Call for Papers

‘J. G. Ballard and the Natural World’
School of English, Birmingham City University, Curzon Building
Saturday 29th October 2016

‘Is there such a thing as authentic “Nature” these days?
Or is it now merely an adjunct to the electronic media, almost a TV gimmick?
Is it rapidly turning into a theme park?’
J.G. Ballard, Time Out Magazine, September 1987

 

J. G. Ballard’s fictions famously explore the meeting point between the inner world of the psyche and the outer realm of ‘reality’. Ballard called this convergence ‘inner space’, a dimension which, in a Romantic echo, is half perceived and half created. This one-day, interdisciplinary symposium seeks to understand the importance of Ballard’s works as we enter into (or continue on in) the age of the Anthropocene. What do Ballard’s vivid depictions of flora and fauna, or their disturbing absence, have to say to a world that is obsessed with images of plant and animal life, but is destroying the same at an unprecedented rate? How do Ballard’s landscapes, transformed by human mismanagement and/or the imagination, speak to concerns about our rapidly changing climate? What hope does the power of the imagination, central to so much of Ballard’s writing, offer in terms of anthropogenesis – and what dangers might it disguise?
250-word abstracts for 20-minute presentations are invited, and both creative and critical responses are welcomed. Themes might include, but are not limited to:
• Ballard and ecology
• War and the environment
• Animals/plant-life/the natural world in Ballard’s fiction
• Ecology and the city
• Ballard and the weather
• The mind/world dyad
• Sight and sound in a changing world
• Nature and mediation
Please send proposals and any questions to thomas.knowles@bcu.ac.uk.
The deadline for abstracts is the 4th of September 2016.