ASLE-Pakistan was launched on 15th of September in an international conference on “Critical Social Sciences and Humanities” organized on the 14th and 15th of September 2017 by Critical Thinking Forum, IIUI.
Professor Dr. Scott Slovic, who served as a founding president of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE) and is editor of the Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment was invited to address the audience and announce the launch of the Pakistan chapter of ASLE.
Dr. Munazza Yaqoob announced that ASLE executive committee had unanimously approved the Critical Thinking Forum’s proposal to launch and establish the Pakistan chapter of ASLE. She said this would help to gather research being done on environmental interests in the country, enhance inter-university networking, work in collaboration with civil society organizations in Pakistan to raise awareness of ecological issues, initiate research projects for consciousness raising on environmental well-being and sustainable development. Dr. Slovic also expressed the hope that ASLE Pakistan would support academic and creative activities in the environmental humanities enabling and helping Pakistan to respond to environmental issues.
ASLE-Pakistan: Dare to Think Green aims to serve as a common forum for generating enlightening and serious debates, sharing scholarship, and engaging in academic activism on environmental issues in Pakistan to produce environmentally conscious, ecologically-attentive, and responsible citizens of the 21stcentury.
Dr. Shazia Rahman, Associate Professor of English at the University of Dayton, USA will be joining ASLE-Pakistan team.
Rahman is a literary critic who has published on the Environmental Humanities and the Orientalist commodification of South Asian novelists in journals such as Journal of Postcolonial Writing, Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture, and ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment. Her latest book Place and Postcolonial Ecofeminism: Pakistani Women’s Literary and Cinematic Fictions (University of Nebraska Press, August 2019) traces the ways in which Pakistani women explore alternative, environmental modes of belonging. Her book’s ecofeminist approach allows theories of space to ground her analysis in the environment and to provide a framework for thinking about both its degradation as well as women’s attachment to it.
Naseer Ahmad Nasir, one of the most eminent, distinct, cultured and thought-provoking poets from Pakistan will be joining ASLE-Pakistan team.
Nasir is considered as a trend setter poet of modern Urdu poems among his contemporaries. His poetry has been translated into various international languages such as English, Spanish, Russian, Romanian, Arabic, Uzbek, Hindi, Nepali and Persian along with some regional languages. Nasir has several poetry collections to his credit namely پانی میں گم خواب (Dreams Lost In Water), عرابچی سو گیا ہے (The Charioteer has Fallen Asleep), ملبے سے ملی چیزیں ( Remnants from the Ruins), تیسرے قدم کا خمیازہ (Sequel of the Third Step), سرمئی نیند کی بازگشت (The Echo of a Gray Sleep), ذرد پتوں کی شال (The Shawl of Yellow Leaves), and A Man Outside History (English Translation of poems). He is also the Editor of a very well-known Urdu literary magazine “Tasteer”. A Man Outside History has been read and loved in Indo-Pak and various other countries. His camaraderie with Mother Nature, deep knowledge of Philosophy and History, his thought and choice of unique imagery and metaphors in poetic verse make him more creative in his poetry. Nasir has also written many thought provoking articles/columns in renowned Newspaper. His intriguing concepts in his pen at times pave a way for youngsters and contemporaries in the field of creativity.
An environmental writing workshop was conducted by Prof. Scott Slovic at International Islamic University Islamabad on 16thSeptember, 2017 as part of the CTF’s project on women consciousness raising, whereby he delineated the importance of writing and how to go about it.
This writing workshop was in line with Prof. Scott’s environmental writing course. He began the workshop by sharing some writing samples which were read together as a group. Prof. Scott emphasized upon the importance of all these types of writing which may be varied from each other but are equally significant. He also stressed upon the importance of notetaking. The journal entries which the participants were made to read were an illustration of this very habit.
After the theoretical part of the workshop the participants moved on to its practical part where they wrote something about the environment and nature. Prof. Scott took them out on a nature walk. He wanted everyone to disperse and for a couple of minutes engage themselves with any aspect of nature and write a couple of lines about it. Later, everyone read out and shared their pieces of writing with each other. Prof. Scott also encouraged the workshop participants to mail him the writing samples so he could share them with his American students and in this way a learning exchange could be made possible.
This writing workshop was then followed by a discussion on the working of ASLE- Pakistan and its tentative initial structure. A prototype of the organization’s structure was laid down which was agreed upon by all the attending members. It was hoped that ASLE-Pakistan would soon be up and running and working on ways to bring together literature and environment in order to bring about a substantial change in the society.
On October 6, 2017, Founder & Director, CTF and ASLE-Pakistan appeared on a national television The Classics Show for a discussion on “Literature and Environment”.
On February 28, 2018, students of the department of English had a wonderfully enriching conversation with Naseer Ahmed Nasir (renowned Pakistani poet and writer). The discussion centered around contemporary Urdu poetry, comparative literature, and environmental themes.Reading of the poems with the author; his insightful comments helped the participants to explore various interesting aspects of Pakistani culture, history and contemporary rural and urban life as depicted in these poems.
On May 28, 2018, the coordinator CTF, Sonia Irum arranged a conversation with internationally renowned novelist Uzma Aslam Khan at Senate House London. Uzma Aslam Khan is an award-winning author of five novels. Born in Pakistan, she has lived in locations across the globe, including U.S.A, England, Japan, Philippines, and Oceania. Her works are gaining popularity in Pakistan with reference to ecocriticism.
The PhD dissertation “Women-Others-Nature” A Comparative Ecofeminist Study of Atwood and Roy” by Faiz Sultan under the supervision of Dr. Munazza Yaqoob was defended in 2018.
The PhD dissertation, “Transgeographical Eco-Sensitivity: An Ecocritical Study of Selected American, Indian and Pakistani Fiction in English” by Munazza Makhdoom under the supervision of Dr. Munazza Yaqoob was defended in 2019.
Other completed and in progress MS dissertations include:
“Postcolonial Eco-socialist Study of South Asian Fiction with special reference to Kamila Shamsie’s Burnt Shadows and Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner” (2017)
“Tourism and Locals of Global South: An Eco-critical Study of Thinner than Skin by Uzma Aslam Khan and The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh” (in progress)
“Slow Violence and Unimagined Communities: An Eco-critical Study of Uzma Aslam Khan’s Thinner than Skin and Anuradha Roy’s The Folded Earth” (in progress)
Yaqoob, M. (2018). “The Anthropocene and the Magic of our Ecostories”.Pakistaniaat: A Journal of Pakistan Studies, University of North Texas Vol. 6, (2018). EISSN: 1946-5343; ISSN: 1948-6529.
Makhdoom, M. & Yaqoob, M. (2019). Environmental Discourse: A comparative ecocritical study
of Pakistani and American fiction in English. International Journal of English Linguistics, 9(3): 260-267.