1st Edition

Exploring Interstitiality with Mangroves Semiotic Materialism and the Environmental Humanities

By Kate Judith Copyright 2023
    226 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Mangroves thrive in intertidal zones, where they gather organisms and objects from land, river, and ocean. They develop into complex ecologies in these dynamic in-between spaces. Mobilising resources drawn from semiotic materialism and the environmental humanities, this book seeks a form of social theory from the mangroves; that is to think interstitiality from the perspective of mangroves themselves, exploring the crafty and tenacious world-making they are engaged in.

    Three sections weave together theory, science and close observation, responding to calls within the environmental humanities for detailed attention to interactions in marginal spaces and those of interpretative tension. It examines interstitiality by considering theories of difference, relationality, and reflexivity in the context of mangrove socioecological materialities, drawing on influential writers such as Michel Serres, Jacques Derrida, Deborah Bird Rose, Donna Haraway, Brian Massumi and Maurice Merleau-Ponty as theoretical touchstones.

    Exploring Interstitiality with Mangroves is a lyrically crafted philosophical analysis that will appeal to scholars, researchers and students interested in the developing frontiers of more-than-human post-anthropocentric writing, theory and methodologies. It will be of interest to readers in ecocriticism, environmental humanities, cultural geography, place studies and nature writing.

    The Open Access version of the Introduction, available at http://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9781003286493, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license. The funder for this chapter is the Australian Academy of the Humanities via the Australian Academy of the Humanities Publication Subsidy Scheme


    Part 1: Strange reflexivities: folding in communicative tidal materialities

    Chapter 1: The proposals of tides and the responses of oysters

    Chapter 2: Folding and filter-feeding semiotics

    Chapter 3: Ecological meaningfulness and the negotiation of criteria

    Part 2: Monstrous relations: exploring a hermeneutic account of relationality

    Chapter 4: Lines of desire and knots of obligation

    Chapter 5: Transgression and attunement

    Chapter 6: It matters what stories we tell to tell other stories

    Part 3: Impossible differences: a muddy journey across more-than-human walls and hospitalities

    Chapter 7: Why build a wall?

    Chapter 8: Walls and human exceptionalism

    Chapter 9: Mangrove walls, mangrove hosts: more-than-human hospitalities

    Chapter 10: Conclusion



    Kate Judith is an environmental humanities scholar interested in non-anthropocentric practices of meaning, making, relating, and deciding. She is a senior lecturer at the University of Southern Queensland and has a PhD in environmental humanities from the University of New South Wales, Australia.

    “A gifted environmental writer as well as eco-theorist, Judith complements and tests her theoretical explorations with vivid, scientifically informed passages describing such things as the filter-feeding of oysters.  [The] book opens up many promising lines of inquiry for mangrove studies in the environmental humanities, and I expect Earth-oriented critics, environmental philosophers and historians, anthropologists, and others to take up questions Judith has raised here as human cultures become more and more entangled with mangrove forests in an overheating, drowning world.”

    Bart Welling, University of North Florida, USA; from a review in Ecozon@: European Journal of Literature, Culture and Environment, Vol 14:2

    "It’s hard to a imagine a more compelling entry-point to the environmental humanities than this. A view through the muddy lens of mangroves, Exploring Interstitiality with Mangroves is a bold and unique response to questions about how best to live amidst the tangle of human and nonhuman worlds."

    Nigel Clark,

    Lancaster University, UK

    "Working as a conceptual ‘filter feeder’, navigating through the dense underbelly of Sydney’s mangroves, Kate Judith accomplishes a rare feat – brilliantly repositioning important conceptual discussions within complex ecologies to explore them from more-than-human perspectives. This move generates valuable new insights for the environmental humanities."

    Matthew Kearnes,

    Professor, Environment & Society Group, University of New South Wales, Australia

    "An elegant and compelling examination of this world between sea and land. Judith puts leading theorists from philosophy and environmental humanities in the mud of the mangroves; some become allies, others show their limits in this liminal domain. This work announces a unique and powerful voice in environmental thought."

    Simon Lumsden,

    Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of New South Wales, Australia

    "Kate Judith’s book is a nuanced and poetic read into the intertidal fluid and solid spaces of mangroves and their (and our) thicketed ecocultural associations. These pages respectfully take the reader by the senses, heart, and mind into the complex in-between, always dynamic, always inclusive, always inextricably relational."

    Tema Milstein

    , Environment & Society Group, University of New South Wales, Australia