From June 21–26, Indiana University is hosting the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment’s biennial conference. With a membership of 1,300 and affiliate organizations in 8 countries, ASLE is a dynamic organization that lives up to its mission statement “to facilitate interdisciplinary and innovative approaches to the study of nature and culture through forms such as nature writing, art, ecocritical scholarship, pedagogy, science writing, poetry, music, creative writing, and film, among other forms.” At this year’s conference—”Species, Space and the Imagination of the Global”—Ashgate is proud to debut two new essay collections, which can be found at the Scholar’s Choice tables.
Ecocritical Shakespeare, edited by Lynne Bruckner and Daniel Brayton, is part of Ashgate’s well-regarded series Literary and Scientific Cultures of Early Modernity. In harmony with ASLE’s mission, this collection poses crucial questions about Shakespeare’s relevance to the study of today’s environmental challenges: Can reading, writing about, and teaching Shakespeare contribute to the health of the planet? To what degree are Shakespeare’s plays anthropocentric or ecocentric? What is the connection between the literary and the real when it comes to ecological conduct?
Considering Animals, edited by Carol Freeman, Elizabeth Leane, and Yvette Watt, is an important contribution to animal studies that draws on the expertise of scholars trained in the biological sciences, humanities, and social sciences to investigate the complex and contradictory relationships humans have with nonhuman animals. Of central importance, signaled by the ambiguity of the collection’s title, is the evidence that humans are not the only considering species on the planet. Ashgate is particularly proud that the work of Marc Becoff and Helen Tiffin, keynote speakers at this year’s ASLE conference, features in the volume.
As these two examples show, Ashgate is committed to fostering scholarship that explores the interrelationship of the arts with ecocritical concerns. We invite proposals for monographs and essay collections that contribute to this timely and important area of study.