for us to re-think our attitudes towards consumption, this change should also extend to certain aspects of our approaches to literature, film, and critical theory. This two-day conference entitled “Waste and Abundance: Critical Readings of Modern Wastelands” seeks to outline contexts for conceptualising abundance and waste. It invites proposals that argue for the existence of specific perspectives on abundance and waste in strands of modernist and postmodernist literature as well as film. Suggested topics might include but are not limited to: 

The body as cultural wasteland
Anorexic spaces (of discourse and/or in performance)
Corporeality, exhaustion, and waste
The hunger artist/ the art of hunger
Influence as recycling
Literature, critical theory, and consumption
Gender politics, abundance, and waste
Labour and deprivation
Consumption and war
Comfort and waste
Ignorance and abundance
Waste and the collectivity
The spatial economics of waste
Waste and abundance in the metropolis
Waste, abundance, and exoticism
Abundance and primitivism
The use of litter in representations of material scarcity
Waste, abundance, and the politics of the avant-garde
Time-wasting and modernity
Time, acceleration, and consumption
Globalisation and consumer angst/complacency
Abundance and Marxist theory
Shame, waste, and postcolonial theory
Negotiating abundance and waste in contemporary Ireland
Redefining the contours of ecocriticism 

Please send abstracts of 250-300 words plus brief biographical details to Susan Cahill, Emma Hegarty, and Emilie Morin at wasteandabundance@qub.ac.uk by Wednesday 31th January 2007.

Deadline for conference registration, whether presenting a paper or attending, is Thursday 15th February 2007.