Posted on: July 17, 2020
Trauma and the Discourse of Climate Change
Literature, Psychoanalysis and Denial
By Lee Zimmerman
I'm hoping that within Environmental Humanities, and perhaps beyond, Trauma and the Discourse of Climate Change Literature, Psychoanalysis and Denial will contribute to a more intensified sense of the urgency of the climate "crisis"-- and to a sense that our business as usual amount to an act of atrocity the present is in the process of committing on itself and the future.
1. Trauma and the Discourse of Climate Change Literature, Psychoanalysis and Denial helps alert readers to what it calls "normalized denial"-- a "denial" more pervasive than that of the more overt "denialists" (or "skeptics")
2. This book helps readers to more fully scrutinize how "normalized denial" is produced and perpetuated by the many ways we represent "climate change" and "global warming"-- in politics, environmentalism, literature, and beyond -- and so to help galvanize less normalizing ways of talking and writing about them.
3. Helps readers realize that incrementalism is a form of denial--that the time left to stop the planetary house from burning down is rapidly dwindling.
I did learn that it's hard to discuss the desperate urgency of the climate crisis without having that urgency itself enter into the conversation--a violation of most conversational norms. So trying to account for my book confronted me with the very dilemma that the book is trying to address.
I had been interested in trauma theory for a while, and as I began to learn more about climate change and began to understand how desperate the situation was, I had the idea trauma might be an illuminating way to think about why that desperation hasn't seemed to register.