GCfE 13th Annual Conference

  Europe’s Environments:

 Climates of Change and Sustainability in Cross-disciplinary Perspectives

9–10 May 2019

Whether viewed as a natural environment defined by its geography, as a human environment shaped by culture, politics and economics, or as both: Europe and its global surroundings are undergoing an intense period of change and uncertainty. Not for the first time in history, various ecological/meteorological, technological, ideological and sociological challenges are demanding flexible and sustainable responses from Europeans and their institutions.

While Europeans have contributed to plastic waste accumulation around the world, the continent itself is experiencing increased pollution, extreme weather conditions and rising energy prices. Meanwhile, demographic changes engendered by aging populations and migration – including refugees fleeing war, poverty and environmental disasters – are putting pressure on existing structures and emboldening identitarian movements and populisms across the continent. At the same time, globalisation and new technologies – driven by multinationals and tech-giants – are transforming virtually all aspects of working and social life, within and outside Europe.

The conference wishes to address questions such as: What factors, ideas and values define and disrupt Europe and its entangled internal and external environments? What pressures have been – and continue to be – placed on these environments and how have they been dealt with, both in the past and in contemporary Europe? How can Europeans create and preserve cohesive environments that adapt to change and accommodate diversity?

We invite suggestions for 20-minute papers from disciplines such as Political Sciences, Economics, Law, History, European Studies, Modern Languages, Literature and Film, Translation and Cultural Studies, Environmental Sciences, etc. We welcome contributions relating to one or more of the following overlapping strands:

  • Natural environments: e.g. effects of global climate change; transformation of rural landscapes, intensive farming; loss of biodiversity; environmental policies and protests
  • Political and legal environments: e.g. local, national and supranational institutions; democracy, populism and extremism; the EU, Brexit andseparatist movements; immigration policy (e.g. ‘hostile environments’); security and policing
  • Socio-cultural environments: e.g. cultural encounters, minorities and diasporas; integration and identity; architecture, urban and recreational landscapes, housing; social and artistic movements; literary eco-criticism; creative representations
  • Technological and scientific environments: e.g. artificial intelligence and transhumanism; social media and privacy/data breaches; digital research and infrastructures; renewable energy/production and ecological transition
  • Socio-economic environments: e.g. changing markets and cryptocurrencies; public investments and stagnation; inequality, austerity and welfare; precarious employment/zero-hours contracts; dignity, solidarity and social justice; corporate social responsibility; ecological and social dumping (e.g. through fiscal evasion and law shopping)

As a Centre run by a steering committee of postgraduates, we particularly encourage postgraduates and early career researchers to apply. A number of bursaries will be available to assist with travel and accommodation expenses. If you would like to present at the conference, please send an abstract of 200-300 words, along with your contact details and a brief biographical note, to gcfe@contacts.bham.ac.uk by 22 February 2019.




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