ASLE Graduate Symposium 2016
“Toxic Borders and Bondages”

21-22 October, 2016
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

We invite you to join us for the first Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment (ASLE) graduate student symposium at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor from October 21st – 22nd, 2016. Leading up to ASLE’s 2017 biennial in Detroit, the symposium “Toxic Borders and Bondages: Intersecting Ecology with Capitalism, Racism, Heteropatriarchy and (Dis)possession” will offer graduate students the opportunity to explore the following questions.

How does the discourse and lived reality of “toxicity” redefine the borders of mind, body, and community? And indeed, what becomes coded as “toxic” and what does not? Through a provocation to erect borders and a simultaneous admonition that they will fail, the notion of toxicity urges critical inquiry into how barriers of aversion are both configured and undermined. At this symposium, we aim to collaborate across discourses and develop a space for dialogue about how toxicity broadly writ has become discursively bonded to certain natural, human, and national bodies in order to uphold systems of colonization and imperialism, racism and white supremacy, capitalist accumulation and dispossession, patriarchy and compulsory heterosexuality, and other regimes of hierarchical oppression.

Keynote addresses will be given by environmental justice scholars Julie Sze from the University of California, Davis and John Gamber from Columbia University.

Friday, October 21 | Saturday, October 22

Friday, October 21

9:30-10:30AM Breakfast & Opening Remarks (3222 Angell Hall)

* Food is located in 3241 Angell Hall

10:30AM-12PM: Morning Session

Panel 1A: Imagining Climate Justice (3222 Angell Hall)

Panel 1B: Environmental Encounters: Materiality, Sexuality, and Embodiment (3512 Haven Hall)

12-1:30PM: Lunch

* Food is located in 3241 Angell Hall

* Fresh coffee will be available at 1:45PM, before the start of our afternoon panels!


Private Event: Lunch Workshop with Julie Sze (3184 Angell Hall)

1:45-3:15PM: Afternoon Session

Panel 2A: The Toxic and the Pristine: Reading Urban Landscapes

(3222 Angell Hall)

Panel 2B: Contagion and Contamination: Health and the Inheritances of Environmental Racism (3512 Haven Hall)

3:15-3:30PM: Break

3:30-5PM: Keynote

Toxic Masculinity/Toxic Land: Navajo Anticolonialism in Drunktown’s Finest by John Gamber (Columbia University, Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature)

Location: 3222 Angell Hall

5-5:15PM: Break


5:15PM-5:45PM: The Imprudent Cartography of Thought: Performing Borders in Dance (North Quad Space 2435)

5:45PM Graduate Student Social (North Quad Space 2435)

* Light refreshments provided

Saturday, October 22

8:30-9:30AM: Breakfast

* Food is located in 3241 Angell Hall

9:30AM-11AM: Morning Session

Panel 3A: Global Representations of Extraction, Colonization, and

Human Disposability (3222 Angell Hall)

Panel 3B: Interrogating Toxicity: Displacement, Diaspora, and States of Abjection (3512 Haven Hall)

11-11:15AM: Break

11:15-12:45PM: Keynote

“Violence and Environmental Racism”

Julie Sze, University of California, Davis (Professor of American Studies)

Location: 3222 Angell Hall

12:45-2PM Lunch

* Food is located in 3241 Angell Hall

* Fresh coffee will be available at 1:45PM, before the start of our afternoon panels!

1:00-2PM: Private Event

Lunch Workshop with John Gamber (3184 Angell Hall)

2-3:30PM: Afternoon Sessions

Panel 4A: The Bordered World: Race, Nation, and Temporality (3222 Angell Hall)

Panel 4B: Latinx Borderlands, Immigration, and Environmental Justice (3512 Haven Hall)

3:30-4:00PM: Break

4:00-6:15PM: Environmental Justice Activisms Roundtable

Michelle Martinez, Southwest Detroit Activist
Melvin Parson, Owner of We The People Growers Association
Nayyirah Shariff, Flint Rising Director
Laura MacIntyre, Flint Rising Activist and Member of Flint Mom Power Group
Noor Ahmad, Earth First Activist and Student Organizer

Location: 3222 Angell Hall

* Light refreshments provided

6:30-8:00PM Closing Reception (3222 Angell Hall)

* Food is located in 3241 Angell Hall