About Grounding Story

Grounding Story is a meeting of scholars, artists, writers and activists that respond to the material and ideological implications of environmental storytelling in either a speculative or a critical mode [1]. On one hand, we are concerned with situated and embodied narratives that can cultivate cosmopolitical worlds and earthly accountabilities. On the other hand, we seek ecocritical and environmental humanities interventions on the limitations of story's capacity to 'save the planet'. In this sense, Grounding Story aims to bring the loftier claims of story's potential down to earth, while still affirming the vital role of story in movements for social and environmental justice. The keynote speakers are Professor Greta Gaard, Dr Dan Hikuroa, A/Prof Thom van Dooren and Dr Alison Whittaker, plus a plenary panel with scholars, activists and Elders from the Anaiwan Language Revival Program.

As storytelling proliferates an object of critical interest in disciplines far beyond literary studies, predictions concerning the death of the novel can still be heard. Far from dying, novels are more abundant now than at any previous time in human history. In this context, what or whose stories matter most in this milieu? And what forms should we study more carefully? Turning to diverse creative media, dominant and resurgent languages, embodied methodologies, and experiments in multispecies ecologies, we are mapping out the diverse modes of ecological storying, as well as asking how matter itself is involved in writing stories and how the stories we tell are material.

This is the 7th Biennial Conference of the Association of Literature, Environment and Culture, Australia and New Zealand (ASLEC-ANZ)

[1] This distinction is taken from Maria Puig de la Bellacasa’s Matters of Care: Speculative Ethics in More Than Human Worlds (Minneapolis: U Minnesota P, 2017), p.7. Where “speculative” connects specifically to the feminist quest for alternative worlds.)