At an ICMS session in 2015, a panel posed the question "What Can Medieval Studies Bring to Ecocriticism?" Although the responses were diverse, none touched on the specific subgenre of outlaw literature, and this absence is reflected in much of the published ecocriticism scholarship. This panel seeks to initiate conversations about ecocritical issues in various outlaw tales, including but not limited to Robin Hood, Gamelyn, Fouke Fitz Waryn, and Án Bow-Bender. Given the liminal spaces which these tales occupy, as well as their frequent movements from greenwood into urban spaces, these tales are rich for ecological study. What do these stories reveal about medieval forest practices or perspectives towards animals (and their relationships and/or kinships to humans)? To what extent do these tales critique medieval ecological beliefs or offer alternative perspectives (that is, do they reveal a plurality of attitudes towards nature co-existing during the medieval period)? Given that Rebecca Douglass, in "Ecocriticism and Middle English Literature,” argues that "[E]cocriticism is . . . informed by a desire to understand past and present connections between literature and human attitudes regarding the earth,” what does the study of medieval outlaw tales offer to ecocritical studies? This panel welcomes a variety of approaches, including ecofeminist perspectives, cultural ecology, deep ecology, animal studies, ecolinguistics, and other innovative approaches.
Please send 250-word abstracts and CVs by September 15, 2015 to Kristin Bovaird-Abbo (firstname.lastname@example.org), Valerie B. Johnson (email@example.com) and Alexander L. Kaufman (firstname.lastname@example.org).