SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Wofford College will be at the center of several important national and international conversations when more than 400 participants in the 2007 biennial conference of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE) come here June 12-16. The theme of the conference is "Confluence: literature • art • criticism • science • activism • politics."
Bill McKibben, the recent founder of the organization “Step It Up 2007” and one of the first to write about climate change, will be the ASLE conference lead-off speaker. Highlights will include a panel on Hurricane Katrina, readings and a photographic exhibition.
Previously, ASLE has held conferences in Kalamazoo, Mich.; Flagstaff, Ariz.; Eugene, Ore.; and Boston. The organization has grown from about 100 in 1996 to well over 1,000, with international affiliates in Canada, India, Japan, Korea, the United Kingdom and Europe.
This will be the first time ASLE has been in the South, and the first time it has been hosted by a small liberal arts college like Wofford.
“Why is ASLE so important to Wofford and Spartanburg?” asks John Lane, associate professor of English and organizer of the ASLE conference, along with biology professor Dr. Ellen Goldey. “Because it will place us at the center of several important conversations that have never really been very public here before – global climate change, biodiversity, the fragile relationship between nature and culture – and that allows for us to hear some of the best and the brightest discuss it all.”
Nearly a dozen plenary sessions will be held during the conference, along with a number of panel discussions and other events.
McKibben, one of the country’s preeminent environmental writers and author of the bestseller “The End of Nature” (1989), has a new book due out later this year, “Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future.”
Registration deadline is April 15. To register, go to ASLE 2007 Registration Form; for payment, go to Woffordstore.com.
For updates on other speakers and programs to be included at the ASLE Conference, go to ASLE Plenary Speakers or www.wofford.edu/asle.