July 10-14, 2013
University of Northern Iowa
Between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, a self-sustaining eco-system that now comprises the state of Iowa was created over thousands of years. In 1800, 240 million acres of tall grass prairie covered middle America. By 1900, this land had been transformed into farm fields, and the foundations for large-scale industrial agriculture had been laid. Today, this land has already lost half of its rich black topsoil --thousands of years in creation-- and the soil continues to lose both depth and quality. Changes in the land and a warming climate have made us more vulnerable to both drought and flood. Pesticides, fertilizers, fecal bacteria and antibiotics regularly turn up in our lakes and streams, and sometimes in our drinking water. The nutrients escaping from our fields cause a "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico, killing marine life. As family farms consolidate into industrialized farming operations, towns empty and traditional ways of life in rural America disappear.
At this conference, we will reflect together on the significance of this change. The impact of industrial agriculture on the land captures in close frame key ecological issues of our time. Ecological questions call for robust engagement by mimetic theory. In dialogue with scientists and theologians who focus on ecology, we will highlight this important topic at our 2013 gathering.
Note: Daily flights into local airports are almost always full. Therefore, persons planning to attend the conference are strongly encouraged to purchase tickets as soon as possible (December and January). Pack the planes! Please see the "Travel and Accommodations" section of this website for further information about travel. Because a wide range of formats for conference presentations will offer persons who respond to the Call for Papers a variety of opportunities to contribute to the conference, participants need not wait for an acceptance letter prior to booking a flight.