May 2019 ASLEC-ANZ News
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A Note from the President

Dear ASLEC-ANZians,
Members on the western side of the Tasman Sea have just voted their way through what was supposed to be the “climate change election”, and I think many of us are feeling the need to find non-governmental channels for doing the work of environmental care. It’s always heartening to hear what people are doing in their scholarly and personal (or schorsonal?) lives to witness, respond to, represent, and care for precarious life, so please share your projects and discoveries with us – you can write to me or to newsletter editor, Jess White. Speaking of members’ projects: if you have an institutional library in your vicinity, get them to order in our journal editor’s new book: Animal Visions: Posthumanist Dream Writing (Palgrave, 2019). Congratulations, Sue!
In other news, the ASLEC-ANZ executive is very pleased to welcome Kathrin Bartha aboard as a second postgraduate representative, alongside Sarah Tomasetti. Kathrin is working on a PhD in literary studies and the Anthropocene, and is jointly based at Monash and the Goethe University, Frankfurt. We’re very keen to promote the work of higher degree and early career researchers and help you be involved in your association, so it’s particularly great to have two higher degree researchers on the exec.
To those of you on the final stretch of a busy teaching semester – courage! And to you and everyone else, thanks for being part of ASLEC-ANZ,
Alexis Harley
ASLEC-ANZ President
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Image by Bishnu Sarangi from Pixabay

Call for submissions: Swamphen

Submissions close 30th July 2019

It is with much pleasure that we invite submissions for the refreshed ASLEC-ANZ journal, Swamphen: a journal of cultural ecology. Creative work and scholarly essays are welcome, as are other submissions that skew these genres. In addition to written submissions, we welcome recorded works, as well as those that blend image and text.

We seek submissions that relate to this year’s ASLEC-ANZ Grounding Story conference, which called for papers exploring the relationship between ‘environmental change’ and ‘storytelling across literary, non-fiction, visual and performative forms.’ Conference participants were asked to critically ‘explore how the stuff of the world weaves itself into story, and how story can materially transform the world.’ With this in mind, we will be drawn to work that engages with the role of storytelling in this time of environmental crisis.

Swamphen is a peer reviewed journal, previously published as the Australasian Journal of Ecocriticism and Cultural Ecology. This will be the 7th volume of the ASLEC-ANZ journal.

The Swamphen editorial collective are: Christine Howe, Kate Middleton, Alanna Myers, Susan Pyke, Hayley Singer and Linda Weste. We encourage pithy submissions of less than 5,000 words. Please register and follow the guidelines here:

We look forward to reading and considering your work.

General enquiries: Susan Pyke (
Book review queries: Alanna Myers (

Edited Collection, Ecologies in Southeast Asian Media and Popular Culture
Co-edited by Jason Paolo Telles, University of the Philippines Baguio, and John Charles Ryan, University of New England, Australia

Abstracts due 15 July 2019

Environmental images and representations have proliferated in recent years in media and pop cultural texts due to the widespread recognition of their powerful role in informing audiences about urgent ecological issues. Stephen Rust, Salma Monani, and Sean Cubitt, for instance, acknowledge “that popular cultural artifacts are at least as significant mediators of the human-environmental relationship and its attendant anxieties and joys as are literature and the fine arts” (Rust et al. 2016, 4).

Ecomedia scholars have emphasised the importance of reading various forms of mass media and popular culture from the perspectives of ecology, sustainability, climate change and the Anthropocene. Notable works in this subfield of ecocriticism include Rust, Monani, and Cubitt’s Ecocinema Theory and Practice (2013) and Ecomedia: Key Issues (2016) as well as Rayson K. Alex, S. Susan Deborah and Sachindev P.S.’s Culture and Media: Ecocritical Explorations (2014), and Alex and Deborah’s Ecodocumentaries: Critical Essays (2016). Meanwhile, the limited literature of Southeast Asian ecomedia studies is scattered in various journals such as Utopian Studies and Environmental Communication, and books such as Southeast Asian Ecocriticism: Theories, Practices, Prospects (2018). There is yet to be published a scholarly book dedicated specifically to ecocritical readings of Southeast Asian mass media and popular cultural artifacts.

This edited collection aims to fill this gap. Scholars of Southeast Asian mass media and popular culture, therefore, are invited to contribute proposals for book chapters that develop ecocritical readings of various forms of mass media and popular culture texts produced in Southeast Asia (Brunei, Cambodia, Timor Leste, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam). The editors invite you to propose a chapter on a relevant subject within Southeast Asian ecomedia studies including, but not limited to:

  • Broadcast media (radio and TV) and the environment
  • Green cinema and ecodocumentaries
  • Ecodigital art, digital environmental literature, ecopoetics and ecopoetry
  • Critical animal, plant and media studies
  • Cultural botany, literary ethnobotany and human-plant relations
  • Musical recordings and the natural world
  • Environmental ethics, values, climate change, sustainability and media
  • Feminist and Queer ecocritical readings of media texts
  • Postcolonial ecocritical readings of media texts
  • Southeast Asian religions, spiritualities, worldviews and belief systems
  • Environmentalism and activism in and through social media
  • Indigenous media, popular culture and nature
  • Images and representations of littoral, marine, estuarine, wetland and riverine environments in Southeast Asian media and popular culture

Please submit a 250-300 word abstract and a 50-word bio-note to Dr. John Ryan ( and Prof. Jason Paolo Telles ( by 15 July 2019. Authors will be notified by 1 August 2019. Complete chapters of 6,000-8,000 words will be due on 15 December 2019 with a view to publishing the book with a reputable international press in 2020.


Rust, Stephen, Salma Monani, and Sean Cubitt. 2016. “Introduction: Ecologies of Media.” In Ecomedia: Key Issues (London and New York: Routledge)

Oratunga Winter School #2:
Creating Out of Place


Oratunga Sheep Station, Adnyamathanha Country
21-27 July, 2019

Submissions close 1st June 2019


Five full days of workshops, collaboration, creative development and critical reflection hosted by the J. M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice at the University of Adelaide.

We are now welcoming expressions of interest for the Oratunga Winter School #2. Join an amazing team of scholars and creative practitioners, and let them guide you through the art of creative place-making in storied Country.


Set in the historic Oratunga sheep station on the traditional lands of the Adnyamathanha people, this winter school encourages practice and reflection on practice through a programme of solo and group activities. This year, distinguished staff include Kim Mahood, Jill Jones and Stephen Muecke; special guests include Adnyamathanha Elders Enice Marsh & Reg Wilton, as well as Nobel Laureate J. M. Coetzee.


Places are limited and a selection process applies. To register your interest, please send a short CV (max. 2 pages) and a sample of your work (max. 10 pages, 10 images or 10 minutes of composition - or any combination of these) to the Centre. Applications close 1 June 2019, and applicants will be notified of the outcome shortly after that date. Accommodation, transportation (from Adelaide) and meals are included in the fee (AU$1,400).

Cranston, CA. "Eco Churches, Eco Synagogues and Eco Hollywood: 21st-century practical responses to Lynn White, Jr.’s and Andrew Furman’s 20th-century readings of environments in crisis." Routledge Handbook of Ecocriticism and Environmental Communication, edited by Scott Slovic, Swarnalatha Rangarajan, Vidya Sarveswaran  Routledge, 2019. pp. 36-53.

Cranston, CA. “Green Media and Popular Culture: an Introduction.” Studies in Australasian Cinema, vol. 12, no. 2-3, 2018, pp. 192–195.



Animal Visions: Posthumanist Dream Writing

Animal Visions: Posthumanist Dream Writing by Susan Pyke considers how literature responds to the harms of anthropocentricism, working with Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights (1847) and various adaptations of this canonistic novel to show how posthumanist dream writing unsettles the privileging of the human species over other species.


Locked On!

Marty Branagan's novel Locked On! is based on real-life environmental blockades but is set within a humorous sci-fi universe. It's a journey to the centre of nonviolent civil disobedience by an author who has been there repeatedly over decades. The novel can be purchased in paperback or as an illustrated e-book. Marty will also discuss his book at the Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival on Saturday 8th June 2019.

EcoArts Australis 3rd National Conference:
Using the visual and performing arts to encourage
pro-environmental behaviour


University of Wollongong
26-28 May 2019

Our environment is being pressured on all sides, with burgeoning levels of rubbish and greenhouse gas emissions, increasing urban congestion, worsening tree decline and land degradation and decline in biodiversity. All of these issues relate back to our behaviour as Australian citizens. The arts are uniquely placed to explain these problems to the general public and to motivate people to adopt behaviours that have lower impacts on the environment.

The third EcoArts Australis national conference is an opportunity for you to network and communicate with others who using the arts in creative ways to encourage pro-environmental behaviour.

Keynote speakers for this year’s EcoArts Conference include Mark Howden, Marda Kirn, Cecily Miller, Jonica Newby, Jodi Newcombe, Jill Sampson and Claire Tracey.

For more information and the full program, please visit:

Janet Laurence: After Nature


Museum of Contemporary Arts, Sydney
1st March - 10th June 2019

This exhibition marks the first major survey of one of Australia’s leading contemporary artists, Janet Laurence. For over 30 years, Laurence has explored the interconnection of all living things – animal, plant, mineral – through a multi-disciplinary approach. She has employed diverse materials to explore the natural world in all its beauty and complexity, and to highlight the environmental challenges it faces today: the era of the Anthropocene.
Janet Laurence: After Nature includes key works from the artist’s career, with loans from public institutions around Australia and the MCA Collection work Cellular Gardens (where breathing begins) (2005). They encompass her alchemical works of the early 1990s that use metal plates, minerals, organic substances and lightboxes, through to her installations of the 2000s and beyond, incorporating plant and animal specimens within transparent vitrines and ‘wunderkammer’ environments. Laurence’s works reflect on the fragility of the natural world, its plight and potential restoration.
Central to the exhibition is a major new MCA commission, entitled Theatre of Trees, which brings together the last decade of Laurence’s research into plants, their medicinal and healing powers, and trees.

Image by andyround62 from Pixabay

Newsletter Titbits

If you have any news, morsels or info on things ecological and ecocritical, please send them to me for posting in future newsletters.

Jessica White
Editor, ASLEC-ANZ Newsletter


Association for the Study of Literature, Environment & Culture,
Australia New Zealand
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