2020 Convivium Conference
‘Inhabiting Memories & Landscapes’:
a cross-disciplinary engagement with Wendell Berry
Brecon Cathedral 14-16 June 2020
No human being has ever known, let alone imagined, the entire planet. And even in an age of “world travel,” none of us lives on the entire planet; in fact, owing to so much mobility, a lot of people…don’t live anywhere. But if we are to know any part of the planet intimately, particularly, precisely, and with affection, then we must live somewhere in particular for a long time. We must be able to call up to the mind’s eye by name a lot of local places, people, creatures, and things. One of the most significant costs of the economic destruction of farm populations is the loss of local memory, local history, and local names. Field names for instance, even such colorless names as “the front field” and “the back field” are vital signs of a culture. If the arts and sciences ever wakens from their rapture of academic specialization, they will make themselves at home in places they have helped to spoil, and set about reconstructing histories and remembering names.
(Wendell Berry, Life is a Miracle, 138)
In his novels, poetry, and essays, the American Agrarian writer, philosopher, and farmer Wendell Berry frequently speaks of the need to be ‘placed’, to inhabit a particular landscape and its social memory over an extended period of time. This, he believes, is a necessary precondition for fostering communities that care for the earth and the people who live off it—what he refers to as conviviality.
The American Agrarian writer, philosopher, and farmer Wendell Berry frequently speaks of the need to be ‘placed’, to inhabit a particular landscape and its social memory over an extended period of time. This, he argues, is a precondition for fostering communities that care for the earth and the people who live off it—what he refers to as conviviality.
This interdisciplinary conference will explore notions of conviviality, social well-being, and the good life that account for the interplay between local landscapes, memory/heritage, and social identities. We invite papers and panels from across the disciplines that engage either with the writings of Wendell Berry or with the interaction between memory/heritage, landscape, and social identity. Possible topics include but are not limited to:
- · Any aspect of the fiction, poetry, or essays of Wendell Berry
- · Approaches to nature and local heritage in an age of globalization
- · Memory, local landscapes, and place in regional literature, historical studies, and theology
- · Notions of the good life that account for local environments and heritage
- · Intersections of the local and global in social memory, landscapes, and identity
- · Impact of tourism on local connections with inhabited landscapes and historic sites
- · Connections between nature and heritage conservation
- · Environmental ethics that account for local heritage, religion and culture
We invite abstracts of approximately 250 words for
- · 20-minute papers
- · pre-formed 90-minute panels (please send an abstract for each paper)
- · poster presentations which will be displayed for the duration of the conference
Abstracts accompanied by a short biographical note should be sent by 17th February 2020 to firstname.lastname@example.org . Please note that the organisers will not accept proposals for all male panels.