CFP Workshop : “Environmental questions in Great Britain : Between Visibility and Marginalisation” (18th-21st centuries). Paris-Sorbonne

One-day workshop organised by the Research Group MAPS / HDEA – Paris-Sorbonne.

Date : 16th June 2017

The importance of environmental questions today seems, at first sight, to justify a view according to which environmental concerns have slowly and gradually risen from invisibility and neglect to their current inevitability. Many discussions and accounts of “the age of ecology” thus assume that issues around nature and the human relationship have only been raised above the individual and local level only in the past three or four decades. One of the corollary of this vision of a gradual unravelling of environmental concerns in modern societies is that these questions are bound to become more and more important and inevitable.

Historians have however shown that concerns over man’s relation with his environment have a much longer history, but have also insisted on how some of these warnings (over pollution or the destruction of natural environments for example) were sometimes ignored or marginalised. Even if we focus on recent events and contemporary political action, the salience of environmental questions is subject to variations and it is a commonplace to say that they have sometimes been relegated to the background by those who professed to make them a priority. So, while issues of environmental concerns are often treated from the point of view of a gradual and inevitable “awekening” it seems as important to analyse their fluctuations, the debates to which they have given rise and the political processes which have contributed to question and sometimes marginalise these concerns.

The purpose of this workshop will therefore be to analyse historical and contemporary environmental questions in Great Britain by insisting not on a linear and consensual emergence but rather on the instability and the negotiations presiding over the political treatment of such questions. In order to avoid a teleological and uniform vision of what environmental questions and environmental movements constitute, the notion of “environment” will be understood in a broad sense precisely to better understand its plasticity and evolutions.

Possible themes include :

Responses to pollution

Energy dependence and reactions to coal consumption

Chemicals, pollution and health.

Nuclear energy

Warnings and concerns over waste and sustainability

Conservation of natural heritage

Animal welfare in history and today

The passing of environmental laws (causes, processes, negotiations).

Lobbying and the “greening” of politics

Devolution and environmental issues.

The EU, Brexit and environmental issues in Great Britain.

Paper proposals in English or French (300 words max.), along with a short biography, should be sent before January 20th 2017 at the latest. Acceptance/rejection will be notified before February 10th. The workshop languages are English and French. A publication of selected papers is planned as part of a special issue in the Revue Française de Civilisation Britannique (English and French).

Submissions should be sent to :