Call for Papers

University of Education Ludwigsburg
University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn
University of Warsaw
International E. M. Forster Society

Hosted by the University of Education Ludwigsburg, Germany

The œuvre of E. M. Forster is undoubtedly based on contrast: nature vs. culture, nature vs. queer, and/or culture vs. queer. However, there seem to be many instances when the oppositions dissolve in the triad of nature, culture and queerness. Nature sometimes functions as a connection between culture and life, and the life tends to be quite specific, queer. Sometimes still it is queerness (of the sex or of the mind) that links nature with culture. In turn, culture may be responsible for bringing nature and queerness together. The proposed conference shall shed more light on the relation of the triad nature, culture, and queerness in relation to the life and works of E. M. Forster.

Various aspects of the connections in question have been the object of many scholarly discussions. There are the queer(ing) biographies of Moffat and Piggford. Studies on Howards End have seen Forster’s childhood home Rooksnest and its environs as a place of nostalgia for the allegedly pastoral English past. “The Machine Stops” has been read as a warning about the on-going estrangement of mind and body, human and fellow human, and human and nature. Discussions of the Italian novels and A Passage to India deal with the Mediterranean landscape, the Oriental, the cultural and the geo-social other. However, there seems to be a lack of research that either connects all three elements of the mentioned triad or actualizes and enhances the research done in the past.

This is why we are pleased to announce the conference “E. M. Forster: Nature, Culture, Queer!” to be held on 13 and 14 April 2018. The conference is hosted by the University of Education Ludwigsburg, Germany in collaboration with the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, the University of Warsaw, and the International E. M. Forster Society. We welcome submissions of papers, lightning talks, and posters for peer-review evaluation. Topics include, but they are certainly not limited to:

  • Environmental Determinism: What are the relations between a given region and the characters portrayed in Forster’s fiction?
  • The Green and Pleasant Land: Where and how in Forster’s œuvre does he evoke the idea of the pastoral English past?
  • Social Systems as Ecosystems: Do Forster’s texts model social networks as ecological systems that then might provide a fertile ground for specific ways of an inter-individual interaction?
  • Teaching Forster: environmental awareness, inter-culturality and sexual diversity
  • Dystopian Landscapes: Both “Little Imber” and “The Machine Stops” portray destroyed ecosystems in which the queer subject is the only solution in a desperate situation. To what extent are queer subjects constituted as normal or natural individuals in Forster?
  • Queering Ecosystems / Queer Natural Order
  • Nature vs. current social systems

Our conference is intended as a celebration of E. M. Forster and an opportunity for all Forsterians to come together. Consequently, we do not want a too detailed project to deter you from joining us in Ludwigsburg. In short, we are looking forward to proposals of papers which deal with Forster and nature, Forster and culture, and Forster and queer from all possible scholarly approaches as long as the proposed works update and enrich the scholarly discourse on the life and work of E. M. Forster.

Submission Guidelines and Acceptance Policy

  • Presentation forms:
    • Paper (15 to 20 mins – a presentation of a single paper by one or more authors).
    • Lightning talk (5 mins – a short paper for a focused presentation). We especially encourage young scholars to present their on-going research projects.
    • Poster (for poster sessions). Posters can present research results or research in progress. We especially encourage young scholars to present their projects.
  • Proposals (a 200 word abstract, summary, a short biographical note, and your institutional affiliations (if applicable)) are submitted via our on-line form at or We’ll confirm your submission within a week of sending. If you don’t receive this confirmation, something might have gone wrong. Please contact us in this case.
  • Abstracts due: 1 December 2017 18 December 2017. The review process will take into consideration the differences between paper, lightning talk and poster.
  • Acceptances sent out: 20 December 2017.
  • Proposers must attend the conference.
  • The conference fee is 100 € (for PhD students 75 €). The fee will cover lunch and coffee-breaks, a guided city tour incl. a visit to the Blooming Baroque at Ludwigsburg Palace.
  • We will provide basic technological needs such as Internet, projectors, power cords, sound systems, and cables.
  • Abstracts, papers, lightning talks, posters, and audiovisual documentation will be published. For more information, contact Dr Heiko Zimmermann at
  • All further details will be available from the website of the Society:
  • Facebook users may also consider joining the group of our Society at to get the latest updates.
  • If you would like to join the Society, please, go to:
  • Twitter hashtag: #emforster18

We are looking forward to meeting you in Ludwigsburg!

The Organisers

Dr Heiko Zimmermann, University of Education Ludwigsburg
Dr Anna Kwiatkowska, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn
Prof. Krzysztof Fordoński, University of Warsaw