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AAAS Conference

Annual Conference “Narrative, Environment, Social Justice” – Salzburg 2022

By 1. December 2021October 12th, 2022No Comments

Recent years have seen a re-politicization of the US public sphere and dominant discourses. The upcoming annual conference of the Austrian Association for American Studies (AAAS) seeks to explore narrative frames at the core of such processes. Titled “Narrative, Environment, Social Justice,” it takes place on 21-23 October 2022 at the University of Salzburg. Scholars interested in presenting a paper can submit their abstracts by 31 May 2022.

The re-politicization of the US public sphere and dominant discourses often revolves around two inherently intertwined dimensions: the environment and social justice, with environmental justice movements like Fridays for Future or Extinction Rebellion and more pronounced foci around race and gender (such as the Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements), and on the other hand economic justice movements like ATTAC or Occupy Wall Street, asking whether any possible alternative to neoliberal capitalism is imaginable at all. A similar pattern of polarization is at work with right- wing populist movements questioning the legitimacy of calls for social justice, instead telling their own stories of neglect and apparent marginalization.

These battles over hearts and minds (and ballots) are carried out on the battlefield of language in general and narrative in particular: which side tells the most convincing stories and has the most engaging narrative frames to offer?

The 49th annual conference of the Austrian Association for American Studies invites presentations on the stories we tell about our environment, or about pressing social issues of the past or present. How do we frame our experiences in these areas through narratives, and to whom do we tell them, when, where, and why?

Possible topics for presentations may be related but are not limited to:

  • narratology and narrative theory/studies
  • pedagogy
  • environmental studies and environmental justice
  • social justice
  • queer narratives of resilience, and LGBTQ counternarratives and counterpublics
  • the local or the global, and glocalization
  • ecocriticism and climate fiction
  • area studies, diaspora studies, diaspora politics, and climate emigration
  • critical whiteness studies
  • African American studies
  • Ethnic studies
  • Indigenous studies

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:


Please send proposals for panels or individual presentations (300 words max.), with a 50-word bio note, by May 31, 2022 to Joshua Parker ( and Robert A. Winkler ( noting whether you would prefer to do a live online presentation, or to attend in person.

Further Information

Call for Papers (PDF) Conference Program (PDF)