Narratives in the Anthropocene Era

Deadline: February 15, 2021
Contact: Nikoleta Zampaki
Email: [email protected]

The arrival of the Covid-19 virus seems, then, only the last act in date of a situation that has lasted for decades, the consequence of a geological epoch, that of the Anthropocene, characterized by the unstoppable impact of human action on the biosphere and on every category of living beings. An era that is progressively affirmed in the literary and social imagination, where nature acquires an increasingly autonomous narrative force, no longer filtered by the human gaze of the subject that observes it. The result is a set of new data that no longer see the interest of human beings as the only legitimate, in which the commitment of writers/artists/scholars assumes a more complex referentiality, constituted by a widespread ecological ethic that fits into today’s society by changing its priorities.

If it is true that, as Victor Hugo said, “nothing is stronger than an idea whose time has come”, we are now facing a key moment to transform the old anthropocentric resolutions into a new dynamic of care, for which, the non-human environment is constituted as a presence and not as a framework, suggesting that human history is intertwined in natural history (Buell, 1995).

Based on these assumptions, the volume that we intend to propose has multiple intentions: starting from the horizon of human and social sciences at the time of Anthropocene, it aims at investigating, in different areas, the ethical-pedagogical potential that the pandemic can leave in its wake, in order to understand if these are able to positively contribute to the fight against the environmental crisis in progress.

The perspective we intend to include opens with disaster studies, the study of social and behavioral aspects in situations of collective stress, born from natural hazards or shortages of vital resources, a narrative of scientific knowledge, through the exploration of the case studies on global, but also local, environmental vulnerabilities, and their eventual recovery.

Continuing with ecocritical studies, we will reflect on the role of literature in the possible ecological-environmental awareness of readers, encouraging an empathetic transformation in front of the fate of the living non-human, with which the human shares the biosphere and the urgency of their own survival. It becomes interesting to explore both the treatment and exposition of scientific knowledge in literary texts, the stylistic integration and cognitive impact, as well as the representation of wounds inflicted by human beings to the environment, all fundamental elements of the new sensitivity that confirm ecocriticism among the most important methods of literary analysis, and as survival strategy, of the last decade.

In the context of a global examination of the possible lessons to be drawn from the advent of the current Covid-19 pandemic, it could be said that every action or event happening on earth is linked to a chain of other events through an infallible system of cause and effect: the repercussions due to the alteration of one of the links of the aforementioned chain would be likely to lead to the destruction of the whole apparatus. If, however, at first sight, what we are experiencing could be the ‘local’ imbalance of an ecosystem (the Asian one) with planetary consequences, the reality on the state of the planet could be more complex, and the urgency even more pressing.

Every day we discover the effects and the new narratives related to the advent of the pandemic, beginning with the familiarization with some terms, that were until recently used exclusively in purely medical-scientific fields, to which this situation has led. «Zoonoses», «asymptomatic» or the term «pandemic», flanked by the more generic but strongly in use «lockdown», express, precisely through an invasive diffusion in our daily lives, the unprecedented character of a situation that now involves the total precariousness, and sometimes the destruction of any kind of balance between human and non-human.

This volume, which focuses on the narration of the loss of harmony, aims to establish a theoretical panorama for the reactivation, within the elements of our anthropocentric contemporaneity, of unsolved old questions about the position of human beings on earth. At the same time, it intends to establish new questions on how to create new ethically possible relationships with the biosphere and the beings that inhabit it. Thus, extracting, from an unprecedented situation, derived from an “outdated ” and no longer sustainable way of being in the world, new elements for a reborn condition of existence built around the oikos. A “home” to which to apply the concept of care, care for a living body, in a deep vision that transforms the human through an ethics of action, and active and conscious protection of the ecosystem.

We would like to point out to the authors that the volume will welcome contributions oriented on human and social sciences, geo-ethics, human geography, natural sciences, and on pedagogy related to environmental protection. Among the possible topics that may be covered, we mention:

– The literary forms that recount and raise awareness of the ecological crisis, through literary creation, which produces a new dynamic between writer, reader and environment.

– The urgency of new environmental policies capable of reversing a system of blind exploitation of natural resources, through a completely new educational vision, which implies that taking care of the earth be among the top priorities of the planet.

– Presentation of case studies on scenarios and geographical representations of the Anthropocene on a global and local scale.

– The ethical-pedagogical potential of the current pandemic situation.

– The narration of scientific knowledge related to environmental disasters in global and local context, for a reflection devoted to the reconstruction of ecosystems.

Keywords: ethics, environment, crisis, narration, human geography, preservation, resources, arts, Anthropocene

Critical bibliography

Biancofiore Angela, 2015, “Ethique de la terre et appropriation du vivant”, Notos, n°3-2015.

Buell Lawrence, 1995, The Environmental Imagination: Thoreau, Nature Writing and the Formation of American Culture, Cambridge, MA : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

Buell Lawrence, 2001, Writing for an Endangered World. Literature, Culture, and Environment in the U.S. and Beyond, Harvard, Harvard University Press.

Cassano Franco, [1998] 2007, Il pensiero meridiano, Bari, Laterza.

Clark Timothy, 2010, The Cambridge Introduction to Literature and the Environment, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Cook Alice and Kirk Gwyn, [1982] 2016, Des femmes contre des missiles : rêves, idées et actions à Greenham Common, trad. par Cécile Potier, Paris, Cambourakis.

D’Eaubonne Françoise, [1978] 2018, Écologie et féminisme : révolution ou mutation ?, Paris, Libre et Solidaire.

De Pascale Francesco, Dattilo Valeria, 2021, The Geoethical Semiosis of the Anthropocene: The Peircean Triad for a Reconceptualization of the Relationship between Human Beings and Environment, Annals of the Association of American Geographers (in press).

Hache Émilie et Larrère Catherine, 2016, Reclaim : recueil de textes écoféministes, trad. par Émilie Notéris, Paris, Cambourakis.

Holm Poul, and Travis Charles, 2017, The new human condition and climate change: Humanities and social science perceptions of threat. Global and Planetary Change, 156:112-14. doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2017.08.013.

Guattari Félix, La Cerla Franco, [1989] 2019, Le tre ecologie, Milano, Edizioni Sonda.

Inglehart Ronald F., 1998, La società postmoderna. Mutamento, ideologie e valori in 43 paesi, Roma, Editori Riuniti.

Haraway Donna, [1984] 2007, « Manifeste Cyborg », dans D. Haraway, L. Allard, D. Gardey et N. Magnan, Manifeste cyborg et autres essais : Sciences – Fictions – Féminismes, Paris, Exils Éditeur.

Haraway Donna, 1988, « Situated Knowledges: the Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of partial Pespective », Feminist Studies, vol. 14, no 3, p. 575-599.

Iovino Serenella, 2006, Ecologia letteraria. Una strategia di sopravvivenza, Milano, Edizioni Ambiente.

Larue Anne, 2010, Fiction, féminisme et postmodernité : les voies subversives du roman contemporain à grand succès, Paris, Classiques Garnier.

Laugier Sandra, 2015, « Care, environnement et éthique globale », Cahiers du Genre, no 59, p. 127-152.

Margantin Laurent, 2006, Kenneth White et la géopoétique, Paris, L’Harmattan.

Merchant Carolyn, 1980, The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology, and the Scientific Revolution, San Francisco, Harper and Row.

Mies Maria and Vandana Shiva, [1993] 1998, Écoféminisme, trad. par Édith Rubinstein, Paris, Montréal, L’Harmattan.

Næss Arne, 1989, “From ecology to ecosophy, from science to wisdom”, in World Futures: The Journal of New Paradigm Research, 27: 2-4, pp. 185-190.

Nixon Rob, 2011, Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor, Cambridge, Harvard University Press.

Romestaing Alain, Schoentjes Pierre, Simon Anne, éds, « Écopoétiques », 2015, in Revue critique de fixxion française contemporaine, n° 11, https://www.revue-critique-de-fixxion-francaise-contemporaine.org/rcffc/issue/view/21/showToc.

Shiva Vandana, 2010, Staying Alive: Women, Ecology and Development, Brooklyn, New York, South End Press.

Salabé Caterina ed., 2013, Ecocritica. La letteratura e la crisi del pianeta, Roma, Donzelli.

Starhawk, [2002] 2016, Chroniques altermondialistes : tisser la toile du soulèvement global, trad. par Isabelle Stengers, Édith Rubinstein et Alix Grzybowski, Paris, Cambourakis.

Starhawk, 1993, The Fifth Sacred Thing, New York, Bantam Dell Pub Group.

Starhawk, 1979, The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess, San Francisco, Harper and Row.

White Kenneth, 1987, L’esprit nomade, Paris, Grasset.

Young Iris Marion, 1990, Justice and the Politics of Difference, Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press.

Important Dates:

February 15, 2021: Book Chapter Proposal deadline;

February 28, 2021: Acceptance/Rejection Notification;

May 15, 2021: Full Chapter Submission;

July 31, 2021: Review notification;

October 15, 2021: Final version chapter submission;

November/December 2021: Final e-book version available.

Submission Procedure:

Interested authors should submit their proposals (max 500 words) by February 15, 2021, explaining the main topic and the objectives of the chapter.

The manuscript proposals (Word or PDF) must be sent to the following address: [email protected]

Acceptance/Rejection notification will be sent to the authors by February 28, 2021. After the acceptance notification, authors should submit full chapters by May 15, 2021 formatting their manuscripts following the Editor’s guidelines.

The manuscript word count must be between 4500 – 6000 words. This includes tables, illustrations, references, etc. All submissions will be reviewed in a double-blind manner.

Posted on January 12, 2021