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The World We Have Imagined: Literature, Nature, and the Environment International Conference

April 4-6, 2013

Southwestern College – Winfield, KS

  • Registration is now closed. Thank you to all who registered and attended for the wonderful conference!


Kansas has always been at the center of environmental issues in the United States. From the Dust Bowl of the 1930s and the constant threat of tornado damage in the spring and summer, to the importance of the Ogallala Aquifer to Kansas’s agriculture and the state’s potential to harness wind power, Kansas is situated at the nexus of the powerful natural, environmental, and economic forces, making it the ideal location to host The World We Have Imagined: Literature, Nature, and the Environment conference.

The World We Have Imagined Conference provided an opportunity for US and international scholars to exchange ideas on the relationship between Literature, Nature, and the Environment. The conference papers focused on the idea of the environmental imagination, imaginary worlds, and imagined futures.

Some of the areas that were explored include:

  • Ecocritical approaches to literature
  • Nature Writing and other representation of the Environment
  • The Picturesque
  • Animals and Wildlife
  • The Environment Reimagined
  • Utopias and Dystopias
  • Urban Landscapes and the Environment
  • Climate and Weather
  • Environmental justice
  • Environmental issues in the Mid-West
  • Local environmental narratives


Elizabeth Dodd

Keynote Lecture - Friday, April 5 at 8.30 am. (Mossman 101 - Southwestern College)

Elizabeth Dodd (Kansas State University – Manhattan, KS)
"Getting to the Point: Reading Deep Time in Inhabited Land"

Elizabeth Dodd, Professor of creative writing and literature at Kansas State University (Manhattan, KS), is the author of Horizon’s Lens and In the Mind’s Eye: Essays Across the Animate World, which won the Best Creative Book Award from the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment in 2009. She is also the author of Prospect: Journeys & Landscapes, which won the William Rockhill Nelson Best Nonfiction Book Award in 2003, and of two collections of poetry, Like Memory, Caverns, which won the Elmer Holmes Bobst Award in 1992, and Archetypal Light. Elizabeth has also written a critical book, The Veiled Mirror and the Woman Poet: H.D., Louise Bogan, Elizabeth Bishop, and Louise Gluck, and regularly publishes in the field of ecocriticism, with essays on Scott Russell Sanders, James Wright, Terry Tempest Williams, Michael S. Harper, as well as other topics. She is on the editorial board of ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment and A Journal of the Built & Natural Environments, for which she is a regular columnist. Elizabeth is a KSU Distinguished Professor, has twice won the Stamey Award for outstanding teaching from KSU's College of Arts and Sciences, and has twice won the Kansas Arts Council's Fellowship in Poetry.

(Photo by David Rintoul)

Conference Program

WWHI April 4-6, 2013 - Schedule

Photography Competition

The World We Have Imagined Conference is hosting a photography competition open to students, alumni, and the Southwestern College community. The photographer who best captures and communicates sustainability will be awarded a cash price of $75. Photographs will be displayed in the President's Gallery from April 1st until April 21st.

Entry Form - Photography Competition


There is limited housing available on campus. The cost for on-campus housing is $35 for each night with linens. If you mark interest in campus housing on the registration form you will be contacted by the Director of Camps & Conferences for availability and details.

For other housing options in Winfield, click here.


For More Information

The Call for Papers is now closed. For more information about the conference contact

Southwestern College is a member of AASHE (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education), ACUPCC (American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment), KACEE (Kansas Association for Conservation & Environmental Education), and the Kansas Green Schools Network.




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