CFP: Spontaneous Beauties

“Spontaneous Beauties”? World Gardens and Gardens in the World

Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore

10-12 June 2016

An International Conference

The Division of English, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore

Venue: School of Humanities and Social Sciences, NTU, Singapore

Dates: 10–12 June 2016

Organising Committee: Shirley Chew, Samara Cahill, Ann-Marie Chua

Keynote Speakers

Dr Stephen Bending (University of Southampton)

Dr Elizabeth Cook (Poet and Novelist, UK)

Dr Stanislaus Fung (Chinese University of Hong Kong)

Dr Nigel Taylor (Director, Singapore Botanic Gardens)

In “Epistle to Burlington,” Alexander Pope slyly characterizes the flowers in an eighteenth-century garden as arising — naturally and seemingly without human interference — to please the spectator. The poem, however, is Pope’s celebration of good sense, taste, and intelligent (and civically responsible) displays of wealth, and there is nothing “spontaneous” about the beauties of the garden at Stowe—these beauties delight because they combine art and nature in a symbiotic interweaving of natural and human “genius.”

The Division of English, NTU, invites papers on a range of international perspectives on the different aesthetic principles according to which gardens are designed and shaped and made throughout the ages, examples being the classic gardens of China and Japan, the paradisal enclosed gardens of medieval times, Mughal gardens, eighteenth-century landscape gardens, and, last but not least, “Gardens by the Bay” in present-day Singapore. It seeks to explore the significant part that gardens and garden-making play, and have played, in relation to critical questions and practices of ecology and environment. It welcomes contributions on the representation of gardens in disciplines such as literature, art, film, sociology, economics and law; and interdisciplinary projects that attend to, for example, the interweavings of contemporary sustainability discourse and systems thinking, network theories and complexity studies. A special and local focus will be the Botanic Gardens in Singapore which has very recently been made a UNESCO heritage site.

Topics include but are not limited to:

Nature and/or culture

Gardens and empire

The native, the naturalized, and the exotic

Ecopoetic/ecofeminist readings

Gardens in the tropics

Pleasure gardens

Landscape architecture: political vision or personal retreat?

Secret gardens: botany, sexuality, and gender

Gardens as cultural heritage (medieval, Islamic, UNESCO)

Consulting the “genius of the place”

Conservation and sustainability

High-rise/vertical gardens and gardening in cities

Please send abstracts of around 250 words to by 15 March 2016.

Conference website:

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