Call for Proposals

These dates are in the past – the conference call for submissions is provided here for reference

An International Online Conference, 23rd-25th March 2023


Deadline for abstracts: 16th December 2022

The two-day international online conference ‘Greening Modern Languages Research and Teaching’ will reflect on the role Modern Languages as a discipline has to play in times of ecological crises, in rethinking our academic practice as educators, scholars and eco-citizens, and ways in which this intersects with current efforts to decentre and decolonise the curriculum. The conference will open a reflection on the place of Modern Languages in the Environmental Humanities and in collective action towards environmental sustainability and justice.

As a discipline that has been profoundly and productively decentred in the postcolonial context, moving beyond the nations that ‘for a long time, determined [its] boundaries’ (Forsdick 2015: 2), how might Modern Languages contribute to developing and rethinking our sense of place and sense of planet (Heise 2008) in times of climate emergency and the sixth mass extinction? How may Modern Languages take part in challenging the universalism of monolingualism and of the ‘Age of Man’? What role can Modern Languages play in the Environmental Humanities and the ‘‘‘unsettling’’ of dominant narratives’ and exploration of ‘the implications of new narratives that are calibrated to the realities of our changing world’ (Bird Rose, van Dooren, Chrulew, Cooke, Kearnes and O’Gorman 2012)? What methodologies, concepts and multilingual lexicon does the transnational and cross-disciplinary field of Modern Languages offer to rethink our relationship to the more-than-human? How may we, as Modern Languages scholars and educators, contribute to meaningful and significant sustainability, while navigating the pitfalls of a term that green capitalism has attempted to void of its potential for political dissensus? What possibilities are there for those working within unsustainable higher education systems?

These are some of the key questions that this conference will explore. It will take place online in order to facilitate international participation. The online format will also be used to foster dialogue in the run-up to the conference, in online conversations structured around key themes and questions and that will feed into the discussions at the conference itself.

We welcome contributions from any field(s) within Modern Languages. Possible topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Narratives and counter-narratives of the environment across cultures and media
  • Languages of the environment
  • Environmental cultures in minoritized and lesser-spoken languages
  • Translating nature
  • Decolonial ecologies and transcolonial eco-resistance movements
  • Environmental activisms: local struggles and regional/national/transnational networks
  • Crossing (language) borders: environmental migration, mobilities and immobilities, the role of intercultural competence
  • Environmental and animal philosophies across languages
  • Intercultural competence and interspecies competence
  • Environment and marginalised or non-dominant identities: ecofeminism; environmental disability studies; queer ecologies
  • Environment, food, health and wellbeing across societies
  • Creativity and sustainability: Environmental Modern Languages and practice as research
  • Teaching Environmental Modern Languages at school and university levels; intercultural pedagogy and the environment; exploring cultural dimensions of sustainability in world language classrooms; language for Specific Purposes (LSP) and sustainable development 
  • Sustainability and study abroad: offsetting environmental impacts of short-term travel study programs; integration of environmental humanities topics into study abroad curricula; ethical engagement with the environment and Indigenous communities through study abroad
  • Cultural extinction and regional/non-dominant/bilingual language instruction
  • Environmental and pedagogical concerns and opportunities during increasingly electronic/digitally based instruction; sustainability and shifts in resource allocation during austerity and pandemic

We invite abstracts of around 250-300 words for individual 20-minute papers, and proposals for complete panels or roundtables. Proposals for complete panels should include an abstract for each individual paper, and a brief 250-300-word outline of the rationale of the proposed panel. Proposals for roundtables should include a 750-1000-word outline for the overall rationale and motivation, including an indication of each speaker’s contribution. We encourage formats other than traditional papers or roundtables, which might include, but are not limited to: creative practices, seminar format sessions with pre-circulated papers, workshops or non-academic collaborations. We also encourage proposals for panels, sessions, workshops or events that foster a dialogue across languages and/or regions. Please send proposals in a Word document and in English to by 16th December 2022.

As part of the conference there will be workshops to collaboratively build a multilingual lexicon of environmental keywords across cultures, and to share pedagogical resources for developing ecological awareness in conjunction with linguistic and cultural diversity. If you would like to propose yourself as the facilitator or co-facilitator of one of these workshops, please send to, by 16th December 2022, in a Word document and in English, a bio-bibliographical note of no more than 300 words focused on relevant qualifications and experience, and a brief statement of around 250 words suggesting ideas about how to make such workshop productive and foster exchange between participants. Please clearly indicate your specific language expertise.

You are welcome to both propose a paper or panel and to put yourself up for workshop facilitating, but in the event of high interest, we will opt to include more people. 

Outputs stemming from the conference will include an edited volume; and a website, which will feature the multilingual lexicon and pedagogical toolkit. ‘Greening Modern Languages Research and Teaching’ is funded by the British Academy / Leverhulme Trust Small Grant scheme (SRG22\220097).