Environmental Justice in Contemporary US Narratives (Hardback) book cover

Environmental Justice in Contemporary US Narratives

By Yanoula Athanassakis

© 2017 – Routledge

168 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2017-02-14
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Description

Environmental Justice in Contemporary US Narratives examines post-1929 US artistic interrogations of environmental disruption. Tracing themes of pollution, marine life, and agricultural production in the work of a number of historically significant writers including John Steinbeck, Ruth Ozeki, and Cherríe Moraga, this book outlines a series of incisive dialogues on transnational flows of capital and environmental justice. Texts ranging from The Grapes of Wrath (1939) to Body Toxic (2001) represent the body as vulnerable to a host of environmental risks. They identify "natural disasters" not just as environmental hazards and catastrophes, but also as events intertwined with socioeconomic issues.

With careful textual analysis, Athanassakis shows how twentieth- and twenty-first-century US writers have sought to rethink traditional understandings of how the human being relates to ecological phenomena. Their work, and this study, offer new modes of creative engagement with environmental degradation – engagement that is proactive, ambivalent, and even playful.

This book contributes to vital discussions about the importance of literature for social justice movements, food studies, ecocriticism, and the environmental humanities. The core argument of the book is that artistically imaginative narratives of environmental disturbance can help humans contend with ostensibly uncontrollable, drastic planetary changes.

Reviews

Athanassakis expands our understanding of environmental justice through her brilliant engagements with the power of imaginative witnessing, social movements, and biological citizenship. Her book creates essential bridgework between issues as wide-ranging as immigration, industrial agriculture, not-so-natural disasters, and cellular mutation. This ambitious, persuasive work will have a transformative impact across a range of fields, including the environmental humanities, transnational American studies, gender and ethnic studies, immigrant studies, food studies, trauma studies, biopolitics, and animal studies.

Rob Nixon, author of Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor

Environmental Justice in Contemporary US Narratives dives into the lively, sometimes contentious debates surrounding ecocriticism, American studies, and media studies to make sense of their entangled intellectual roots. From John Steinbeck to Karen Tei Yamashita, Athanassakis brilliantly reads environmental justice fictions about food production, laboring bodies, citizenship and globalization, for what they tell us about ecological destruction inherent in rampant – markedly American – global capitalism. The result is a richly satisfying, and much needed, recalibration of our understanding of the major contributions of transnational American Studies to the fast rising field of the environmental humanities."

Joni Adamson, Professor, Environmental Humanities, and Director of the Environmental Humanities Initiative, Arizona State University, USA

Table of Contents

1. Bodies Interrupted

2. Laboring Bodies

3. Embodied Consumption

4. Toxic and Illegible Bodies

5. Bodies on the Border

6. Environmental Interplay

About the Author

Yanoula Athanassakis received her PhD in English (American Literature), with a global studies emphasis, from the University of California at Santa Barbara, USA. She is Co-Founder of the Environmental Humanities Series at New York University (NYU) and Assistant Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, NYU, USA.

About the Series

Routledge Environmental Humanities

The Routledge Environmental Humanities series is an original and inspiring venture recognising that today’s world agricultural and water crises, ocean pollution and resource depletion, global warming from greenhouse gases, urban sprawl, overpopulation, food insecurity and environmental justice are all crises of culture.

The reality of understanding and finding adaptive solutions to our present and future environmental challenges has shifted the epicenter of environmental studies away from an exclusively scientific and technological framework to one that depends on the human-focused disciplines and ideas of the humanities and allied social sciences.

We thus welcome book proposals from all humanities and social sciences disciplines for an inclusive and interdisciplinary series. We favour manuscripts aimed at an international readership and written in a lively and accessible style. The readership comprises scholars and students from the humanities and social sciences and thoughtful readers concerned about the human dimensions of environmental change.

Please contact the Editor, Rebecca Brennan (Rebecca.Brennan@tandf.co.uk) 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 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.

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, Paul Warde, University of Cambridge, UK, 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, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA, Pauline Phemister, Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, UK, Deborah Bird Rose, University of New South Wales, Australia, 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:
BUS072000
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Sustainable Development
POL044000
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Environmental Policy