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CFP: Edited Collection on Affective Ecocriticism

2015 October 2
by Steve Rust

Call for proposals: Affective Ecocriticism

Although ecocritics have long tried to articulate complex emotional relationships to various environments, ecocritical scholarship has much to gain from the rich body of work on affect and emotion circulating within social and cultural theory, geography, psychology, philosophy, queer theory, feminist theory, and neuroscience, among other disciplines. The “affective turn” and concurrent trend toward new materialisms signal an opportune moment to conjoin affect theory and ecocriticism more deliberately. Concepts like Yi-Fu Tuan’s “topophilia,” Lawrence Buell’s “ecoglobalist affects,” and Ursula Heise’s “eco-cosmopolitanism” have helped foreground the affective dimensions of ecological thinking and feeling at various scales. Recent books—including Tonya K. Davidson, Ondine Park, and Rob Shields’ Ecologies of Affect (2011); Karen Thornber’s Ecoambiguity (2012); Adrian Ivakhiv’s Ecologies of the Moving Image (2013); Alexa Weik von Mossner’s Moving Environments (2014); and Heather Houser’s Ecosickness in Contemporary Fiction (2014)—have undertaken more sustained engagements with affect.


This surge of interest in affect marks a growing need for more scholarship at the intersection of affect and ecocriticism. Affect is ecological “by nature,” since it operates at the confluence of texts, environments, and bodies—including nonhuman and inanimate bodies. Affect theory disrupts discrete notions of embodied selfhood as well as static notions of environment and encourages us to trace the trajectories of what Stacy Alaimo has called trans-corporeal encounters that are intricate and dynamic. Likewise, material ecocriticism foregrounds the instability and processive nature of all environments and objects, but (unlike much affect theory) it takes environments seriously, as agents in generating and shaping affect.


This collection imagines a more affective—and perhaps, also, more effective—ecocriticism. We invite essays that work with affect and/or emotion theory in a range of texts (including literature, film, television, and visual art, as well as digital or physical environments) and in any of affect theory’s strands, including the history of emotions; the cultural study of emotions; cognitive and/or neuroscientific understandings of affect; the transmission of affect; and affect theory in a cultural studies vein, often understood (following Gilles Deleuze, Brian Massumi and others) as non-signifying, pre-cognitive bodily feeling. We solicit essays from established or emerging scholars that take up existing threads or investigate new ways that affect theory and ecocriticism connect. Essays might consider, for instance:

how affective neologisms like Sianne Ngai’s—including “non-cathartic” affects like “stuplimity,” “irritation,” and others—might enrich ecocritical scholarship
how built structures and natural landscapes might have affective capacities
how ecocritical attention to the Anthropocene might enrich affect theory, perhaps by identifying emerging affects and/or new ways that affect is transmitted by/within texts that foreground deep time and/or future-oriented narratives
how affect theory might enhance ecocritical understandings of environmental loss and of the links between emotional investment and political action
how indigenous scholarship on grief, trauma and other personal or intergenerational affects might enrich and reshape affect theory and/or ecocritical theory
how affect theory’s roots in feminist and queer theory might connect to similar roots in the environmental humanities
how theories like Tuan’s topophilia, E.O. Wilson’s biophilia, and Simon Estok’s ecophobia might inform thinking about literatures and cultures of the Anthropocene
how emotions like anger, fear, grief, nostalgia, and solastalgia might respond to accelerated environmental change and increased numbers of environmental refugees
how affect theory might enhance ecocritical work on classic nature tropes of the sublime, the pastoral, the frontier, and the wilderness, as well as emergent tropes like the postmodern or toxic sublime and the post-pastoral
how affect theory might contribute further to scholarship in ecocinema, queer ecology, and the environmental humanities more broadly

Palgrave Macmillan has expressed interest in publishing this collection as part of its new series: “Studies in Affect Theory and Literary Criticism.”


Please email a 500-word abstract and brief biography to Jennifer Ladino by January 1, 2016.

New Essay on Wall-E by Michelle Yates

2015 September 29
by Steve Rust

My copy of the summer 2015 issues of ISLE arrived yesterday and I was thrilled to see a terrific contribution to ecomedia studies by Michelle Yates. The essay is titled: “Labor as “Nature,” Nature as Labor: “Stay the Course” of Capitalism in WALL-E‘s Edenic Recovery Narrative”.

You can access the full text of Michelle’s article through the ISLE website. Here’s an excerpt:

“What if humanity left and some little robot got left on and kept doing the same thing forever?” Director Andrew Stanton and his Pixar colleagues chewed on this question over lunch one day in 1994. Though left unanswered for over a decade, the question eventually resurfaced to inspire the 2008 animated blockbuster WALL-E, Pixar’s ninth financial success in a row, which led its opening weekend with an estimated $62.5 million in sales. Since its 2008 release, when it won Best Animated Feature at The Academy Awards, Best Film of the Year from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and Movie of the Year from the American Film Institute, critics have been raving about WALL-E, with Joe Morgenstern at The Wall Street Journal going so far as to call the film a masterpiece on par with classics like Singin’ in the Rain. In fact, the description of WALL-E as a masterpiece is critical commonplace, and this appears, on the surface at least, to stem from its unlikely success as an animated kid-flick with a feel-good message about Earth’s impending doom. Who else but Pixar could offer its audiences—in the very same year of capital’s most serious economic crisis to date—the fantasy that they could actually face, and maybe even bounce back from, the consequences of their own habituated overconsumption—and this by way of a trash-picking protagonist who is all at once an unwaged worker, a happy-go-lucky heroic figure, and a cuddly automaton?

Now Available: Ecomedia Key Issues

2015 September 24
by Steve Rust

Ecomedia: Key Issues is a comprehensive textbook introducing the burgeoning field of ecomedia studies to ecomedia coverprovide an overview of the interface between environmental issues and the media globally. Linking the world of media production, distribution, and consumption to environmental understandings, the book addresses ecological meanings encoded in media texts, the environmental impacts of media production, and the relationships between media and cultural perceptions of the environment.

Each chapter introduces a distinct type of media, addressing it in a theoretical overview before engaging with specific case studies. In this way, the book provides an accessible introduction to each form of media as well as a sophisticated analysis of relevant cases. The book includes contributions from a combination of new voices and well-established media scholars from across the globe who examine the basic concepts and key issues of ecomedia studies. The concepts of “frames,” “flow”, and “convergence” structure a dynamic collection divided into three parts. The first part addresses traditional visual texts, such as comics, photography, and film. The second part of the book addresses traditional broadcast media, such as radio, and television, and the third part looks at new media, such as advertising, video games, the internet, and digital renderings of scientific data.

In its breadth and scope, Ecomedia: Key Issues presents a unique survey of rich scholarship at the confluence of Media Studies and Environmental Studies. The book is written in an engaging and accessible style, with each chapter including case studies, discussion questions and suggestions for further reading.

Foreword Toby Miller

Introduction: Ecologies of Media Stephen Rust, Salma Monani and Sean Cubitt


Part 1: Frames

1. Overview: Framing Visual Texts for Ecomedia Studies Carter Soles and Kui-Wai Chu

2.Beyond Nature Photography: The Possibilities and Responsibilities of Seeing H. Lewis Ulman

3.Eco-nostalgia in Popular Turkish Cinema Ekin Gündüz Özdemirci and Salma Monani

4.The Aesthetics of Environmental Equity in American Newspaper Strips Veronica Vold


Part 2: Flow

5.Overview: Flow–An Ecocritical Perspective on Broadcast Media Stephen Rust

6.”I Took Off My Pants And Felt Free”: The Subject of Environmentalism in Countercultural Radio Sean Cubitt

7.Hostile or Hospitable: New Zealand Television Maps Degrees of Belonging Sarina Pearson

8.Earth Observation and Signal Territories: U.S. Broadcast Infrastructure, Historical Network Maps, Google Earth, and Fieldwork Lisa Parks


Part 3: Convergence

9. Overview: Bert Versus the Black Phoenix: An Introduction to Convergence and Ecomedia Anthony Lioi

10.Selling With Gaia: Advertising and the Natural World Joseph Clark

11. Where the Wild Games Are: Ecologies in Latin American Video Games Lauren Woolbright and Thaiane Oliveira

12. New Media, Environmental NGOs and Online-Based Collective Actions in China Aimei Yang

13. Earth Imaging: Photograph, Pixel, Program Chris Russill

And another Ecocinema Book from Pat Brereton

2015 September 8

Adding to the growing list of ecocinema studies books, Pat Brereton’s most recent contribution, Environmental Ethics and Film published by Routledge’s series in Environmental Communication and Media  will also be out soon.

Here’s its blurb as advertised on the publisher’s website:

“Environmental ethics presents and defends a systematic and comprehensive account of the moral relation between human beings and their natural environment and assumes that human behaviour toward the natural world can and is governed by moral norms. In contemporary society, film has provided a powerful instrument for the moulding of such ethical attitudes.

Through a close examination of the medium, Environmental Ethics and Film explores how historical ethical values can be re-imagined and re-constituted for more contemporary audiences. Building on an extensive back-catalogue of eco-film analysis, the author focuses on a diverse selection of contemporary films which target audiences’ ethical sensibilities in very different ways. Each chapter focuses on at least three close readings of films and documentaries, examining a wide range of environmental issues as they are illustrated across contemporary Hollywood films.

This book is an invaluable resource for students and scholars of environmental communication, film studies, media and cultural studies, environmental philosophy and ethics.”

The table of contents promises a broad breadth:

1.Environmental Ethics – Literature Review

2. Environmental Ethics and Ecocinema: Core Textual Readings

3. Indigenous Cultures and Ethical Food Consumption: from Hunter Gatherers to Avatars

4. Ecofeminism, Environmental Ethics and Active Engagement in Science Fiction Fantasies

5. Social Responsibility and Anthropomorphising Animals

6. Third World Injustice, Environmental Sustainability and Frugality: A Case Study of Contemporary Hollywood films set in Africa

7. Business Ethics: Sustainability, Frugality and the Environment 8

. End of the World Scenarios and the Precautionary Principle

9. Environmental Ethics: Concluding Remarks


Pat Brereton is Chair of the School of Communications at Dublin City University, Ireland.  His Hollywood Utopia: Ecology in Contemporary American Cinema (2005) has been much cited in the growing field of ecocinema studies.

New Book by Adam O’Brien on New Hollywood and Ecocriticism

2015 September 4
by Steve Rust

Looks like we have another monograph of ecocinema studies to celebrate – congratulations to Adam O’Brien on the upcoming publication of Transactions with the World: Ecocriticism and the Environmental Sensibility of the New Hollywood.

Here’s a blurb and table of contents from the book’s homepage through publisher Berghahn Books. Preorder your copy and fill out the online library recommendation form using the link provided in the previous sentence.

In their bold experimentation and bracing engagement with culture and politics, the “New Hollywood” films of the late 1960s and early 1970s are justly celebrated contributions to American cinematic history. Relatively unexplored, however, has been the profound environmental sensibility that characterized movies such as The Wild Bunch, Chinatown, and Nashville. This brisk and engaging study explores how many hallmarks of New Hollywood filmmaking, such as the increased reliance on location shooting and the rejection of American self-mythologizing, made the era such a vividly “grounded” cinematic moment. Synthesizing a range of narrative, aesthetic, and ecocritical theories, it offers a genuinely fresh perspective on one of the most studied periods in film history.


List of illustrations

Prologue: A Typical Love Scene


Chapter 1. Four Faces of New Hollywood
Chapter 2. Resisting Abstraction
Chapter 3. Rooting In and Lighting Out: New Hollywood and Genre
Chapter 4. Regional Frames
Chapter 5.  Conditions, Technologies and Presence

Conclusion: Coming to Terms with Mr. Meek


Adam O’Brien teaches film studies at the universities of Bristol and Reading. He has published articles on ecocriticism and film in a number of journals, including Film Criticism, Journal of Media Practice, and ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment.


CFP: Environmental Justice and Public Health

2015 August 31
by Steve Rust

Environmental Justice (EJ) research seeks to document and address the disproportionate environmental health and risk burdens associated with multiple dimensions of social inequality. Although its initial focus was on anthropogenic pollution, the scope of EJ research has expanded to encompass other issues, such as resource depletion, energy use, consumption patterns, food systems, climate change, and government policies, which adversely affect the environment and health of particular social groups. Dimensions of social inequality examined have expanded beyond race and socioeconomic status to include ethnicity, immigration status, gender, and age. In a context of intensifying social inequalities, there is a growing need to further strengthen the EJ research framework and continue diversifying its themes.


Dr. Jayajit Chakraborty, Dr. Sara E. Grineski, and Dr. Timothy W. Collins wanted to alert you to an upcoming Special Issue in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, which will provide a forum for conceptual, methodological, and empirical scholarship on EJ. We welcome original research articles, literature reviews, critical evaluations of methodologies, and discussions of future research needs that focus on any aspect of EJ. Paper topics may include, but are not limited to, the following issues: anthropogenic hazards (e.g., air pollution); natural disasters (e.g., flooding); environmental health outcomes (e.g., cancer, respiratory illnesses); environmental amenities (e.g., parks, greenspace); environmental policies; climate change; food and agriculture; mining and resource extraction; water pollution and scarcity; and transportation.


Guest Editors: Dr. Jayajit Chakraborty, Dr. Sara E. Grineski, Dr. Timothy W. Collins


Submission Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers).

All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs).


Keywords – environmental justice – environmental health justice – climate justice – food justice – air pollution – natural hazards – green space – mining – water pollution – spatial analysis


See also:

Call for Applications: Race and Animals Summer Institute 2016

2015 August 28

Race and Animals

Summer Institute

June 6-17, 2016


Deadline December 1, 2015

Lori Gruen, Claire Jean Kim, and Timothy Pachirat invite you to apply for “Race and Animals,” a two-week institute to be held June 6-June 17, 2016, hosted by Wesleyan Animal Studies at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT.

The “Race and Animals” summer institute seeks to foster critical discussions on theoretical, historical, and political understandings of how power works to constitute racialized and animalized subjects.  We encourage applications from:

  1. Those working on current projects addressing the intersection of race studies and animal studies.
  2. Those working on current projects focusing on race who are interested in exploring connections to animal studies.
  3. Those working on current projects focusing on animals who are interested in exploring connections to race studies.

We welcome applications from all fields of study.  Applicants should either have their Ph.D.s or other terminal degrees (e.g., MFAs or JDs) or be advanced graduate students at the ABD stage of their graduate work.

10-12 selected scholars will attend daily lectures and engage in structured daily discussions with the institute organizers and visiting speakers.  They will also have the opportunity to present and receive feedback on their own research.  Required readings will be distributed in advance of the institute.  Participants will be provided with dormitory style housing and will receive $500 each to offset travel expenses.

To apply, please send a single .pdf file containing the following documents to these addresses (; ;  Both the subject line of the email and the attached pdf should read “Race and Animals Application- LAST NAME”

  1. A cover letter (not to exceed 750 words) discussing your interest in race studies and animal studies. You should highlight past and current projects of relevance (publications, syllabi, etc.) and offer a concrete explanation of what your unique contribution to the institute would be.
  2. A current curriculum vitae.
  3. A short writing sample or other work product that engages with race studies, animal studies, or both.
  4. The names, institutional affiliations, and email addresses of at least two references.

The deadline for applications is December 1, 2015.

About the Organizers:

Lori Gruen is the William Griffin Professor of Philosophy, Chair of Philosophy, and Professor of Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Environmental Studies at Wesleyan University.  She also coordinates Wesleyan Animal Studies.  She is the author of 3 books, including most recently Entangled Empathy (Lantern, 2015); the editor of 5 books, including The Ethics of Captivity (Oxford, 2014) and Ecofeminism:  Feminist Intersections with Other Animals and the Earth with Carol J. Adams (Bloomsbury, 2014).  With Kari Weil, she co-edited “Animal Others” a special issue of Hypatia (2012).

Claire Jean Kim is Professor of Political Science and Asian American Studies at University of California, Irvine, where she teaches classes on comparative race studies, social movements, and human-animal studies.  She is the author of Dangerous Crossings: Race, Species, and Nature in a Multicultural Age (Cambridge, 2015), Bitter Fruit: The Politics of Black-Korean Conflict in New York City (Yale, 2000), and numerous essays on race and animals.  In 2013, she co-guest edited a special issue of American Quarterly entitled, Species/Race/Sex.

Timothy Pachirat teaches in the Department of Political Science at UMass Amherst.  His book, Every Twelve Seconds: Industrialized Slaughter and the Politics of Sight (Yale University Press, 2011), is a widely acclaimed political ethnography of the massive, repetitive killing of animals carried out by a largely immigrant workforce.

About the Visiting Speakers:

Colin Dayan is Professor of English, Robert Penn Warren Professor in the Humanities, and Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University. She is the author most recently of With Dogs at the Edge of Life (forthcoming from Columbia University Press in 2015).  She has also authored The Law is a White Dog: How Legal Rituals Make and Unmake Persons (Princeton UP, 2011), a Choice Outstanding Academic book; The Story of Cruel and Unusual (MIT/Boston Review Press, 2007); Haiti, History, and the Gods (University of California Press, 1995, 1998; Fables of Mind: An Inquiry into Poe’s Fiction (Oxford University Press, 1987); A Rainbow for the Christian West (University of Massachusetts Press, 1977).

Maria Elena Garcia is director of the Comparative History of Ideas and associate professor in the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington. She received her PhD in Anthropology at Brown University and has been a Mellon Fellow at Wesleyan University and Tufts University. Her first book, Making Indigenous Citizens: Identities, Development, and Multicultural Activism in Peru (Stanford, 2005) examines Indigenous and intercultural politics in Peru. Her work on Indigeneity and interspecies politics in the Andes has appeared in multiple edited volumes and journals such as Anthropology Now, Anthropological Quarterly, International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, Latin American Perspectives, and Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies. Her second book project, Dancing Guinea Pigs and Other Tales of Race in Peru, examines the intersections of race, species, and capital in contemporary Peru.

Jared Sexton  is Associate Professor of African American Studies at the University of California, Irvine, where he is also affiliated with the Department of Film and Media Studies. He has published articles in journals such as African American ReviewAmerican QuarterlyArt JournalCultural CritiqueRadical History Review, and Social Text, and essays in various anthologies on contemporary politics and popular culture. He is the author of Amalgamation Schemes: Antiblackness and the Critique of Multiracialism and a co-editor of a special issue of Critical Sociology on “Race and the Variations of Discipline,” and has contributed occasional pieces to magazines like ArtforumColorLinesJadaliyya, and openDemocracy.

About Wesleyan Animal Studies:

From 2010-2015, Wesleyan Animal Studies, in partnership with The Animals and Society Institute held an annual summer fellowship program for scholars pursuing research in Human-Animal Studies. The fellowship program was started by the Animals and Society Institute (ASI) in 2007 and directed by Margo DeMello; it was hosted by Lori Gruen and Kari Weil since coming to Wesleyan; and over the years funded over 60 fellows. The ASI-WAS Human Animal Studies Fellowship Program will celebrate its 10th year by hosting a conference at Wesleyan in October 2016.

WAS has sponsored a number of speakers and events, including two conferences, and offers a cluster of courses.

Global Climate Change Week: Connecting online and off

2015 August 24
by smonani

Global Climate Change Week is a new initiative designed to encourage academics in all disciplines and countries to engage with their students and communities on climate change. It will run from October 19-25 this year in the lead-up to the UN Conference of the Parties meeting in Paris in December. This will be the first time that academics from across academia and around the world have united to create such an event.

 For more details see 162 academics from 35 countries, 6 continents, and a very wide range of disciplines have already registered (see The organisers urge more academics to so (at And please help to spread the word about Global Climate Change Week.

 Please contact Keith Horton (at if you have any questions or suggestions.