Announcement: Conference Schedule

The EMC is pleased to announce the schedule for the second annual EcoMaterialisms graduate conference, “Scales of Matter(ing),” to be held at UC Davis May 13-14, 2016. We have thirty-seven presenters over two days, representing twelve universities, including two international universities, and thirteen disciplinary backgrounds.

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Click on the paper title to view abstract.

EcoMaterialisms: Scales of Matter(ing)

Friday, May 13th, 2016

830am – Breakfast 

900am-1030am – Poetics of Scale: Climate, Crisis, and Collectivity

Annette Hulbert, UC Davis English, “The Still Portentous Sun”: Aesthetics of Disaster in Anne Finch’s “Upon the Hurricane”

Elizabeth Giardina, UC Davis English, A Discordant Sublime: Edgar Allan Poe’s Poetics and the Anthropocene

Kristin George Bagdanov, UC Davis English, Engaging Crisis: Lyrical Modeling in the Anthropocene

1045am-1215pm – Speculative Oikos and the Bitsy Bits

Ryan David Leack, UC Riverside English, An Event on the Horizon: Gertrude Stein and Quantum Physics

Chris D. Jimenez, University of Pennsylvania English, Bioeconomics: Speculative Fiction, Pandemics, and the Corporatization of Global Health

Stephanie Maroney, UC Davis Cultural Studies, An Organ, a Garden, a Holobiont: Conceptualizing the Human Microbiome

Melissa Wills, UC Davis English, Redemption of the Microbes: Bacterial Ecocatastrophe Narratives at the Advent of the Human Microbiome Project

1215pm-100pm – Catered Lunch for Participants

100pm-230pm – The Resistance of Objects in Narratives of Conquest

Martina Bortignon, Universidad Aldolfo Ibáñez / Pontifica Universidad Católica de Chile Literature and Liberal Arts, How much does a butterfly weigh? Reading perceptions in Il peso della farfalla, by Erri De Luca

Sophia Booth Magnone, UC Santa Cruz English, Of Infection and Infatuation: Telling a Multispecies Love Story in Upstream Color

Vivian Underhill, UC Santa Cruz Feminist Studies, Frozen Resistance: Arctic Sea Ice as a Non-Human Actor in Imperial Narratives of Conquest

245pm-415pm – Toxic Matters: Petro-Capitalism and Climactic Economies

Sophia Bamert, UC Davis English, “Displacement without Moving”: Material and Narrative Constructions of Petro-Capitalist Space in Cities of Salt

Cristina Faiver-Serna, USC American Studies and Ethnicity, Tracing Toxic Matter

James R. Goebel, UC Irvine Comparative Literature, Neoliberal Environmentalism: Value | Speed | Sacrifice

430pm-630pm – Keynote

Eva Hayward, Gender & Women’s Studies at the University of Arizona, Tucson.

Wailing Bones: Ellen Gallagher, Drexciya, and Freud’s Oceanic

Looking at the artwork of Ellen Gallagher, this talk asks how race and racial thinking have shaped our understanding of seawater, oceans, and undersea life. Problematically, oceans are often deracinated in science studies, art history, and cultural studies, reinforcing an unspoken assumption that the politics of race stop at the shoreline. In her ongoing project titled Watery Ecstatic (2001-present), Gallagher juxtaposes Sun Ra’s afro-futurism and Freud’s often-overlooked interests in oceanography (a researcher of marine zoology in Trieste) with her own studies of the mythical Drexciya, an undersea world populated by those who were murdered or committed suicide along the slave routes of the “Middle Passage.” Through these paintings, reliefs, and drawings, Gallagher asks us to reflect on the relationship between Freud’s “oceanic feeling” and geopolitical trauma. How has ocean life become a melancholic domain for what cannot be remembered? In what ways does race shape marine matter(s)?

630pm – Open Reception


Saturday, May 14th, 2016

830am – Breakfast 

900am-1030am – Texts as Transformative Models: Material Space and the Mechanisms of Scale

Benjamin Blackman, UC Davis English, Welcome to the Crisis: Mapping Environmental Simulacra in Don DeLillo and Juliana Spahr

Katherine Buse, UC Davis English, The Feedbacks of Frank Herbert’s Dune

Rachael DeWitt, UC Davis English, Dialectical Detection: Wild and Urban Frontiers in Poe’s “The Mystery of Marie Roget”

1045am-1215pm – Biopower and Sexuality: The Monstrous, the Insect, and the Synthetic

Anne O’Connor, UC Davis Cultural Studies, Scaling Prophylaxis: Sex and the Zika Virus Across Human and Insect Bodies

Ray San Diego, UC Irvine Culture and Theory, Synthetic Sensations with the Insatiable Asa Akira

Benjamin Schultz-Figueroa, UC Santa Cruz Film and Digital Media, A Behavioral Eye: Science and Power in the Work of John Dollard and Neal E. Miller

1215pm-100pm – Lunch 

100pm-230pm – Lands and Oceans: An Archipelago of Recording

George Allen, UC Irvine Spanish and Portuguese, Hyperobjects at the End of the World: Water-Oriented-Ontology and the Limits of Memory in Patricio Guzmán’s El bóton de nácar

Tekla Babyak, Independent Scholar, Beyond the Scale: Kant, Beethoven and the Mathematical Sublime

Lucia Cash, UC Irvine Spanish and Portuguese, Galeano’s Genesis and the Re-articulation of “Land”

Heidi Hong, USC American Studies and Ethnicity, The Scales of Island Ecologies: Nationalism, Indigeneity, and Imagining Oceanscapes in Wen-Chen Tseng’s Fishing Luck

Rebeca Velasquez, University of Houston English, Towards a Reinterpretation of Geographical Space and Setting in the Postcolonial Novel

245pm-415pm – Tending to Scales of Ethnographic Attention

Gabriel Coren, UC Berkeley Anthropology, Ecologies of Encounter: Environment as Method

Jen Hoover, UC Davis Textiles, Social Fabric: A Matter of Scale

Mel Salm, UC Davis Anthropology, Scaling Practices of Collaboration: Experiments in Conduct and Attunement

Julia Sizek, UC Berkeley Anthropology, The Desert Aesthetic and Open Fencing: Restoration in the Eastern Mojave and Northern Colorado Deserts

Joshua Weiss, UC Davis Anthropology, Chasing the Sneakernet: Tracing Material Media Networks in Havana, Cuba

430pm-630pm – Keynote

Zakiyyah Iman Jackson, Department of English at George Mason University.

Losing Manhood

In a reading that pairs Frederick Douglass’s political speeches and 1845 Narrative with Toni Morrison’s Beloved, my presentation attempts to clarify the nature of the proximity between blackness and animality at the intersection of evolutionary theory and abolitionism. My paper will scrutinize debates concerning delimitations of species and sentiment at the turn of the century. Investigating black literary responses to the reciprocal production of discourses of blackness and animality, I argue that the existential predicament and mythic time of blackness suggests new objects and approaches for queer studies, feminist new materialism, and posthumanist animal studies.

630pm – Open Reception

Funding for this event has been generously provided by Science and Technology Studies, the Institute for Social Sciences, and the Departments of Anthropology and English at UC Davis.


Second Keynote Added: Eva Hayward

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We are excited to

Eva Hayward will be delivering one of the two keynote addresses for the second annual EcoMaterialisms graduate conference, “Scales of Matter(ing).” Dr. Hayward is Assistant Professor in Gender & Women’s Studies at the University of Arizona, Tucson. Here is a description of her research interests:

“My research focuses on aesthetics, environmental and science studies, and transgender theory, combining art and science to create visual presentations on zoontology and feminist techno-science studies. She has recently published articles in Transgender Studies QuarterlydifferencesCultural AnthropologyParallaxWomen’s Studies QuarterlyWomen and Performance, and GLQ. My book, SymbioSeas, on underwater representations and trans-species mediations is forthcoming.”


Deadline Extension: Feb 12, 2016

The deadline for individual and panel submissions has been extended to Friday, February 12, 2016. Individual abstracts should be no more than 300 words and include your name and institutional affiliation. Panel proposals should be no more than 750 words and include a description of the panel topic and title as well as the names and institutional affiliations of each participant.

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Submit abstracts and proposals to

Call for Papers

EcoMaterialisms: Scales of Matter(ing)

University of California, Davis

May 13-14, 2016

Keynote: Zakiyyah Iman Jackson (George Mason University, English)

Scales delineate zones, trajectories, bodies, spaces, and intensities. Whether scales are large or small, go up or down, they form territories with fractal properties that disrupt the traditional relations between inside and outside, macro and micro, friend and enemy. Simultaneously incongruent, fragmented, and interrelated, scales complicate questions of legibility, knowledge, and power. Rather than the pre-given contours of matter, scales are constructed and performed by the various actors for whom they matter. Making scales is about creating, inhabiting, and containing worlds, and the ways those worlds build up on one another and in one another – worlds that are situated, vulnerable, experimental, and never innocent.

With this in mind, “EcoMaterialisms: Scales of Matter(ing)” will bring interdisciplinary graduate work to bear on questions of scale in new materialist discourse and practice. As this field attempts to think the relation between matter and meaning, we ask: how are scales structured and negotiated through discursive and material practices? What kinds of scales do these practices produce? What kinds of beings, relations, and affective states do particular forms of scale enable or exclude? What kinds of politics do different forms of scale make possible? Submissions may address the following topics, but are by no means limited to:

  • Histories and theories of the organism, of ecologies, and of cosmologies
  • Racial, sexual, and psychological difference and normative scaling
  • Spatial and temporal scales and the ethics and politics thereof
  • Scales of embodiment: measurement and visibility
  • Rhetorics, practices, and philosophies of science: critical perspectives
  • Scales of sensory perception
  • Phenomenology after ‘the human’
  • Scale and knowledge production
  • Scales of environmental disaster and response
  • Humanist and post-humanist scales
  • Scale: topologies and topographies
  • Ontological scales and ontologies of scale-making

We are accepting abstracts for individual presentations as well as panel proposals for 3-4 presenters. Individual abstracts should be no more than 300 words and include your name and institutional affiliation. Panel proposals should be no more than 750 words and include a description of the panel topic and title as well as the names and institutional affiliations of each participant.

Submit abstracts and proposals to by Friday, February 12, 2016.

Funding for this event has been provided by UC Davis Science and Technology Studies and the Department of Anthropology.

Keynote: Zakiyyah Iman Jackson

Zakiyyah Jackson, Assistant Professor, English, CHSS. Photo by Creative Services/George Mason University

We are very excited to announce that Zakiyyah Iman Jackson will be delivering one of the two keynote addresses for the second annual EcoMaterialisms graduate conference, “Scales of Matter(ing).” Dr. Jackson is assistant professor of Black Feminist Theory, Literature, and Criticism in the English department at George Mason University. Here is a description of her research interests:

“My book in progress, tentatively titled The Blackness of Space Between Matter and Meaning, argues that key Black Atlantic literary, visual, and philosophical texts generate a critical praxis of humanity, paradigms of relationality, and modes of embodiment that alternately expose, alter, or reject the nexus of ‘race’ and ‘species’ discourse in Western science and philosophy. Reading the existential predicament of modern racial blackness through and against the human-animal distinction in Western philosophy and science reveals not only the mutual imbrication of ‘race’ and ‘species’ in Western thought but also invites a reconsideration of the extent to which exigencies of racialization have preconditioned and prefigured modern discourses governing the nonhuman. Ultimately, The Blackness of Space reveals the pernicious peculiarity of both prevailing foundational conceptions of ‘the human’ rooted in Renaissance and Enlightenment humanism and current ‘multiculturalist’ alternatives. What emerges from this questioning is an emphatically queer sense of being/knowing/feeling human, one that necessarily disrupts the foundations of the current hegemonic mode of the Human.”

About the Inter-UC EcoMaterialisms Collective

The EcoMaterialisms Collective began during the 2014-15 academic year at UC Irvine, representing graduate students and faculty from nine departments across the School of Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Claire Trevor School of the Arts. During that year, we conducted an interdisciplinary engagement with the fields of ecocriticism, critical environmental studies, and the so-called new materialisms. This work culminated in a graduate conference titled “EcoMaterialisms: Organizing Life and Matter” (for more info:

A result of that conference was this year’s inter-UC collaboration with participants from Davis, Irvine, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz. This year’s trajectory falls along a three-part nexus: histories and theories of the organism in the fall quarter, of ecologies in the winter quarter, and of cosmologies in the spring quarter. Our goal is to inquire into the role of scale in new materialist discourse and practice, what structures it, what it excludes, what’s at stake, and so on.

The conference CFP will be distributed late November/early December.