I was simmering, simmering, simmering; Emerson brought me to a boil.

 – Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

Call for Papers


Naturally Emerson: Creative Reading, Self-Reliance and Cultural Agency

Faculty of Letters, University of Lisbon Centre for English Studies (ULICES)
April 16-18, 2015

What role is left for the artist, the scholar, the self-reliant individual?

ULICES Research Group 3 on American Studies, “Interfacing Cultures and Identities,” wishes to reassess and update critically the work of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), seeking out new ways of responding to his call. His critique of convention, whether literary, religious or social, is an enduring legacy for the engaged citizen and the troubled artist and/or scholar alike, providing ample ground for reflection and discussion in this day and age. Emerson, “voice oracular,” father of American letters, may help us question and act upon today’s conundrums of moral relativism, ecological incertitude, inordinate individualism and societal indifference, as we search for readings and inscriptions of our human nature in its (un)sustainable interaction with the environment.

We invite up to 300-word abstracts for our conference panels and roundtables on the following (but not restricted to) topics:

  • Autobiography and Agency
  • Transcendentalism, Idealism and Experience
  • Poetry and the Arts
  • Creative Readings, Creative Writing and Language
  • Environmentalism, Ecocriticism and Sustainability
  • Activism and the Body Politic
  • American Renaissance: a Work-in-Progress?
  • Landscape and soundscape

When sending an abstract or poster proposal, please provide:

  • full title of paper, or panel
  • full name of author(s);
  • institutional affiliation;
  • individual e-mail address;
  • brief bio (max. 5 lines);
  • audiovisual requirements.

NEW Submission Deadline: Feburary 15th, 2015 (confirmation of acceptance 20th Feb, 2015)

Working languages: English and Portuguese

Conference fee: 80 euros (early bird, up to 16th March 2015 / late enrollments 100 euros)

Reduced rate for students: 40 euros

Abstracts for paper presentations or panel proposals, as well as other queries, should be submitted to

Please download the registration file below:


Registration Naturally Emerson

Bionotes of Invited Keynote Speakers

DAVID GREENHAM – invited keynote lecturer on Emerson and Transatlantic Romanticism

David Greenham is Associate Professor in English Literature and The Cultural Industries, in the Faculty of Arts, Creative Industries, and Education (ACE), University of Bristol, UK.

His research interests are Nineteenth and Twentieth Century American Literature and Intellectual History, and pedagogies of close reading.

He is the author of Emerson’s Transatlantic Romanticism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) and of a number of essays devoted to Emerson and Romanticism, and 19th century American literature and Philosophy, such as “Nature” (in Ralph Waldo Emerson in Context, CUP, 2013) and “Locating an American romanticism: Emerson, Cavell, ‘experience’” (Comparative American Studies, 2013).

TERRY GIFFORD – invited masterclass lecturer for the “Nature Writing” section of the program

Dr. Gifford has been a visiting scholar at the Centre for Writing and Environment of Bath Spa University since Jan 2011. He retired from the University of Leeds in 2004 as Reader in Literature and Environment and Director of Research in the School of Performance and Cultural Industries where he taught Creative Writing. In that role he introduced practice-based PhD programmes at Leeds in Theatre, in Dance and in Creative Writing. For twenty-one years, until 2008, he was Founding Director of the annual International Festival of Mountaineering Literature.

Currently, he is Profesor Honorifico at the Universidad de Alicante, Spain, where he co-supervises PhD students in ecocriticism and conducts research with its staff. He is also a member of the Spanish research group GIECO (literature and environment) based at the University of Alcala.

He is the author of seven collections of poetry, several books of ecocriticism, a collection of climbing journalism. He also edited the complete works of John Muir in two volumes, and have written or edited five books on Ted Hughes. His extensive list of book publications include Ted Hughes (2009), Reconnecting with John Muir: Essays in Post-Pastoral Practice (2006), Pastoral (1999), Green Voices: Understanding Contemporary Nature Poetry (1995).

ROCHELLE JOHNSON – invited keynote speaker on American Transcendentalism

Co-Chair of the Department of English, University of Idaho.

Professor of English and Environmental Studies and an expert on American literature, natural history writing, the literature of slavery, and the environmental humanities. She is the Organizational Liaison for The Thoreau Society to The American Literature Association (ALA) and Modern Language Association (MLA) and a member of the Advisory Board of the The James Fenimore Cooper Society. She was Vice President and Immediate Past President of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment and the Editorial Board Member of ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment.

Her research interests are centered on influential figures in the environmental history of the United States, such as Henry David Thoreau and Susan Fenimore Cooper. She has worked on some of the key concepts and movements associated with the environmental imagination, including the notion of “wilderness”, the artistic movement known as “the picturesque,” or the literary-philosophical tradition known as American Transcendentalism. 

Some of her most recent publications include: “‘This enchantment is no delusion’: Henry David Thoreau, the New Materialisms, and Ineffable Materiality.”  ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment (12,500 words); “Rediscovering  Indian Creek: Imagining Community on the Snake River Plain.” In On Location: Rediscovering a Sense of Place, ed. Laird Christensen and Hal Crimmel.  University of Nevada Press, 2008: 170-185;  “‘Patch-work  Labors’: Susan Fenimore Cooper’s Correspondence and the Recovery of a Literary  Career.” In Lives Out of Letters: Essays in AmericanLiterary Biography and  Documentation, ed. Robert D. Habich. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press,  2004: 143-168.

Suggested hotels in the vicinity of the Faculty of Letters of the University of Lisbon within easy reach of the conference venue:

NH Lisboa Campo Grande
Hotel Lisboa – Radisson Blu Hotel, Lisbon
Hotel ALIF Campo Pequeno – ALIF Hotels
VIP Inn Berna Hotel: Hotel 3 estrelas em Lisboa, Portugal
Hotel Vip Executive Zurique – Lisboa cidade … – Hotelopia
Hotel 3K Barcelona

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