A New Poetics of Space: Literary Walks in times of Pandemics and Climate Change

Online conference: 7 December 2020, Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall, Sweden


Keynote Speakers: Professor Anne D. Wallace (University of North Carolina at Greensboro) and Professor Jon Hegglund (Washington State University)

Organisers: Dr Lucy Jeffery & Professor Vicky Angelaki

Call for papers

As we have become more mindful of our day-to-day comings and goings, our engagement with literature that either extolls the virtues of walking or warns against the perils of the journey has both heightened and changed. Furthermore, as our experience of confinement and self-isolation has reshaped our everyday lives, we may recontextualise our examination of literature in relation to a politics of space and place. This online conference will explore what the act of walking stands for and what it signifies today in various textual forms. The one-day event aims to reflect the various ways in which walking, in its manifold possibilities and contexts, informs our understanding of the ways in which our experience of confinement has impacted our understanding of society and reading of literature.

With this in mind, we would like to take stock of the scholarship concerning walking and interrogate how our new politicised landscape is reshaping our understanding of literary landscapes across a range of genres and periods. We aim to explore: what narratives of walking reveal about our understanding of the politics of space, health, and the environment (both urban and rural); and, more broadly, how people are responding creatively to the question of space and confinement today. The event seeks to re-evaluate how we respond to and understand the tradition of the literary walk in light of the twenty-first century’s technological developments, societal shifts, environmental challenges, and political situation.

We are keen to investigate the concept of walking in fictive and non-fictive texts and accounts. Any chosen critical, theoretical, methodological, or disciplinary perspective is therefore welcome. We hope that this conference will provide researchers interested in interdisciplinary (especially environment, health, politics) approaches to literature with rigorous and engaging discussions concerning creative and/or theoretical approaches to the theme of walking. 

We warmly welcome postgraduates, ECRs, and senior academics interested in how the global climate and epidemiological challenges we currently face inform our understanding of literature that engages with ecocritical issues and notions of confinement. Please send abstracts (200-250 words), including a title and short bio (100 words) to lucy.jeffery@miun.se by 1 October 2020. Papers must be between 15 – 20 minutes in length. We aim to respond to all applicants with a decision on their submission by 9 October 2020. Please note that as this conference will take place online, there is no conference fee. 

If you are interested in attending this online event, but do not wish to present a paper, please contact us directly via email. The conference programme will be posted here in due course. Please address any questions you may have to lucy.jeffery@miun.se 

We look forward to hearing from you,
Dr Lucy Jeffery and Professor Vicky Angelaki.


Recent Updates 

To listen to Dr Lucy Jeffery discuss the upcoming conference, follow the link to the 'Walk Listen Create' website: The spaces between the words - Practices of locative literature.  

Part of the International Analogio Festival (which takes place on 25 September), 'The spaces between words' seeks to explore issues surrounding the environment, technology, and mobility. Dr Lucy Jeffery will join Stefaan van Viesen, Elspeth (Billie) Penfold, Andrew Stuck, Baback Fakhamzadeh, Sissy Papathanassiou, and Geert Vermeire for an online panel. 

Dr Lucy Jeffery talks about the aims of the conference: 

Lucy Jeffery talks about A New Poetics of Space.m4a