Postgraduate Workshop 2017

Call for Applications

“Working-class Environmentalism: Reframing the Interface between Society and Nature”

9-10th November 2017, Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Venice, Italy

The 5th Annual Workshop of the Postgraduate Forum Environment, Literature, Culture will take place next autumn in Venice and focus on working-class environmentalism considered as the main interface between society and nature.

The workshop will open with a keynote speech by Prof. Stefania Barca (Center for Social Studies, University of Coimbra). Her respondent will be Prof. Serenella Iovino (Università degli Studi di Torino). There will also be a lecture by an expert from the CDCA (Documentation Centre on Environmental Conflicts). A field-trip to Marghera is offered to participants by Dr. Gilda Zazzara (Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia) to explore the specificities of Venice’s industrial area, one of the major industrial parks in Europe in the 20th century and at the same time a contaminated working-class urban settlement, with workers mobilising to preserve their health.

Possible topics can address:

– working class environmentalism in literary representations, biographical and autobiographical narratives and stories;
– working class environmentalism in various artistic representations (e.g. movies, theatre, photography, music, performances, graffiti);
– working class environmentalism in the urban culture and in the use of urban space;
– the idea and the experience of nature as a form of ecological consciousness of the working-class communities;
– Political Ecology & the Environmentalism of the Poor (cf. Martinez-Alier).
– material connections of work, environment and public health (trans-corporeality, “workscape”/workplace and chemicals);
– the corrective role of culture in reframing ideas of progress, prosperity, human well-being and ultimately economic models (“alternative hedonism”);
– utopian visions of liberating transformation of labour and ecological restoration;
– environmental justice struggles.

Topics should be addressed by adopting one or more of these perspectives: ecocriticism, material ecocriticism, feminist ecocriticism, and environmental justice ecocriticism.
Students can participate by submitting an excerpt of their dissertation thesis or MA thesis, or a research poster presenting their PhD project. The workshop language is English. For any request and if you are interested in participating, please send an email to by July 15th, 2017 and let us know in which form you would like to contribute (excerpt of own work/poster). Please state your current project topic and include a short biographical note (200 words). Selected participants will be notified by July 31th. We might be able to offer travel grants for participants without university or third-party funding – please state if you would need funding in your application email.

Here you can find the complete Call for Applications.