Niagara Falls, NY, USA
Organization: Northeast Modern Language Association
In concert with the theme of the 2023 NeMLA annual convention, “Resilience,” this panel will consider in what forms sustainability and resilience (broadly conceived) appear in the literature and philosophy of ancien régime France. In the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, France and Europe more broadly faced a variety of social, political, economic, and environmental crises, from the brutal Wars of Religion in the sixteenth century, to the “Little Ice Age” climatic downturn that affected agricultural production, to more international disputes, political uprisings like the Fronde, the 1720 outbreak of plague in Marseille, and the Lisbon earthquake of 1755. This panel will seek to consider what narratives and strategies of resilience—to environmental pressures, natural catastrophes, social and political change, and other crises—can be found in the works of physiocrats, natural historians and philosophers, savants of the Académies, and writers of fiction, theater, and poetry. How do they understand and respond to these challenges? How do their projects envision a sustainable present and future for the nation and its people? And what might we learn from them? This panel will seek to engage an interdisciplinary group of scholars at all stages of their careers working in literary and philosophical studies, ecocriticism and the environmental humanities, and the history of science and technology. During our present time of anthropogenic climate change, global pandemic, economic uncertainty, and social transformation, this panel aims to highlight the continued relevance of early modern thought and literature both to understand “how we got here” and other ways of thinking about sustainability and resilience. Please submit abstracts of 200 to 250 words via the NeMLA portal (https://cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/20027) by September 30, 2022.