Call for Papers

Rust is the underside of cosmopolis. Rust belts follow industry and its corrosions; the parasitic Rust fungi are enemies of agriculture. And yet there is an irenic side to rust: it inspires contemplation, the search for beauty, and the effort to defend what is threatened. As an agent of time, rust sponsors stories of collapse-and-recovery, evolution-and-extinction, but it also questions them.

Detroit is an ideal place to confer about rust, resistance, and recovery. We invite participants to interpret the conference theme as broadly as possible and to imagine their work in terms of content and form. We particularly encourage non-traditional modes of presentation; panels that minimize formal presentation in favor of engaged discussion; interdisciplinary approaches; environmentally inflected readings of fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, film, theatre and other media; and proposals from outside the academic humanities.

Deadline for paper and panel submissions has been extended to December 19, 2016.

Download the entire CFP

Plenary Speakers

Our list of keynote speakers includes scholars, activists and writers working on/in different forms of resistance and recovery: humor and the new American nature writing; the Transcendentalist and Humboldtian lineages in the environmental humanities; poetry and urban gardening; indigenous rights, climate fiction, and climate change; the history of slavery and the Detroit River; and cultural sustainability through the Digital Humanities.

Michael Branch is Professor of Literature and Environment at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he teaches creative nonfiction, American literature, ecocriticism and environmental writing, and film studies. He is a co-founder and past president of ASLE, served for sixteen years as the Book Review Editor of ISLE, and is co-founder and series co-editor of the University of Virginia Press book series Under the Sign of Nature: Explorations in Ecocriticism, with more than 30 titles to date. He has published five books and more than 200 articles, essays, and reviews, and his essays have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and recognized as “Notable Essays” in The Best American Essays (three times), The Best American Science and Nature Writing, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading (a humor anthology). Mike has published three new books in the past year. Raising Wild: Dispatches from a Home in the Wilderness was published by Roost Books in August 2016, and has just been issued in a paperback edition. ‘The Best Read Naturalist’: Nature Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, co-edited with Clinton Mohs, came out this spring from University of Virginia Press. His new essay collection, Rants from the Hill, was released by Roost Books just a few weeks ago, and a sequel volume of his Rants will be issued next summer. Mike lives with his wife and two young daughters in the remote, high-elevation Great Basin Desert of western Nevada. Read more at

Ross Gay is the author of three books: Against Which; Bringing the Shovel Down; and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. He is the co-author, with Aimee Nezhukumatathil, of the chapbook "Lace and Pyrite: Letters from Two Gardens," in addition to being co-author, with Richard Wehrenberg, Jr., of the chapbook, "River." He is a founding editor, with Karissa Chen and Patrick Rosal, of the online sports magazine Some Call it Ballin', in addition to being an editor with the chapbook presses Q Avenue and Ledge Mule Press. Ross is a founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a non-profit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy project. He has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Bread Loaf Writer's Conference, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Ross teaches at Indiana University; read more about him at

Tiya Miles is a professor at the University of Michigan in the Department of American Culture, Department of Afro-American and African Studies, Department of History, Department of Women Studies, and Native American Studies Program. Her research and creative interests include African American and Native American interrelated and comparative histories (especially 19th century); Black, Native, and U.S. women's histories; and African American and Native American women's literature. Her most recent book, The House on Diamond Hill: A Cherokee Plantation Story, was published by the the University of North Carolina Press in 2010. She also wrote Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom, published by the University of California Press in 2005, and a co-edited book with Sharon P. Holland, Crossing Waters, Crossing Worlds: The African Diaspora in Indian Country, published by Duke University Press in 2006. Tiya maintains a personal website at Her debut novel is The Cherokee Rose.

Siobhan Senier is Associate Professor of English at the University of New Hampshire--Durham. Her teaching and research interests include Native American Studies, Sustainability Studies, Digital Humanities, American literature, and Women's Studies. She is the author of Voices of American Indian Assimilation and Resistance (2001), as well as essays in such journals as American Literature, New England Quarterly, American Indian Quarterly, and Studies in American Indian Literatures. Dawnland Voices: An Anthology of Writing from Indigenous New England, a collection she authored with a dozen regional Native writers and historians, was published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2014. Currently, Dr. Senier holds the UNH Center for the Humanities Hayes Chair, which supports the annual Indigenous New England Conference and the website Writing of Indigenous New England. For more information, consult Dr. Senier's blog.

Laura Dassow Walls is the William P. and Hazel B. White Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame, where she teaches courses in 19th-century American literature and in literature and science studies. Her research explores the history and future of ecological thinking, most recently in Passage to Cosmos: Alexander von Humboldt and the Shaping of America (2009), which was awarded MLA's James Russell Lowell Prize and the Merle Curti Award from the Organization of American Historians. She has written extensively on Thoreau and Emerson, including Seeing New Worlds: Henry David Thoreau and 19th-Century Natural Science (1995) and Emerson's Life in Science: The Culture of Truth (2003), and edited books on Thoreau, Humboldt, and Transcendentalism. Her forthcoming book, Henry David Thoreau: A Life, is the first full-scale comprehensive biography of Thoreau in over fifty years (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2017); her current projects include West of Walden: Deliberate Reading in a Panarchic World, and a history of the American concept of "Nature." Read more at

Kyle Powys Whyte holds the Timnick Chair in the Humanities at Michigan State University. He is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Community Sustainability. His primary research addresses moral and political issues concerning climate policy and Indigenous peoples and the ethics of cooperative relationships between Indigenous peoples and climate science organizations. This research has recently extended to cover issues related to Indigenous food sovereignty and justice. He is an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Kyle's work has been supported by funders such as the U.S. National Science Foundation and Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center. He serves on the U.S. Department of Interior’s Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science and the Board of Directors of the National Indian Youth Council. He is involved in the Climate and Traditional Knowledges Workgroup, Sustainable Development Institute of the College of Menominee Nation, Tribal Climate Camp, and the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition. He is a recipient of the 2015 Bunyan Bryan Award for Academic Excellence given by Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice. Learn more at Kyle's MSU faculty website.

Schedule and Program

The final program for the 2017 ASLE Conference is now available. You will find complete information on venues, events, locations, maps, an index of presenters, and much more. Any changes that occur from now on will be included in an addenda/errata sheet with registration materials.

ASLE 2017 Final Program (PDF)

The easiest way to find someone or something on the schedule is to open the PDF in Acrobat and use the "find" icon on top menu bar, which is a magnifying glass (the keyboard shortcut "ctrl""F" will also bring up a find box). Type the name/title in the box, and hit enter. Questions about the program should be directed to

  • Tuesday, June 20
    • 1.00 pm - 5.00 pm: Pre-Conference Seminars and Workshops (Pre-Registration is required)
    • 8.30 am - 4.30 pm: Executive Council Meeting
    • 5.00 pm - 6.00 pm: General Membership Meeting
    • 6.15 pm - 7.45 pm: Opening Plenary: Michael Branch and Laura Dassow Walls
    • 8.00 pm - 9.30 pm: Opening Reception: ASLE 25th Birthday Party
  • Wednesday, June 21
    • 8.30 am - 10.00 am: Concurrent Session A
    • 10.30 am - 12.00 pm: Concurrent Session B
    • 12:15pm - 1:30pm: Special Session: Detroit Water Wars: Empire and Ecology in the Postindustrial Heartland
    • 1.30 pm - 3.00 pm: Plenary 2: Tiya Miles
    • 3.30 pm - 5.00 pm: Concurrent Session C
    • 5.30 pm - 6.30 pm: Interest Group Meetings
    • 8.00 pm - 9.30 pm: Authors’ Reception
  • Thursday, June 22
    • 8.30 am - 10.00 am: Concurrent Session D
    • 10.30 am - 12.00 pm: Plenary 3: Ross Gay
    • 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm: Diversity Caucus Meeting
    • 1.30 pm - 3.00 pm: Concurrent Session E
    • 3.30 pm - 5.00 pm: Plenary 4: Siobhan Senier
    • 5.30 pm - 6.30 pm: International Group Meetings
    • 7.30 pm - 10.00 pm: Progressive Evening in Midtown Detroit/Cass Corridor
  • Friday, June 23
    • 8.30 am - 10.00 am: Concurrent Session F
    • 10.30 am - 12.00 pm: Concurrent Session G
    • 1.00 pm - 7.00 pm: Field Trips
    • 1.00 pm - 5.00 pm: Mid-Conference Seminars/Workshops during field trips
    • 7.00 pm - 10.00 pm: Film Screening, Detroit Film Theatre at the Detroit Institute of Arts
  • Saturday, June 24
    • 8.30 am - 10.00 am: Concurrent Session H
    • 10.30 am - 12.00 pm: Concurrent Session I
    • 12.30 pm - 1.30 pm: Community Grant Presentation
    • 1.30 pm - 3.00 pm: Concurrent Session J
    • 3.30 pm - 5.00 pm: Concurrent Session K
    • 5.15 pm - 6.45 pm: Plenary 5: Kyle Powys Whyte
    • 7.00 pm - 11.00 pm: Closing Banquet/Dance, Wright Museum of African American History

Author's Reception

Any ASLE member who has published a book (or books) since the last ASLE conference in June of 2015 has the opportunity to meet and greet readers, as well as sell and sign copies. If you fit this description and wish to be included in this year's reception scheduled for the evening of Wednesday, June 21, please email your name and contact information, along with the title, publisher, and ISBN of the book, to by May 15, so we can list you in the program. There is currently space for up to 60 authors, first come first served, so please contact us soon if you plan to participate. Participants or publishers must arrange to bring copies of books to the event (we recommend 5-10 copies). Due to the fact that they may easily be lost, no advance shipments will be accepted by ASLE or Wayne State University.

Cultural Crawl: A Progressive Evening of Events, Music, and Exhibitions

Thursday night's Cultural Crawl was inspired by the Progressive Evening that took place in Moscow, Idaho at ASLE's 2015 conference. The crawl will be in Detroit's Midtown neighborhood and the Cass Corridor around Wayne State University's campus. It will feature an exciting circuit of events and exhibitions that aim to expose conference-goers to local establishments and culture, and to encourage them to mingle with Detroit’s artistic and intellectual milieu. The attached PDF contains the full schedule.

Field Trips

Volunteer Field Trip to Forgotten Harvest

Forgotten Harvest is an organization dedicated to relieving hunger in Metro Detroit and preventing nutritious food waste. Last year Forgotten Harvest “rescued” 40.9 million pounds of food by collecting surplus prepared and perishable food from 800 sources, including grocery stores, fruit and vegetable markets, restaurants, caterers, dairies, farmers, wholesale food distributors and other Health Department-approved sources. This donated food, which would otherwise go to waste, is delivered free-of-charge to 280 emergency food providers in the Metro Detroit area. This field trip is a volunteer opportunity that would bring participants to Forgotten Harvest’s repacking facility in Oak Park, where volunteers would take discarded foods and repack them for distribution to those in need.

Volunteers must sign the provided liability form and bring it with them to the warehouse. Mandatory dress code:Must wear long pants & closed toe shoes. No open toe shoes, shorts, tank tops, jewelry(Wedding rings are fine. All earrings and facial piercings must be removed.)

Belle Isle Aquarium Laboratory and Field Station

Belle Isle is the gem of the City of Detroit and Michigan State Park systems, a 982-acre island park in the Detroit River, adjacent to the shipping channel for all waterborne freight into the upper Great Lakes, and with historic aquarium and conservatory buildings designed by Albert Kahn and operating since 1904. Visitors will tour the upstairs aquarium and botanical conservatory and the downstairs laboratory, and will have the option of going on a hike in the nearby oak flatwoods forest. At the aquarium and lab, Dr. Jeffrey Ram will present local aquatic ecology, fish and invasive species, and will discuss the research that is being conducted at the field station. On the hike, Lara Treemore-Spears will lead a nature walk that highlights Belle Isle’s native plant ecosystems and includes a discussion about the pre-settlement Detroit landscape, invasive plant species, and ecological restoration. This tour is not accessible.

Great Lakes Water Authority Water Works Park and Pilot Plant

Tour one of the largest drinking water plants in North America, which supplies drinking water to approximately 40% of the state of Michigan’s population through nearly 4,000 miles of transmission and distribution mains. The Water Works Park facility houses a unique Wayne State University research laboratory and pilot plant for studying drinking water challenges such as contaminants of emerging concern (like pharmaceuticals and endocrine disrupting chemicals). The tour of the pilot plant will be led by working scientists investigating these and other concerns in water treatment systems. GLWA has strict access requirements, so everyone will need official picture ID and must wear low-heel closed-toe shoes. This tour is not accessible.

Lake St. Clair Metropark Field Station and Laboratory

The Lake St. Clair Metropark HEART Freshwater Field Station Laboratory brings the power of innovative science right to the shores of Lake St. Clair. Visitors will tour the molecular lab with scientists who study beach pathogens, review green infrastructure stormwater interventions in the parking lot and enjoy a nature walk in natural and restored wetlands along Lake St. Clair after reviewing displays about Great Lakes flora and fauna in the nature center. The laboratory is used for sensitive molecular analysis to improve accuracy and reduce waiting time to detect harmful pathogens on public beaches. This research offers innovation and insight to health departments that monitor beaches and determine when to recommend closures or issue advisories. This tour is not accessible.

Walter P. Reuther Library

The library’s North American Labor Collection has vital holdings for ASLE members who are interested in post-industrial landscapes, water quality, urban farming, and urban social welfare. Visitors will enjoy not only a tour of the library but a curator will be pulling relevant objects from these collections for a special viewing for ASLE members. This would be in addition to whatever exhibit the library has up at the time. The library is accessible.

Walking Tour in Midtown

This walking tour (approximately 2-3 miles) will lead participants through the heart of the Wayne State campus and into the Cass Corridor, with a focus on sustainability, urban gardens, and place. The tour will feature WSU's green rooftops, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) buildings, and the SEED Wayne community gardens, as well as the art and architecture of the WSU campus, including buildings by architect Minoru Yamasaki. Participants will continue down Cass Avenue to visit Avalon Bakery, the Green Garage, the Green Alleyway, the North Cass Community Garden, and the El Moore hotel and residence. Coordinated and led by Daryl Pierson, Director of WSU's Office of Campus Sustainability.

Arab American National Museum in Dearborn

Visitors will enjoy a docent-led tour of this beautiful and unique museum. The Arab American National Museum (AANM) is the first and only museum in the United States devoted to Arab American history and culture. Arab Americans have enriched the economic, political and cultural landscape of American life. By bringing the voices and faces of Arab Americans to mainstream audiences, it dispels misconceptions about Arab Americans and other minorities. Since opening in 2005, the Museum has shed light on the shared experiences of immigrants and ethnic groups, paying tribute to the diversity of our nation. The museum is accessible.

Detroit Experience Factory

This tour is called “Downtown and Beyond.” A tour guide from the Detroit Experience Factory will show ASLE members various Detroit neighborhoods and districts, from the historic homes of Indian Village to all the food vendors at Eastern Market. The route would pass through Detroit’s central neighborhoods, including Downtown, East Riverfront, Midtown, and Eastern Market.

Biking the Inner Circle Greenway

The Inner Circle Greenway is a 26-mile non-motorized pathway (still under construction) encircling the city of Detroit, running through the cities of Hamtramck, Highland Park and Dearborn. Todd Scott of the Detroit Greenways Coalition will lead a 2-3 hour tour (not riding the entire 26 mile length) to visit parts that are built and not yet built, while broadening the discussion to include non-motorized transportation work across the city.

Run Detroit

Run Detroit will be organizing a 10k run for ASLE members that will start at the Wayne State University campus. The run will be personalized around 4-6 sites of interest to participants with layovers to get to know the city better. There will be stand-by transportation and a coach provided to set a pace for every 15 participants. Sites will host water stops as well. The cost for the trip includes a beer at the end at Motor City Brewing Works. The total time for the tour would be 60-120 minutes depending on participant pace and time spent at each site.

Screening of "The River", a documentary film by Juan Carlos Galeano

The River is a journey, both a mythological and affectionate one, in an endangered Amazonia. For over a decade, author and filmmaker Juan Carlos Galeano has documented the ecological and cultural wisdom possessed by peoples of Amazonia. Given the unsurpassed biodiversity and pivotal role the Amazonian rainforest has to humankind and our entire planet, The River brings attention to the ecological spirituality present in the belief systems of Amazonians. Relying on fieldwork and interviews of indigenous, mestizo, and shaman riverine dwellers, this feature-length film is a poetic reflection on the perceptions of Amazonians about their rivers as sentient beings. It is an urgent call to Western and globalized economies of the world tapping natural resources, often in a short sighted manner, that result in the disruption of the lives of people in Amazonia. Screening is accessible.

Before the screening, the "Seres Puentes Award" (Bridge Being Award) will be presented to the Universidad de Amazonia (Colombia) for its work on behalf of peace in Colombia and the health of the Amazon River. Universidad de la Amazonia is also the hub of the new Latin American Observatory. See:

After the screening there will be a Q&A with Juan Carlos Galeano, Jorge Reinel Pulecio Yate, Professor, University of Colombia, and Director de la Ofincina de Paz (Office of Peace), and Gerardo Antonio Castrillón, Rector de la Universidad de la Amazonia.

Pre-/ Mid- Conference Seminars and Workshops

ASLE will hold five pre-conference workshops and seminars on Tuesday, June 20, as well as three mid-conference workshops on Friday, June 23, at the same time as the field trips. The pre-conference workshops and seminars will be four hours long and be held from 1 – 5 pm on each day. Topics, leaders and links to detailed PDF descriptions (Click on title to open document) are listed below.

The cost of conference workshops and seminars is $20, payable during online registration. Each will be limited to 15 participants. Due to limited space, you must pre-register for these events!

To check availability and pre-register or be added to the waitlist for one of the seminars or workshops, please contact Amy McIntyre, ASLE Managing Director, at, and provide the following information:

  • in your email’s subject line, the title of the seminar or workshop you are interested in
  • your name, affiliation, and email address
  • for seminar participants only: give a tentative topic/title that you would like to address (these will be listed in the program).

Advanced registration is open now, and will close April 15 (or when full, whichever is earlier). Some preparation in advance of the conference may be required, as noted in the descriptions. Because participants will be listed in the conference program, we encourage (but do not require) workshop and seminar participants to consider attending in lieu of presenting on a regular conference panel.

If you have questions about the content of a workshop or seminar not listed in the description, you may contact the leaders; all other questions about pre-registration and registration should be directed to Amy McIntyre at Leaders will NOT accept any pre-registrations directly.

Tuesday, June 20, 1-5pm (pre-conference)

Friday, June 23, 1-5pm (mid-conference, during field trips)

Publisher's Exhibit

The 2017 ASLE Conference Publisher's Exhibit will be located in the Student Center at Wayne State University, the location of conference registration and many sessions.

The exhibit will be open for the duration of the conference, and we anticipate approximately 900 participants will attend the 2017 conference. Cost is $300 for a full table (up to 2 reps included), and $175 for a half table (1 rep included).

Advertising in the conference program is also available at the rate of $400 for a full page, $250 for a half page, and $150 for a quarter page ad.

Please see the information sheet and reservation sheet for more details. We hope your press will join us this year!


The host committee is offering local, regional and national businesses who might want to participate various sponsorship opportunities at the conference. If you or an organization you know would be interested in benefitting from the sponsorship opportunities listed, please see or share this brochure: ASLE Sponsorship 2017

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact Mary Tischler at or 248-872-0108 or submit the above form with payment as instructed.

Closing Banquet

The closing banquet for the 2017 conference in Detroit will be held in the spectacular rotunda of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. The museum exhibits and gift shop will be open to ASLE's guests, and the banquet is gluten-free and vegan-friendly. In addition, we'll be celebrating ASLE's 25th birthday with Carleton Gholz, founder of the Detroit Sound Conservancy, who will DJ a special evening featuring the long, rich history of Detroit music (featuring rare vinyl pressings!). Bring your dancing shoes!