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25th Carolina Conference for Romance Studies
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Keynote Speakers: Ari Blatt, Elena Past, & Cristina Rivera Garza

3/26/2020 to 3/28/2020
When: Thursday, March 26, 2020
Where: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina 
United States

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The Graduate Romance Association of the Department of Romance Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill would like to welcome professors, students, and independent scholars to the website for the Carolina Conference for Romance Studies. Over the past twenty-four years, our conference has grown tremendously and is now one of the largest conferences in the country coordinated entirely by graduate students. Each year, professors and graduate students from all over the globe present papers on literature, film, and interdisciplinary topics in French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Recent environmental disasters call attention to the timeliness of understanding the impact of human activities on the bio-geo-chemical cycles of the planet. A specific role in this discussion has been played by ecocriticism and, more broadly, the burgeoning field of the environmental humanities. Placing the human as a component of the natural-cultural realm, the environmental humanities’ discourse seeks to transcend traditional Western epistemologies, contesting anthropocentric understandings of the world. This requires embracing a perspective in which nature and culture, human and nonhuman, rather than being the oppositional poles of a dichotomy are indeed elements of a complexity. In fact, the term “environment” has implications beyond the natural sphere. Stemming from the French word “environ,” this term speaks generally to that which surrounds us, opening larger conversations about how humans interact with, and are shaped by, the many different natural, discursive, spatial, and political environments within our societies.

Contemporary debates, including the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean, Women’s rights movements such as Me Too or Ni una menos, and the fight for equality and visibility within the LGBTQI+ communities, all call attention to how our environments control, morph, and (de-)value the body. Such events evidence the need to rethink our relationships to concepts such as borders, gender construction, and human rights. Although conceived through present-day happenings, similar biopolitical questions can be traced back to the Medieval and Early Modern Eras. In Romance Studies today, how can our explorations of literature, film, performance, and language nuance the role of humans as an element of these different environments?

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