Affective Ecologies: Empathy, Emotion, and Environmental Narrative explores our emotional engagement with environmental narrative. Focusing on the American cultural context, Alexa Weik von Mossner develops an ecocritical approach that draws on the insights of affective science and cognitive narratology. This approach helps to clarify how we interact with environmental narratives in ways that are both biologically universal and culturally specific. In doing so, it pays particular attention to the thesis that our minds are both embodied (in a physical body) and embedded (in a physical environment), not only when we interact with the real world but also in our engagement with imaginary worlds.
How do we experience the virtual environments we encounter in literature and film on the sensory and emotional level? How do environmental narratives invite us to care for human and nonhuman others who are put at risk? And how do we feel about the speculative futures presented to us in ecotopian and ecodystopian texts? Weik von Mossner explores these central questions that are important to anyone with an interest in the emotional appeal and persuasive power of environmental narratives.
Although much contemporary American Indian literature examines the relationship between humans and the land, most Native authors do not set their work in the "pristine wilderness" celebrated by mainstream nature writers. Instead, they focus on settings such as reservations, open-pit mines, and contested borderlands. Drawing on her own teaching experience among Native Americans and on lessons learned from such recent scenes of confrontation as Chiapas and Black Mesa, Joni Adamson explores why what counts as "nature" is often very different for multicultural writers and activist groups than it is for mainstream environmentalists.
This powerful book is one of the first to examine the intersections between literature and the environment from the perspective of the oppressions of race, class, gender, and nature, and the first to review American Indian literature from the standpoint of environmental justice and ecocriticism. By examining such texts as Sherman Alexie's short stories and Leslie Marmon Silko's novel Almanac of the Dead, Adamson contends that these works, in addition to being literary, are examples of ecological criticism that expand Euro-American concepts of nature and place.
Adamson shows that when we begin exploring the differences that shape diverse cultural and literary representations of nature, we discover the challenge they present to mainstream American culture, environmentalism, and literature. By comparing the work of Native authors such as Simon Ortiz with that of environmental writers such as Edward Abbey, she reveals opportunities for more multicultural conceptions of nature and the environment.
More than a work of literary criticism, this is a book about the search to find ways to understand our cultural and historical differences and similarities in order to arrive at a better agreement of what the human role in nature is and should be. It exposes the blind spots in early ecocriticism and shows the possibilities for building common ground— a middle place— where writers, scholars, teachers, and environmentalists might come together to work for social and environmental change.
Literary scholars have traditionally understood landscapes, whether natural or manmade, as metaphors for humanity instead of concrete settings for people's actions. This book accepts the natural world as such by investigating how Anglo-Saxons interacted with and conceived of their lived environments. Examining Old English poems, such as Beowulf and Judith, as well as descriptions of natural events from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and other documentary texts, Heide Estes shows that Anglo-Saxon ideologies which view nature as diametrically opposed to humans, and the natural world as designed for human use, have become deeply embedded in our cultural heritage, language, and more.
The K’ichee’an languages—K’ichee’, Kaqchikel, Tz¢utujil, Sakapulteko, Achi, and Sipakapense—occupy a prominent place among the indigenous languages of the Americas because of both their historical significance and the number of speakers (more than one million total). Basic K'ichee' Grammar is an extensive and accurate survey of the principal grammatical structures of K’ichee’. Written in a clear, nontechnical style to facilitate the learning of the language, it is the only K’ichee’ grammar available in English.
A pedagogical rather than a reference grammar, the book is a thorough presentation of the basics of the K’ichee’ Maya language organized around graded grammatical lessons accompanied by drills and exercises. Author James L. Mondloch spent ten years in K’ichee’-speaking communities and provides a complete analysis of the K’ichee’ verb system based on the everyday speech of the people and using a wealth of examples and detailed commentaries on actual usage.
A guide for learning the K’ichee’ language, Basic K'ichee' Grammar is a valuable resource for anyone seeking a speaking and reading knowledge of modern K’ichee’, including linguists, anthropologists, and art historians, as well as nonacademics working in K’ichee’ communities, such as physicians, dentists, community development workers, and educators.
In Black Gathering Sarah Jane Cervenak engages with Black artists and writers who create alternative spaces for Black people to gather free from interruption or regulation. Drawing together Black feminist theory, critical theories of ecology and ecoaesthetics, and Black aesthetics, Cervenak shows how novelists, poets, and visual artists such as Gayl Jones, Toni Morrison, Clementine Hunter, Samiya Bashir, and Leonardo Drew advance an ecological imagination that unsettles Western philosophical ideas of the earth as given to humans. In their aestheticization and conceptualization of gathering, these artists investigate the relationships among art, the environment, home, and forms of Black togetherness. Cervenak argues that by offering a formal and conceptual praxis of gathering, Black artists imagine liberation and alternative ways of being in the world that exist beyond those Enlightenment philosophies that presume Black people and earth as given to enclosure and ownership.
With roots in eugenics and other social-control programs, modern American environmentalism is not always as progressive as we would like to think. In The Ecological Other, Sarah Jaquette Ray examines the ways in which environmentalism can create social injustice through discourses of the body.
Ray investigates three categories of ecological otherness: people with disabilities, immigrants, and Native Americans. Extending recent work in environmental justice ecocriticism, Ray argues that the expression of environmental disgust toward certain kinds of bodies draws problematic lines between ecological “subjects”—those who are good for and belong in nature—and ecological “others”—those who are threats to or out of place in nature. Ultimately, The Ecological Other urges us to be more critical of how we use nature as a tool of social control and to be careful about the ways in which we construct our arguments to ensure its protection.
The book challenges long-standing assumptions in environmentalism and will be of interest to those in environmental literature and history, American studies, disability studies, and Native American studies, as well as anyone concerned with issues of environmental justice.
The poems of Wallace Stevens teem with birds: grackles, warblers, doves, swans, nightingales, owls, peacocks, and one famous blackbird who summons thirteen ways of looking. What do Stevens’s evocations of birds, and his poems more generally, tell us about the relationship between human and nonhuman? In this book, the noted theorist of posthumanism Cary Wolfe argues for a philosophical and theoretical reinvention of ecological poetics, using Stevens as a test case.
Stevens, Wolfe argues, is an ecological poet in the sense that his places, worlds, and environments are co-created by the life forms that inhabit them. Wolfe argues for a “nonrepresentational” conception of ecopoetics, showing how Stevens’s poems reward study alongside theories of system, environment, and observation derived from a multitude of sources, from Ralph Waldo Emerson and Niklas Luhmann to Jacques Derrida and Stuart Kauffman. Ecological Poetics is an ambitious interdisciplinary undertaking involving literary criticism, contemporary philosophy, and theoretical biology.
Cultures have long defined themselves through biological elements to prove their strength and longevity, from cherry blossoms in Japan to amber waves of grain in the United States. In Ecology without Culture, Christine L. Marran introduces the concept of biotropes—material and semiotic figures that exist for human perception—to navigate how and why the material world has proven to be such an effective medium for representing culture. A bold and timely reconsideration of ecocriticism, Ecology without Culture insists on decentering questions of culture to highlight the materiality of poetry, film, and prose fiction.
Marran argues that ecocriticism can critique ecological realities more effectively from outside the frame of human exceptionalism. Through discussions of primarily non-Anglophone literature, poetry, and cinema about toxic events in contemporary history— from the depiction of slow violence in documentary by Tsuchimoto Noriaki to the powerful poetry of Ishimure Michiko—Marran argues that ecocriticism must find a way to engage culture without making the perpetuation of ethnos and anthropos the endgame of ecopolitics.
Using the biological foundations and geological time scales of textual worlds to more deeply critique cultural humanism, Marran ultimately contends that the chief stumbling block to ecological thinking is not the image of nature, but the image of culture.
Ecopoetics: Essays in the Field
Angela Hume and Gillian Osborne University of Iowa Press, 2018 Library of Congress PS310.N3E36 2018 | Dewey Decimal 811.5093553
Ecopoetics: Essays in the Field makes a formidable intervention into the emerging field of ecopoetics. The volume’s essays model new and provocative methods for reading twentieth and twenty-first century ecological poetry and poetics, drawing on the insights of ecocriticism, contemporary philosophy, gender and sexuality studies, black studies, Native studies, critical race theory, and disability studies, among others.
Contributors offer readings of a diverse range of poets, few of whom have previously been read as nature writers—from midcentury Beat poet Michael McClure, Objectivist poet George Oppen, and African American poets Melvin Tolson and Robert Hayden; to contemporary writers such as Diné poet Sherwin Bitsui, hybrid/ collage poets Claudia Rankine and Evelyn Reilly, emerging QPOC poet Xandria Phillips, and members of the Olimpias disability culture artists’ collective. While addressing preconceptions about the categories of nature writing and ecopoetics, contributors explore, challenge, and reimagine concepts that have been central to environmental discourse, from apocalypse and embodiment to toxicity and sustainability.
This collection of essays makes the compelling argument that ecopoetics should be read as “coextensive with post-1945 poetry and poetics,” rather than as a subgenre or movement within it. It is essential reading for any student or scholar working on contemporary literature or in the environmental humanities today.
Contributors: Joshua Bennett, Rob Halpern, Matt Hooley, Angela Hume, Lynn Keller, Petra Kuppers, Michelle Niemann, Gillian Osborne, Samia Rahimtoola, Joan Retallack, Joshua Schuster, Jonathan Skinner.
Ecocritics and other literary scholars interested in the environment have tended to examine writings that pertain directly to nature and to focus on subject matter more than expression. In this book, Scott Knickerbocker argues that it is time for the next step in ecocriticism: scholars need to explore the figurative and aural capacity of language to evoke the natural world in powerful ways.
Ecopoetics probes the complex relationship between artifice and the natural world in the work of modern American poets—in particular Wallace Stevens, Elizabeth Bishop, Richard Wilbur, and Sylvia Plath. These poets relate to nature as a deep wellspring of meaning, although they all avoid using language the way most nature writers do, merely to reflect or refer directly to the world. Each of these poets, in his or her own distinct way, employs instead what Knickerbocker terms sensuous poesis, the process of rematerializing language through sound effects and other formal devices as a sophisticated response to nonhuman nature.
Rather than attempt to erase the artifice of their own poems, to make them seem more natural and thus supposedly closer to nature, the poets in this book unapologetically embrace artifice—not for its own sake but in order to perform and enact the natural world. Indeed, for them, artifice is natural. In examining their work, Knickerbocker charts a new direction for ecocriticism.
Lee Rozelle probes the metaphor of environmental catastrophe in American literature of the last 150 years. In each instance, Rozelle finds evidence that the ecosublime--nature experienced as an instance of wonder and fear--profoundly reflects spiritual and political responses to the natural world, America’s increasingly anti-ecological trajectory, and the ascendance of a post-natural landscape.
In the 19th century, Rozelle argues, Isabella Bird and Edgar Allan Poe represented the western wilderness as culturally constructed and idealized landscapes. Gardens, forests, and frontiers are conceptual frameworks that either misrepresent or uphold ecological space. Modernists like Nathanael West and William Carlos Williams, on the other hand, portray urban space as either wastelands or mythical urban gardens. A chapter on Charles W. Chesnutt and Rebecca Harding Davis analyzes a new breed of literary eco-advocate, educating and shocking mainstream readers through depictions of ecological disaster. A later chapter probes the writings of Edward Abbey and the Unabomber Manifesto to delve into the sublime dimensions of environmental activism, monkey-wrenching, and eco-terrorism.
Never before has a collection of original essays strived to create such constructive, shared discourse between ecocritical, narrative scholars and environmental humanities scholars interested in narrative. Erin James and Eric Morel’s volume Environment and Narrative: New Directions in Econarratology explores the complexity of pairing material environments and their representations with narrative forms of understanding.
To explore the methodological possibilities within “econarratology,” the contributors evaluate the mechanics of how narratives convey environmental understanding via building blocks such as the organization of time and space, characterization, focalization, description, and narration. They also query how readers emotionally and cognitively engage with such representations and how the process of encountering different environments in narratives stands to affect real-world attitudes and behaviors. By positioning narratives as important repositories of values, political and ethical ideas, and behaviors that determine how we engage with our ecological homes, the authors in this volume suggest that to change the way that we interact with the environment requires not only new stories but also a better understanding of the ones that have long been in circulation.
Environment at the Margins brings literary and environmental studies into a robust interdisciplinary dialogue, challenging dominant ideas about nature, conservation, and development in Africa and exploring alternative narratives offered by writers and environmental thinkers. The essays bring together scholarship in geography, anthropology, and environmental history with the study of African and colonial literatures and with literary modes of analysis. Contributors analyze writings by colonial administrators and literary authors, as well as by such prominent African activists and writers as Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Mia Couto, Nadine Gordimer, Wangari Maathai, J. M. Coetzee, Zakes Mda, and Ben Okri. These postcolonial ecocritical readings focus on dialogue not only among disciplines but also among different visions of African environments. In the process, Environment at the Margins posits the possibility of an ecocriticism that will challenge and move beyond marginalizing, limiting visions of an imaginary Africa.
David McDermott Hughes
Roderick P. Neumann
Scott Slovic has spent his life as a teacher, writer, environmental activist, and leader in the field of ecocritical literary studies. In Going Away to Think, he reflects on the twin motivations of his life—the commitment to do some good in the world and the impulse to enjoy life and participate fully in its most intense moments—and he examines the tension created by his efforts to balance these two poles of his responsibility. These essays reveal the complex inner life of one of this generation’s most important environmental critics and literary activists. They range from profound discussions of the role and responsibilities of scholarship to deeply personal ruminations on the impact of family crises and the influence of his wide-ranging travels.
Until now, much scholarly work on Burroughs has focused on the sensational aspects of his life and on his innovative writing. The Green Ghost, by Chad Weidner, uncovers the ecological context of literary texts by William Burroughs. By rereading canonical and ignored texts while pushing the boundaries of ecocritical theory and practice, Weidner provides a fresh perspective on Burroughs and suggests new theoretical and methodological approaches to understanding the work of other Beat writers.
Using an ecocritical lens, Weidner explores the toxicity in Naked Lunch while at the same time teasing out latent ecological questions embedded in Burroughs’ later works. The author’s analysis of unknown and miniature “cut-ups,” texts that have been disassembled and rearranged to create new passages, provides a novel understanding of these cryptic forms. Weidner also examines in detail books by Burroughs that have been virtually ignored by critics, exposing the deep ecology of the Beat writer’s vision.
In calling attention to Burroughs’s narrative strategies that link him to an environmental political position, The Green Ghost demonstrates that the work of the Beat writer is a ripe source for ecocritical dialogue.
A collection of thirteen original essays by leaders in the emerging field of ecocriticism,The Greening of Literary Scholarship is devoted to exploring new and previously neglected literatures, theories, and methods in environmental-literary scholarship.
Each essay in this impressive collection challenges the notion that the study of environmental literature is separate from traditional concerns of criticism, and each applies ecocritical scholarship to literature not commonly explored in this context. New historicism, postcolonialism, deconstructionism, and feminist and Marxist theories are all utilized to evaluate and gain new insights into environmental literature; at the same time, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Upton Sinclair, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Susan Howe are studied from an ecocritical perspective.
At its core, The Greening of Literary Scholarship offers a practical demonstration of how articulating traditional and environmental modes of literary scholarship can enrich the interpretation of literary texts and, most important, revitalize the larger fields of environmental and literary scholarship.
A landmark collection of essays on the intersections of visual art, cultural studies, and environmental history in America.
Issues of ecology--both as they appear in the works of nature writers and in the works of literary writers for whom place and the land are central issues--have long been of interest to literary critics, and have given rise over the last two decades to the now firmly established field of ecocriticism. The essays in this volume, written by art historians and literary critics, seek to bring the study of American art into the expanding discourse of ecocriticism.
A Keener Perception offers a series of case studies on topics ranging from John White's watercolors of the Carolina landscape executed during Sir Walter Raleigh's 1585 Roanoke expedition to photographs by environmental activist Eliot Porter. Rather than merely resurrect past instances of ecologically attuned art, this volume features essays that resituate many canonical figures, such as Thomas Eakins, Aaron Douglas, and Thomas Cole, in an ecocritical light by which they have yet to be viewed. Studying such artists and artworks through an ecocritical lens not only provides a better understanding of these works and the American landscape, but also brings a new interpretive paradigm to the field of art history--a field that many of these critics believe would do well to embrace environmental concerns as a vital area of research.
In highlighting the work of scholars who bring ecological agendas to their study of American art, as well as providing models for literary scholars who might like to better incorporate the visual arts into their own scholarship and teaching, A Keener Perception is truly a landmark collection--timely, consequential, and controversial.
Films located in the American West and the Western as a cinematic genre have endured throughout the history of moviemaking. Today, this tradition of battles between good versus evil, populists versus profiteers, and man versus nature may have been largely assimilated and transformed into action adventures with car chases replacing mounted posses, yet the genre remains popular with audiences. In studies of the Hollywood Western, the importance of landscape itself, the idyllic or treacherous environment portrayed in these films, often receives supporting-role status. Without the land, however, American national mythmaking would not exist.
The essays in this volume scrutinize the special place of nature and landscape in films—including silent, documentary, and feature length film—that are specifically American and Western. The films discussed here go beyond the stereotypical sagebrush setting. Although many of the films closely fit the standard conventions of the Western, others demonstrate the fluidity of the genre. The wildness of the western environment as a central fact of the American mythos encompasses far more than a brief period of national history or a specific geographical location.
The whiteness of mainstream environmentalism often fails to account for the richness and variety of Latinx environmental thought. Building on insights of environmental justice scholarship as well as critical race and ethnic studies, the editors and contributors to Latinx Environmentalisms map the ways Latinx cultural texts integrate environmental concerns with questions of social and political justice.
Original interviews with creative writers, including Cherríe Moraga, Helena María Viramontes, and Héctor Tobar, as well as new essays by noted scholars of Latinx literature and culture, show how Latinx authors and cultural producers express environmental concerns in their work. These chapters, which focus on film, visual art, and literature—and engage in fields such as disability studies, animal studies, and queer studies—emphasize the role of racial capitalism in shaping human relationships to the more-than-human world and reveal a vibrant tradition of Latinx decolonial environmentalism.
Latinx Environmentalisms accounts for the ways Latinx cultures are environmental, but often do not assume the mantle of “environmentalism.”
When the Puritans arrived in the New World to carry out the colonization they saw as divinely mandated, they were confronted by the American wilderness. Part of their theology led them to view the natural environment as “a temple of God” in which they should glorify and serve its creator. The larger prevailing theological view, however, saw this vast continent as “the Devil’s Territories” needing to be conquered and cultivated for God’s Kingdom. These contradictory designations gave rise to an ambivalence regarding the character of this land and humanity’s proper relation to it.
Loving God’s Wildness rediscovers the environmental roots of America’s Puritan heritage. In tracing this history, Jeffrey Bilbro demonstrates how the dualistic Christianity that the Puritans brought to America led them to see the land as an empty wilderness that God would turn into a productive source of marketable commodities. Bilbro carefully explores the effect of this dichotomy in the nature writings of Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Willa Cather, and Wendell Berry.
Thoreau, Muir, Cather, and Berry imaginatively developed the Puritan theological tradition to propose practical, physical means by which humans should live and worship within the natural temple of God’s creation. They reshaped Puritan dualism, each according to the particular needs of his or her own ecological and cultural contexts, into a theology that demands care for the entire created community. While differing in their approaches and respective ecological ethics, the four authors Bilbro examines all share the conviction that God remains active in creation and that humans ought to relinquish their selfish ends to participate in his wild ecology.
Loving God’s Wildness fills a critical gap in literary criticism and environmental studies by offering a sustained, detailed argument regarding how Christian theology has had a profound and enduring legacy in shaping the contours of the American ecological imagination. Literary critics, scholars of religion and environmental studies, and thoughtful Christians who are concerned about environmental issues will profit from this engaging new book.
Cities are often thought to be separate from nature, but recent trends in ecocriticism demand that we consider them as part of the total environment. This new collection of essays sharpens the focus on the nature of cities by exploring the facets of an urban ecocriticism, by reminding city dwellers of their place in ecosystems, and by emphasizing the importance of this connection in understanding urban life and culture.
The editors—both raised in small towns but now living in major urban areas—are especially concerned with the sociopolitical construction of all environments, both natural and manmade. Following an opening interview with Andrew Ross exploring the general parameters of urban ecocriticism, they present essays that explore urban nature writing, city parks, urban "wilderness," ecofeminism and the city, and urban space. The volume includes contributions on topics as wide-ranging as the urban poetry of English writers from Donne to Gay, the manufactured wildness of a gambling casino, and the marketing of cosmetics to urban women by idealizing Third World "naturalness." These essays seek to reconceive nature and its cultural representations in ways that contribute to understanding the contemporary cityscape. They explore the theoretical issues that arise when one attempts to adopt and adapt an environmental perspective for analyzing urban life.
The Nature of Cities offers the ecological component often missing from cultural analyses of the city and the urban perspective often lacking in environmental approaches to contemporary culture. By bridging the historical gap between environmentalism, cultural studies, and urban experience, the book makes a statement of lasting importance to the development of the ecocritical movement.
Planting the Anthropocene is a rhetorical look into the world of industrial tree planting in Canada that engages the themes of nature, culture, and environmental change. Bringing together the work of material ecocriticism and critical affect studies in service of a new materialist environmental rhetoric, Planting the Anthropocene forwards a frame that can be used to work through complex scenes of anthropogenic labor.
Using the results of interviews with seasonal Canadian tree planters, Jennifer Clary-Lemon interrogates the complex and messy imbrication of nature-culture through the inadequate terminology used to describe the actual circumstances of the planters’ work and lives—and offers alternative ways to conceptualize them. Although silvicultural workers do engage with the limiting rhetoric of efficiency and humanism, they also make rhetorical choices that break down the nature-culture divide and orient them on a continuum that blurs the boundaries between the given and the constructed, the human and nonhuman. Tree-planting work is approached as a site of a deep-seated materiality—a continued re-creation of the land’s “disturbance”—rather than a simplistic form of doing good that further separates humans from landscapes.
Jennifer Clary-Lemon’s view of nature and the Anthropocene through the lens of material rhetorical studies is thoroughly original and will be of great interest to students and scholars of rhetoric and composition, especially those focused on the environment.
Christian Knoeller presents a radical reinterpretation of environmental history set in the heartland of America. In an excellent model of narrative-based scholarship, this book dynamically reimagines American environmentalism across generations of writers, artists, and scientists. Knoeller starts out with Audubon, and cites Thoreau’s journals in the 1850s as he assesses an early 17th century account of New England’s natural resources by William Wood, showing the epic decline in game and bird populations in Concord. This reading of environmental history is replicated throughout with a gallery of novelists, poets, essayists, and other commentators as they explore ecological memory and environmental destruction. In apt discussions of Matthiessen, Lopez, Wendell Berry, William Stafford and many others, Knoeller offers vibrant insights into literary history. He also cites his own memoir of perpetual development on his family’s farm in Indiana, enriching the scholarship and making an urgent plea for the healing aesthetics of the imagination.
Reading across centuries and genres, Knoeller gives us a vibrant new appraisal of Midwestern/North American interior literary traditions and makes clear how vital environmental writing is to this region. To date, no one has written such an eloquent and comprehensive cross-genre analysis of Midwestern environmental literature.
Labels traditionally ascribed to women—mother, angel of the house, whore, or bitch—suggest character traits that do not encompass the complexities of women’s identities or empower women’s public speaking. Rethinking Ethos: A Feminist Ecological Approach to Rhetoric redefines the concept of ethos—classically thought of as character or credibility—as ecological and feminist, negotiated and renegotiated, and implicated in shifting power dynamics. Building on previous feminist and rhetorical scholarship, this essay collection presents a sustained discussion of the unique methods by which women’s ethos is constructed and transformed.
Editors Kathleen J. Ryan, Nancy Myers, and Rebecca Jones identify three rhetorical maneuvers that characterize ethos in the feminist ecological imaginary: ethe as interruption/interrupting, ethe as advocacy/advocating, and ethe as relation/relating. Each section of the book explores one of these rhetorical maneuvers. An afterword gathers contributors’ thoughts on the collection’s potential impact and influence, possibilities for future scholarship, and the future of feminist rhetorical studies.
With its rich mix of historical examples and contemporary case studies, Rethinking Ethos offers a range of new perspectives, including queer theory, transnational approaches, radical feminism, Chicana feminism, and indigenous points of view, from which to consider a feminist approach to ethos.
Risk Criticism is a study of literary and cultural responses to global environmental risk in an age of unfolding ecological catastrophe. In 2015, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists reset its iconic Doomsday Clock to three minutes to midnight, as close to the apocalypse as it has been since 1953. What pushed its hands was not just the threat of nuclear weapons, but also other global environmental risks that the Bulletin judged to have risen to the scale of the nuclear, including climate change and innovations in the life sciences. If we may once have believed that the end of days would come in a blaze of nuclear firestorm, we now suspect that the apocalypse may be much slower, creeping in as chemical toxins, climate change, or nano-technologies run amok.
Taking inspiration from the questions raised by the Bulletin’s synecdochical “nuclear,” Risk Criticism aims to generate a hybrid form of critical practice that brings “nuclear criticism” into conversation with ecocriticism. Through readings of novels, films, theater, poetry, visual art, websites, news reports, and essays, Risk Criticism tracks the diverse ways in which environmental risks are understood and represented today.
Bringing together media studies and environmental humanities, the contributors to Saturation develop saturation as a heuristic to analyze phenomena in which the elements involved are difficult or impossible to separate. In ordinary language, saturation describes the condition of being thoroughly soaked, while in chemistry it is the threshold at which something can be maximally dissolved or absorbed in a solution. Contributors to this collection expand notions of saturation beyond water to consider saturation in sound, infrastructure, media, Big Data, capitalism, and visual culture. Essays include analyses of the thresholds of HIV detectability in bloodwork, militarism's saturation of oceans, and the deleterious effects of the saturation of cellphone and wi-fi signals into the human body. By channeling saturation to explore the relationship between media, the environment, technology, capital, and the legacies of settler colonialism, Saturation illuminates how elements, the natural world, and anthropogenic infrastructures, politics, and processes exist in and through each other.
Contributors. Marija Cetinić, Jeff Diamanti, Bishnupriya Ghosh, Lisa Yin Han, Stefan Helmreich, Mél Hogan, Melody Jue, Rahul Mukherjee, Max Ritts, Rafico Ruiz, Bhaskar Sarkar, John Shiga, Avery Slater, Janet Walker, Joanna Zylinska
“Slow violence” from climate change, toxic drift, deforestation, oil spills, and the environmental aftermath of war takes place gradually and often invisibly. Rob Nixon focuses on the inattention we have paid to the lethality of many environmental crises, in contrast with the sensational, spectacle-driven messaging that impels public activism today.
Interest in the vegan studies field continues to grow as veganism has become increasingly visible via celebrity endorsements and universally acknowledged health benefits, and veganism and vegan characters are increasingly present in works of art and literature. Through aVeganStudies Lens broadens the scope of vegan studies by engaging in the mainstream discourse found in a wide variety of contemporary works of literature, popular cultural representations, advertising, and news media.
Veganism is a practice that allows for environmentally responsible consumer choices that are viewed, particularly in the West, as oppositional to an economy that is largely dependent upon big agriculture. This groundbreaking collection exposes this disruption, critiques it, and offers a new roadmap for navigating and reimaging popular culture representations on veganism. These essays engage a wide variety of political, historical, and cultural issues, including contemporary political and social circumstances, emergent veganism in Eastern Europe, climate change, and the Syrian refugee crisis, among other topics.
Through a Vegan Studies Lens significantly furthers the conversation of what a vegan studies perspective can be and illustrates why it should be an integral part of cultural studies and critical theory. Vegan studies is inclusive, refusing to ignore the displacement, abuse, and mistreatment of nonhuman animals. It also looks to ignite conversations about cultural oppression.
What constitutes an environment in American literature is an issue that has undergone much debate across environmental humanities in the last decade. In the field, some have argued that environments are markedly natural or wild sites while others contend literary spaces can be both wild and urban, or even cultural. Yet, few of the works produced to date have addressed the pronounced influence the author of a text has on a literary environment. Despite exciting work on materiality and culture in conceptions of environments, critics have not yet fully examined the contributions of poetry’s language, form, and self-awareness in rethinking what constitutes an environment.
By approaching environments in a new way, Nolan closes this gap and recognizes how contemporary poets employ self-reflexive commentary and formal experimentation in order to create new natural/cultural environments on the page. She proposes a radical new direction for ecopoetics and deploys it in relation to four major American poets. Working from literal to textual spaces through the contemporary poetry of A.R. Ammons’s Garbage, Lyn Hejinian’s My Life, Susan Howe’s The Midnight, and Kenneth Goldsmith’s Seven American Deaths and Disasters, the book presents applications of unnatural ecopoetics in poetic environments, ones that do not engage with traditional ideas of nature and would otherwise remain outside the scope of ecocritical and ecopoetic studies.
Nolan proposes a new practical approach for reading poetic language. Ecocriticism is a very fluid and evolving discipline, and Nolan’s pioneering new book pushes the boundaries of second-wave ecopoetics—the fundamental issue being what is nature/natural, and how does poetic language, particularly self-conscious contemporary poetic agency, contribute to and complicate that question.
As interest in environmental issues grows, many writers of fiction have embraced themes that explore the connections between humans and the natural world. Ecologically themed fiction ranges from profound philosophical meditations to action-packed entertainments. Where the Wild Books Are offers an overview of nearly 2,000 works of nature-oriented fiction. The author includes a discussion of the precursors and history of the genre, and of its expansion since the 1970s. He also considers its forms and themes, as well as the subgenres into which it has evolved, such as speculative fiction, ecodefense, animal stories, mysteries, ecofeminist novels, cautionary tales, and others. A brief summary and critical commentary of each title is included. Dwyer’s scope is broad and covers fiction by Native American writers as well as ecofiction from writers around the world. Far more than a mere listing of books, Where the Wild Books Are is a lively introduction to a vast universe of engaging, provocative writing. It can be used to develop book collections or curricula. It also serves as an introduction to one of the most fertile areas of contemporary fiction, presenting books that will offer enjoyable reading and new insights into the vexing environmental questions of our time.
A study of the natural world as imagined by contemporary writers, specifically their portrayals of nature as monster
In Zombiescapes and Phantom Zones:Ecocriticism and the Liminal from “Invisible Man” to “The Walking Dead,” Lee Rozelle chronicles the weirdest, ugliest, and most mixed-up characters to appear on the literary scene since World War II—creatures intimately linked to damaged habitats that rise from the muck, not to destroy or rule the world, but to save it. The book asks what happens to these landscapes after the madness, havoc, and destruction. What monsters and magic surface then?
Rozelle argues that zombiescapes and phantom zones depicted in the book become catalysts for environmental reanimation and sources of hope. Liminality offers exciting and useful new ways to conceptualize places that have historically proven troublesome, unwieldy, or hard to define. Zombiescapes can reduce the effects of pollution, promote environmental justice, lessen economic disparity, and localize food production. The grotesques that ooze and crawl from these passages challenge readers to consider new ways to re-inhabit broken lands at a time when energy efficiency, fracking, climate change, the Pacific trade agreement, local food production, and sustainability shape the intellectual landscape.
Rozelle focuses on literary works from 1950 to 2015—the zombiescapes and monsterscapes of post–World War II literature—that portray in troubling and often devastating ways the “brownfields” that have been divested of much of their biodiversity and ecological viability. However, he also highlights how these literary works suggest a new life and new potential for such environments. With an unlikely focus on places of ruination and an application of interdisciplinary, transnational approaches to a range of fields and texts, Rozelle advances the notion that places of distortion might become a nexus where revelation and advocacy are possible again.
Zombiescapes and Phantom Zones has much to offer to various fields of scholarship, including literary studies, ecocriticism, and environmental studies. Research, academic, and undergraduate audiences will be captivated by Rozelle’s lively prose and unique anthropological, ecocritical, and literary analyses.