Special Issue "Environmental Humanities Approaches to Climate Change"

A special issue of Humanities (ISSN 2076-0787).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2019

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. David Higgins

School of English, University of Leeds, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK
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Interests: Romantic literature; the Anthropocene; philosophical pessimism; nature writing; culture and climate change
Guest Editor
Dr. Tess Somervell

School of English, University of Leeds, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK
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Interests: Eighteenth-century and Romantic literature; ecocriticism; nature poetry; climate and literature
Guest Editor
Prof. Nigel Clark

Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4YQ, UK
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Interests: Anthropocene; geophilosophy; climate and society; political geology; corporeal climatology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

‘Environmental Humanities Approaches to Climate Change’ investigates the various ways in which we experience climate change. ‘Climate,’ writes Mike Hulme, ‘is weather which has been cultured, interpreted and acted on by the imagination, through story-telling and using material technologies’ (Weathered: Cultures of Climate). Whereas weather can be experienced directly, climate and climate change are inevitably mediated and remediated through cultural forms: particular narratives, vocabularies, images, objects, and symbols. This presents a considerable opportunity for scholars in the humanities and social sciences, who are well placed to analyse how climate change is understood, represented, and communicated in relation to specific socio-political contexts and within specific ethical and epistemological frameworks. However, it also presents a significant challenge. How can we be attentive to climate change as story without supporting the idea that it is a mere fiction? How can we move from understanding climate change as politically and culturally produced to imagining ways in which it might be mitigated? How does an understanding of climate change’s mediations remain alert to the brute facticity of environmental forces?

The special issue will bring together researchers whose work does not necessarily fit into traditional disciplinary silos. Its purpose is to explore and demonstrate the insights offered by the humanities into the cultural forms that climate change takes, and therefore to argue for the important contribution that the environmental humanities can make to climate change studies. It will be an opportunity to reflect on the broader question of the relationship between the fine-grained analytical work practised in the environmental humanities and the more instrumentalised approach to ‘climate solutions’ in the natural sciences and ‘hard’ social sciences; a relationship that it is important to address given that the problem of climate change is partly a problem of communication and imagination.

‘Environmental Humanities Approaches to Climate Change’ will build upon the groundbreaking work of scholars such as Julie Doyle (Mediating Climate Change) and Mike Hulme, who have emphasised the political, cultural, and communicative dimensions of climate change. A special issue on the subject of the cultural forms of climate change will be able to address the diversity of these forms across time and space and beyond the scope of a single-author study. It will also be an intervention in the ongoing debate around the Anthropocene (e.g. Bonneuil and Fressoz, The Shock of the Anthropocene; Davies, The Birth of the Anthropocene). One of the key problems with the concept is that it can be used to suggest a monolithic species-wide agency that not only exaggerates human power but also glosses over the considerable inequalities that generate climate change and to which it contributes. A more nuanced notion of the Anthropocene requires a nuanced analysis of the diverse ways through which climate change can be understood in relation to human discourse and practice, rather than seeing it simply as a measure of what ‘we’ do in a purely physical sense to an environment that is imagined as somehow external to us. Therefore, the special issue also relates to the recent development of ‘new materialist’ environmental philosophy (e.g. Bennett, Vibrant Matter; Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway) which similarly aims to complicate ideas of anthropogenic agency and to understand the ‘culturing’ of climate change as a process in which human and nonhuman actors/actants are entangled.

Yours faithfully,

Dr. David Higgins
Dr. Tess Somervell
Prof. Nigel Clark
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 quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charges (APCs) of 350 CHF (Swiss Francs) per published paper are fully funded by institutions through the Knowledge Unlatched initiative, resulting in no direct charge to authors. 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

  • Climate change
  • environmental humanities
  • ecocriticism
  • the Anthropocene
  • deep time

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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