Ecological Exile: Spatial Injustice and Environmental Humanities, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Ecological Exile

Spatial Injustice and Environmental Humanities, 1st Edition

By Derek Gladwin


214 pages | 16 B/W Illus.

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Ecological Exile explores how contemporary literature, film, and media culture confront ecological crises through perspectives of spatial justice – a facet of social justice that looks at unjust circumstances as a phenomenon of space. Growing instances of flooding, population displacement, and pollution suggest an urgent need to re-examine the ways social and geographical spaces are perceived and valued in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Maintaining that ecological crises are largely socially produced, Derek Gladwin considers how British and Irish literary and visual texts by Ian McEwan, Sarah Gavron, Eavan Boland, John McGrath, and China Miéville, among others, respond to and confront various spatial injustices resulting from fossil fuel production and the effects of climate change.

This ambitious book offers a new spatial perspective in the environmental humanities by focusing on what the philosopher Glenn Albrecht has termed 'solastalgia' – a feeling of homesickness caused by environmental damage. The result of solastalgia is that people feel paradoxically ecologically exiled in the places they continue to live because of destructive environmental changes. Gladwin skilfully traces spatially produced instances of ecological injustice that literally and imaginatively abolish people’s sense of place (or place-home). By looking at two of the most pressing social and environmental concerns – oil and climate – Ecological Exile shows how literary and visual texts have documented spatially unjust effects of solastalgia.

This interdisciplinary book will appeal to students, scholars, and professionals studying literary, film, and media texts that draw on environment and sustainability, cultural geography, energy cultures, climate change, and social justice.


"Derek Gladwin’s Ecological Exile is a smart intervention that emerges brightly from the ‘energy humanities’, a fast-rising area of study which is focusing on the power of contemporary literature, film, and media culture to reveal how human societies produce corrosive infrastructures that, currently, tend to deny the contribution of carbon-based energy systems to social, spatial, and ecological injustices. Engagingly, the book illustrates why the arts and humanities are crucial to scientific and technical debates surrounding fossil fuel production and to stimulating imagination of human behaviors and activities that might be transformed to ensure a thriving, just and survivable future."Joni Adamson, Professor of Environmental Humanities, Department of English, & Director, Environmental Humanities Initiative, Arizona State University

"In Ecological Exile, Derek Gladwin uses a dynamic, transdisciplinary approach in bringing together the environmental humanities, spatial justice, and cultural studies more broadly. Gladwin shows how modern literary and visual texts respond to ecological crises, altering the ways we imagine ourselves and our environment, and helping us map the shifting terrain of our world system. The result is a significant contribution to contemporary cultural theory and environmental criticism."Robert T. Tally Jr., Professor of English at Texas State University, USA, author of Spatiality

Table of Contents



Introduction: Decoding Spaces of Ecological Injustice

I Space

1 Spatial In/Justice and Place

2 Solastalgia and the Environmental Humanities 

II Oil

3 Petrospaces

4 Speed of Petrodrama

5 Sullom Voe

6 Pipelines of Injustice

III Climate

7 Climate Injustice

8 Cli-Fi

9 Irony of Catastrophe


About the Author


Derek Gladwin

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Learn more about Derek Gladwin >>

Derek Gladwin is a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of British Columbia, Canada. He was an Environmental Humanities Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, UK, and at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. His authored and co-edited books include Contentious Terrains (2016), Unfolding Irish Landscapes (2016), and Eco-Joyce (2014). Please visit

About the Series

Routledge Environmental Humanities

From microplastics in the sea to hyper-trends such as global climate change, mega-extinction, and widening social disparities and displacement, we live on a planet undergoing tremendous flux and uncertainty. At the center of this transformation is human culture, both contributing to the state of the world and responding to planetary change. The Routledge Environmental Humanities Series seeks to engage with contemporary environmental challenges through the various lenses of the humanities and to explore foundational issues in environmental justice, multicultural environmentalism, ecofeminism, environmental psychology, environmental materialities and textualities, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, environmental communication and information management, multispecies relationships, and related topics. The series is premised on the notion that the arts, humanities, and social sciences, integrated with the natural sciences, are essential to comprehensive environmental studies.

The environmental humanities are a multidimensional discipline encompassing such fields as anthropology, history, literary and media studies, philosophy, psychology, religion, sociology, and women’s and gender studies; however, the Routledge Environmental Humanities is particularly eager to receive book proposals that explicitly cross traditional disciplinary boundaries, bringing the full force of multiple perspectives to illuminate vexing and profound environmental topics. We favor manuscripts aimed at an international readership and written in a lively and accessible style. Our readers include scholars and students from across the span of environmental studies disciplines and thoughtful citizens and policy makers interested in the human dimensions of environmental change.

Please contact the Editor, Rebecca Brennan ([email protected]), to submit proposals.

Praise for A Cultural History of Climate Change (2016):

A Cultural History of Climate Change shows that the humanities are not simply a late-arriving appendage to Earth System science, to help in the work of translation. These essays offer distinctive insights into how and why humans reason and imagine their ‘weather-worlds’ (Ingold, 2010). We learn about the interpenetration of climate and culture and are prompted to think creatively about different ways in which the idea of climate change can be conceptualised and acted upon beyond merely ‘saving the planet’.

Professor Mike Hulme, King's College London, in Green Letters

Series Editors:

Professor Scott Slovic, University of Idaho, USA

Professor Joni Adamson, Arizona State University, USA

Professor YUKI Masami, Kanazawa University, Japan

Previous editors:

Professor Iain McCalman, University of Sydney Research Fellow in History; Director, Sydney University Environment Institute.

Professor Libby Robin, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University, Canberra; Guest Professor of Environmental History, Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm Sweden.

Dr Paul Warde, Reader in Environmental History, University of Cambridge, UK

Editorial Board

Christina Alt, St Andrews University, UK, Alison Bashford, University of New South Wales, Australia, Peter Coates, University of Bristol, UK, Thom van Dooren, University of New South Wales, Australia, Georgina Endfield, Liverpool UK, Jodi Frawley, University of Western Australia, Andrea Gaynor, The University of Western Australia, Australia, Christina Gerhardt, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, USA,□Tom Lynch, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, USA, Jennifer Newell, Australian Museum, Sydney, Australia , Simon Pooley, Imperial College London, UK, Sandra Swart, Stellenbosch University, South Africa, Ann Waltner, University of Minnesota, US, Jessica Weir, University of Western Sydney, Australia

International Advisory Board

William Beinart,University of Oxford, UK, Jane Carruthers, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa, Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago, USA, Paul Holm, Trinity College, Dublin, Republic of Ireland, Shen Hou, Renmin University of China, Beijing, Rob Nixon, Princeton University, USA, Pauline Phemister, Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, UK, Sverker Sörlin, KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, Helmuth Trischler, Deutsches Museum, Munich and Co-Director, Rachel Carson Centre, LMU Munich University, Germany, Mary Evelyn Tucker, Yale University, USA, Kirsten Wehner, University of London, UK

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Sustainable Development
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Environmental Policy
SCIENCE / Environmental Science