Call for Papers

A ‘proto-ecological’ movement, Romanticism’s critical explorations of the complex (inter)dependencies between humankind, nature, the environment and aesthetics seem to be relevant as never before. Over the last decades, pressing environmental issues aggravated to the point that scholars from various disciplines diagnosed that we are living in a new geological (human made) epoch, the so-called “Anthropocene”. Scrutinizing Romanticism’s strong affinity towards environmental issues allows for an insight into the fragile and precarious interrelations between various ecosystems, human agency and (post-)industrial society.

This conference aims to go beyond traditional (eco)critical paradigms and to reconsider the relation between humankind, nature / the environment / ecology and aesthetics in (and through) Romanticism both in (meta-)theory and practice. With our focus on “Romantic Ecologies”, understood as a wide and plural concept, we invite a multicity of theoretical approaches and readings. This broad, metaphorical conception of ecology may thus encompass political and socio-historical issues, such as the impact of ecology / the environment / biosystems in the contexts of (post)colonialism and (trans)atlantic dialogues alongside societal ideas in the light of a re-evaluation of the relationship between humankind, the environment, sustainability and capitalism. Further focus areas comprise the role of various biosystems together with their (inter)dependencies and symbioses as well as aspects of non-human agency and materiality. Not least, we aim at revaluating the formal-aesthetic level, which has been largely neglected by classical ecocritical approaches to Romanticism, by encouraging readings and theories that center around the idea of sustainability and regeneration in / as art. This may include questions of autopoiesis, art as renewal (e.g. productive melancholia), sustainability / regeneration of genre(s), or aesthetic sustainability as manifested for example in structures of repetition and difference.


We invite proposals for papers in English of 20 minutes length. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:


  • eco-politics: (post)colonial and / or (trans)atlantic perspectives
  • Romantic ecologies, (post)capitalism and (post)industrialism
  • Romantic ecologies and ethics
  • Romantic biosystems and their (inter)dependencies: animal studies, plant studies, urban ecologies, theories and practices of space / place
  • ecology and materiality
  • the body: disease, contagion, affect
  • disease as deconstructive force
  • beyond (ecocritical) theory: Romantic Ecologies in the light of environmental humanities; Romantic meta-ecology; Romantic ecologies and poststructuralism
  • sustainability and regeneration in aesthetics and art: autopoiesis, imagination, repetition and difference
  • the sustainability / regeneration of genre(s) and form in Romanticism


Abstracts (300 words) for papers proposed should be accompanied by a short biographical note, plus full address and institutional affiliation.

Deadline: 31 January 2022