Globality, Difference, and the International Turn in Ecocriticism


Ecocritics’ interest in historical, anthropological, philosophical,  and  journalistic writings about the environment has over the last few years enabled a transdisciplinary collaboration with environmentally oriented scholars in anthropology, communications, cultural geography, history, and philosophy that is often referred to as the environmental humanities. As comparative literature did in the early 1990s, transnational ecocriticism faces the dual challenges of a global expansion of its objects of study and an interdisci-plinary integration of theories, concepts, and methods. Less bound by national, regional, and linguistic borders than literary studies have tended to be, these related disciplines promise tools for developing ecocriticism’s global horizons in what has come to be called the Anthropocene, an era in which humans, a new geological force, transform even the most basic climatic systems on the planet (Crutzen and Stoermer). As the postcolonial historian Dipesh Chakrabarty has argued, the reality of climate change forces scholars in the humanities and social sciences to develop new theories of planetarity at the intersection of culture  and environment  (“Climate”  and “Postcolonial Studies”). Nothing less than a thoroughly transdisciplinary eld of environmental humanities research will do justice to this ambitious goal.

To read the full article click here

About the Author

ursual heise

Ursual K. Heise is professor in the Department of English and the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her books include Sense of Place and Sense of Planet: The Environmental Imagination of the Global (Oxford UP, 2008) and Nach der Natur: Das Ar tenster ben und die moderne Kultur (“After Nature: Species Extinction and Modern Culture”; Suhrkamp, 2010). She is working on a book project called “Where the Wild Things Used to Be: Narrative, Database, and Endangered Species.”