CFP: 2018 ACLA

March 29-April 1, 2018, UCLA

Call for papers

Abstracts due September 23, 2017 via ACLA website.

Panel Co-Organizers

Christina Gerhardt – Associate Professor, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa

Teresa Shewry – Associate Professor, University of California at Santa Barbara

“The Oceanic Turn”

Elizabeth Deloughrey recently argued that “we are witnessing an interdisciplinary transition [that] might be called ‘critical ocean studies’ or ‘the oceanic turn” (“Submarine Futures of the Anthropocene,” 2017). Scholars, she suggests, are veering away from an earlier emphasis on human movement across the ocean as a blank surface “out there” toward consideration of varied marine life forms and elements, climate change, and how submersion can reorient knowledge.

The Oceanic Turn allows for a radical re-thinking of imaginaries, of materialist ecologies, and of praxis. What constitutes the oceanic, spatially, temporally, and ontologically? Can we develop ocean-based scholarship while remembering that the terrestrial, too, is not inert or lifeless, and that ocean encompasses both water and land forms? How does ‘the oceanic turn’ reconfigure common assumptions, methods, or archives in the humanities, including in opening up new possibilities to think multi-species relations? And how do literary works defamiliarize and open up perspectives on the ocean’s material, historic, and imaginative significance?

This seminar invites papers that consider the oceanic, the space that extends from the highest tide-line to the undersea areas, including its tides, organisms and creatures, and their manifestations in texts (broadly construed). It also invites papers that consider the region sometimes known as Oceania, Te Moana Nui, or the Pacific Ocean as a scholarly framework, including scholarship that takes up recent discussions about the relationships of the ocean, Indigeneity, and empire. It welcomes papers that engage with diverse oceans as well as with the relations among them. Further paper topics might include submersion and the vast expanse below the surface, and the impact of climate change and in particular drought and sea level rise.  And we welcome papers that engage with what Jaimey Hamilton Faris has called neso-aesthetics, that is, how aesthetic texts engage with and articulate the space, place and politics specific to (oceanic) islands.

Interested participants are encouraged to contact the seminar co-organizers Christina Gerhardt at and Teresa Shewry at with any questions or possible ideas for presentations.

Please submit 250 word abstracts via the ACLA website between September 1–23, 2017.

Contact Info:

Christina Gerhardt at and Teresa Shewry at

Contact Email:

Deadline: September 23, 2017

Posted: August 24, 2017