Call for conference contribution!

Crafting the Long Tomorrow: New Conversations & Productive Catalysts Across Science and Humanities Boundaries as the Global Emergency Worsens

21-24 February, 2019 | Tucson, AZ — Proposals due: Oct. 22, 2018

Crafting the Long Tomorrow is a three-day, small-scale conference at the University of Arizona’s Biosphere 2, a leading site for arts, sciences and humanities dialogues.

Conference Focus:

 The physical sciences tell us civilization and the biosphere face extreme consequences from global trends humans have set in motion, especially climate change. Multiple disciplines can illuminate both the global emergency and the long tomorrow—crafting approaches, some likely deeply unsettling, that could extend the lifespan of our species and others. Some still deliberate about the messiness of what used to be called the two cultures of arts and sciences, even as scholars have usefully blurred those boundaries. However, disciplinary divides both continue to be breached in welcome fashion by collaborations in such emerging fields as “art/sci,” “environmental humanities,” “geohumanities” and more. (If you haven’t heard those terms, however, you are not alone, and we’re speaking to you too.)

This meeting will encourage innovative and inventive presentations and conversation, with an eye toward public-facing engagement outcomes. How do we breach jargon and present perspectives and solutions for the wider publics of policy-makers and others? How do we involve diverse publics?

This conference is designed to be more conversational than presentational. We are discouraging traditional paper readings and/or PowerPoint slide-shows in favor of shorter, more energetic talks and more innovative visual formats. It will be a single-track conference so that everyone attends all sessions.

There are two options available. Presenters can choose one or apply for both.

OPTION 1: Panel Discussions

Those interested in attending to offer a 500-word “idea pitch” for a talk that would be no more than 5-7 minutes long. We want to discourage formal reading of traditional papers in favor of grouping individuals (and pairs/teams of attendees) into panel discussions.

The idea pitch could include a brief precis of one’s research (a research briefing) but mostly should focus on questions and concerns regarding the two broad themes of the conference:

  • Arts/sciences or, simply, multi-disciplinary developments and opportunities in research, creative activity, teaching and community engagement across multiple, sometimes previously unlinked fields as we face tremendous social, political and environmental changes.
  • Specific technologies and approaches (such as climate engineering, ecomodernism, dark ecology, science fictional thinking, etc.) to the present-day and the looming future.

OPTION 2: Short-slide Pecha Kucha Presentation on Key Words and Concepts in the arts, humanities, engineering, and sciences.

We encourage participants to submit brief Pecha Kucha presentations on terms as risk, theory (as used by scientists), critical theory in the humanities, entropy, transgression, intervention, ecosystem services, the new materialism, hybridity, social construction, biodiversity, epigenetics, wildness, the land ethic and so on. Please bear in mind the broad diversity of the audience and to avoid jargon or, at least, explain clearly what particular terms and methods mean.

These presentations are critical to establishing the relevance and understanding key concepts across disciplines. We hope the Pecha Kucha talks will give us a common ground, a bit of playful informality despite the importance of the topics and spark discussions.

In order to foster a respectful and challenging community the conference will be on the smaller side—between 60 and 100 participants. We are working hard to make the conference free of registration, lodging and meal costs. We especially encourage interest from graduate students and junior faculty and those from non-Western backgrounds and institutions.

Proposals due: Oct. 22, 2018

  • Please send no more than 500 words for each talk option, with additional 100-word biographies of presenter(s).
  • E-mail proposals or questions with Crafting the Long Tomorrow in the subject heading to Christopher Cokinos, University of Arizona: cokinos@email.arizona.edu

Organizers will select a series of presentation materials from the conference to publish as a mini-proceedings in a relevant venue. Videos of talks and conversations will be posted on the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society webpage and YouTube channel, as well as relevant University of Arizona channels.

Post-Conference Fellowships

 To cultivate networking and synthesis among conference participants, we will ask presenters (individuals or teams) to craft and present a plan by February 2020 for doing at least two of the following:

  • an innovative non-expert engagement project;
  • an article in a well-read public venue;
  • curriculum developed for a team-taught course;
  • a book proposal;
  • a scholarly journal article;
  • grants;
  • other informal community dialogue;
  • a library or museum display

To encourage these ambitious activities, we will be seeking additional funding to serve as post-conference fellowships. The award is contingent on completion of the outcomes. The stipend level will depend on additional funding.