CFP: How Can Literary Studies Contribute to a Just Transition to Sustainable Societies?

An online symposium organised by the University of Birmingham (Birmingham, UK, and Dubai, UAE) and the Commission on Science and Literature (DHST/IUHPST)

 Thursday 2 November 2023

Two of the designated themes for COP28, to be hosted by UAE in November and December 2023, are a ‘Just Energy Transition’ and ‘Youth, Education and Skills’. Science is fundamental to our understanding of climate change, while technology will have a key role to play in addressing it. At the same time, Arts and Humanities subjects such as literature have a vital contribution to make. Literary studies can help to foster empathy with those on the front line in the climate crisis, to process emotional responses to the changes happening to our world, to focus attention on the value of nature and our part within it, and to imagine the sustainable future we need to create together.

This online symposium aims to bring together early career scholars and research students from around the world to present case studies showing how research and education in literature can contribute to a just transition to a sustainable future. We welcome presentations on fiction, non-fiction, poetry and drama in any language and from all cultures. The papers themselves should be presented in English and should be 10 minutes long, with or without slides.

The symposium will be hosted jointly by Prof John Holmes in Birmingham and Dr Niveen Kassem in Dubai. If you would like to present a paper, please send a 150-word proposal in English together with a 50-word biography to by Friday 1 September. We are particularly keen to hear from academics within five years of qualifying, postdoctoral researchers, and PhD and MA students. In preparing the programme, we will prioritise the representation of different regions and nationalities together with gender parity, as well as assessing the quality of the proposals themselves.