Announcing a call for papers for the Association for Commonwealth Literature And Language Studies (ACLALS) 2022 conference.
At a time when we are experiencing profound and unexpected disruptions to our shared spaces, routines, economies, societies, and work-lives, ACLALS 2022 proposes that we convene in Toronto (fingers crossed!) to consider the nature and implications of rupture, the commons, and their conjoining: the ruptured commons. Garnett Hardin wrote in 1968 about “the tragedy of the commons” – the tendency for publicly owned, shared space to degrade through the neglect, abuse, overuse, and simple taking-for-granted of its multiple owners, who, because there are so many, do not identify as owners and take little responsibility. With each new climate-change study we become more aware of the ways our common environment has seen its natural states and processes violated by human activity. The ruptured commons is at the heart of the concept of the Anthropocene and what Amitav Ghosh has called “the great derangement” of our unsustainable ways. The global pandemic, with its multiple and far-reaching disruptions, has forced us to rethink our common spaces and how we use them, from city streets to airplanes, domestic spaces to workplaces – including academic ones. Indeed, our work as scholars, teachers, and students has been ruptured in countless ways as our institutional commons of classrooms and conferences fragment into rectangle-bound faces and voices on screens. Finally, the “common” in Commonwealth has come under fire for decades, whether by rewriting it as “common poverty” or by rejecting its presence in the names of our discipline and, for some, in ACLALS itself. At a time when so much of our shared future is uncertain and when we have the opportunity to reimagine the commons, we invite delegates to place notions of rupture and commons in a wide variety of pan-historical contexts and scales from the local to the global.
See here for more details. Abstracts should be no more than 350 words and are to be submitted online by Nov. 30, 2021 at: