Special Issue "Opening the Ecological Text"

A special issue of Humanities (ISSN 2076-0787). This special issue belongs to the section "Literature in the Humanities".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 January 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Anne McConnell
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
English Department, West Virginia State University, Morgantown, WV 26506-6296, USA
Interests: Contemporary literature from France, Latin American, and the United States; critical theory; comparative literature
Dr. Kent Shaw
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
English Department, Wheaton College, Norton, MA 02766, USA
Interests: contemporary poetry from the United States; digital humanities

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Timothy Morton describes “the ecological thought” as a “vast sprawling mesh of interconnection without a definite center or edge.”  He argues for a form of ecocriticism that refuses to limit itself to works of literature and art that are about something explicitly ecological:  the climate crisis, pollution, environmental toxins.  As Morton suggests, our tendency to see the environment as something “out there,” specific to a limited set of concerns, informs a type of ecocriticism that fails to see the ecological implications of any text, both thematic and formal.  We are interested in papers that explore a diverse array of ecologies and demonstrate an agile understanding of ecocriticism.  We understand the environmental crises of our contemporary world reach far into the intricacies and intimacy of daily life.  How can ecological writing influence not only subject matter, but also the practice of writing?  We would especially encourage papers that consider primary texts which display a kind of radical, indefinable openness—regarding textuality as an interrelated system of parts that constantly shift and evolve.  Lastly, we invite papers on texts that grapple with defining a literary genre of ecocritical or ecopoetic writing.  We imagine a volume that contains papers on contemporary fiction and poetry from a variety of cultural and linguistic traditions.  Please feel free to contact us if you have questions about the topic or would like to run an idea by us before submitting a manuscript. 

Dr. Anne McConnell
Dr. Kent Shaw
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Humanities is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Ecocriticism
  • ecopoetics
  • environmental literature
  • contemporary literature
  • contemporary poetry

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Article
The Bounds of Narrative in Don DeLillo’s Underworld: Action and the Ecology of Mimêsis
Humanities 2021, 10(1), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10010040 - 27 Feb 2021
Viewed by 588
Abstract
The interrelationship of natural and cultural history in Don DeLillo’s Underworld presents an ecology of mimesis. If, as Timothy Morton argues, ecological thought can be understood as a “mesh of interconnection,” DeLillo’s novel studies the interpretation of connection. Underworld situates its action [...] Read more.
The interrelationship of natural and cultural history in Don DeLillo’s Underworld presents an ecology of mimesis. If, as Timothy Morton argues, ecological thought can be understood as a “mesh of interconnection,” DeLillo’s novel studies the interpretation of connection. Underworld situates its action in the Cold War era. DeLillo’s formal techniques examine the tropes of paranoia, containment, excess, and waste peculiar to the history of the Cold War. Parataxis and free-indirect discourse emphasize the contexts of reference in the novel, illustrating how hermeneutics informs the significance of boundaries. DeLillo’s use of parataxis exemplifies the conditions that propose and limit metaphor’s reference to reality, conditions that offer the terms for meaningful action. I utilize Paul Ricoeur’s hermeneutics to demonstrate how Underworld situates the reference to reality in its temporal and narrative condition. The historical situation of the novel’s narrative structure allows DeLillo to interrogate the role of discourse in producing and interpreting connection. Underworld offers layers of significance; the reader’s engagement with the novel’s discourse reaffirms the conditions of a meaningful relationship with reality in the pertinence of a metaphor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Opening the Ecological Text)
Article
TC Boyle’s “Politics of Nature”
Humanities 2021, 10(1), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10010025 - 03 Feb 2021
Viewed by 578
Abstract
This paper offers a Latourian reading of T.C. Boyle’s novel When the Killing’s Done. It shows that the novel satirizes contemporary ecological debates and stages the cultural wars of our current ecological culture. It also demonstrates, however, that the novel does not [...] Read more.
This paper offers a Latourian reading of T.C. Boyle’s novel When the Killing’s Done. It shows that the novel satirizes contemporary ecological debates and stages the cultural wars of our current ecological culture. It also demonstrates, however, that the novel does not merely point out the impasse of our current ecologies: its fiction intuitively diagnoses the contemporary “crisis of purity” in modern environmental politics and points us towards the kind of entangled ecologies sketched by Latour and other recent thinkers. Like Latour’s reinvention of a more hybrid and entangled “politics of nature,” Boyle’s novel allows us to reimagine a complex and contaminated new ecology, away from the purifications of our contemporary “NaturPolitiks”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Opening the Ecological Text)
Article
Sustainable Literary Competence: Connecting Literature Education to Education for Sustainability
Humanities 2020, 9(4), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9040141 - 03 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 917
Abstract
Ecocritical scholarship has always had pedagogical ambitions. It is commonly assumed that education based on ecocritical readings of literature will change the attitudes and actions of pupils and students and thus contribute to forming environmentally aware and sustainable citizens. However, this article proposes [...] Read more.
Ecocritical scholarship has always had pedagogical ambitions. It is commonly assumed that education based on ecocritical readings of literature will change the attitudes and actions of pupils and students and thus contribute to forming environmentally aware and sustainable citizens. However, this article proposes an alternative view on the interaction between sustainability and literature education. Based on a critical discussion of “ecocritical orthodoxy,” this meta-theoretical study uses affect theory in conjunction with Rita Felski’s proposal for postcritical reading to argue that literature education needs to take the polysemy of literary texts and the unpredictability of readers’ encounters with such texts into account. By linking this to a specified set of sustainability competences and a dialogic concept of literary competence, the aim of the main discussion is to highlight the many potentially fertile overlaps between literature education and the competences needed in a sustainable citizen. Here, Timothy Clark’s thoughts on the Anthropocene as threshold concept, and Timothy Clark’s views on irony are important parts of the theoretical framework. Moreover, such a framework for sustainable literary competence could help to argue for the value of literature education and genuine literary competence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Opening the Ecological Text)
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Article
The Textual Ecology of Christine Montalbetti’s Journée américaine
Humanities 2020, 9(4), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9040133 - 02 Nov 2020
Viewed by 502
Abstract
Christine Montalbetti’s 2009 novel, Journée américaine, depicts a road trip, as Donovan travels from Oklahoma to visit his college friend, Tom Lee, who lives on a ranch in Colorado. While the road trip provides a basic structure for the narrative, as the [...] Read more.
Christine Montalbetti’s 2009 novel, Journée américaine, depicts a road trip, as Donovan travels from Oklahoma to visit his college friend, Tom Lee, who lives on a ranch in Colorado. While the road trip provides a basic structure for the narrative, as the text unfolds, we realize that Montalbetti’s narrator prefers to meander, rather than taking us in a linear manner towards a final destination. The narrator dives into memories, digressions, philosophical reflections, and backstories of seemingly peripheral characters in order to flesh out a complex narrative mesh. Timothy Morton’s notion of “the ecological thought” provides a compelling lens through which we can read Montalbetti’s novel, encouraging us to consider the ecological implications of a text that might not at first strike us as having anything to do with ecology. Journée américaine pushes against the outer edge of the text, spilling over into the world and also demonstrating the ways that the environment participates in the text. Montalbetti’s attention to objects, nonhuman animals, and landscapes further emphasizes how narrative does not necessarily require a human subject at the center. In the end, the narrative mesh of Journée américaine demonstrates a sprawling, complex network of relations that unfolds outward and defies boundaries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Opening the Ecological Text)
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