The Goose Call for Position Papers—Environmental Humanities in a Post-Truth World

Via Michelle Bastian on EEHN

The Goose: A Journal of Arts, Environment, and Culture in Canada
Call for Position Papers

“The Environmental Humanities in a Post-Truth World”

Submission deadline May 31st, 2017

Submit papers to http://scholars.wlu.ca/thegoose/

It would seem that we live, at least partially, in the age of “alternative facts.” While the earth’s climate spirals out of control, the political climate vacillates between fact and fabrication. Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year for 2016, “post-truth,” captures the frightening belligerence towards reality that has become such a dominating force in much public discourse—a phenomenon that threatens the sustainability of democracies as well as ecosystems. Like climate systems, sociopolitical effects transport themselves across the globe in complex ways.

The absurd and frightening momentum of post-truth politics can be said to pose two forms of energy threat. The systematic denial of facts complicates the fraught transition away from oil, prolonging the damaging extraction and burning of fossil fuel energy—a crisis about which the newly emerging field of the energy humanities invites us to think critically. At the same time, the rejection of factuality can also drain the scholarly, artistic, social, and imaginative energies that are so necessary for our collective ecologically oriented labours.

Let us not grow fatigued.

One of the key roles of artists, scholars, and activists, each in their own ways, is to uncover truth—to hold reality up to the light so that it cannot be denied. The post-truth political climate clarifies the urgency of this work. We must challenge denialism, and we must do so publicly. Reaching wider audiences and engaging in truly public reality-based discourse should be a top priority for those whose concerns include ecological sustainability.

The responsibility to shed light on truth also comes with a twin responsibility to keep open the possibilities of hope. As Rebecca Solnit writes in Hope in the Dark, “wars will break out, the planet will heat up, species will die out, but how many, how hot, and what survives depends on whether we act. The future is dark, with a darkness as much of the womb as the grave” (42). Facing the dark ecological realities of climate change is no more possible if we are hopeless than if we are in denial.

How, then, can the environmental humanities respond with hope to a post-truth world? What role can poetry, art, ecocriticism, cultural studies, critical theory, and public intellectualism play in the era of Trump, Brexit, and climate denialism? With the aim of reimagining the present as womb rather than grave, we invite submissions of 1,000 word position papers for our August 2017 issue. Position papers can take the form of a brief essay, a creative work, a case study, or a hybrid or multimedia form.

Possible themes, questions, perspectives, and intersections include, but are by no means limited to the following:

  • The role of the environmental humanities in/as politics, resistance, provocations, protest, and refusal
  • The impossibility/possibility of ecological/sustainable futures
  • Artistic, literary, poetic, and/or musical environmental interventions
  • Postsecondary education and politics
  • Love and hate in post-truth worlds
  • Ecological science, communication, and persuasion
  • Technology, truth, and denialism
  • Aesthetics and environmental understanding
  • The risks and responsibilities of public intellectualism

For more thoughts on the Environmental Humanities in a Post-Truth World from The Goose, please see our editorial in Issue 15.2: http://scholars.wlu.ca/thegoose/vol15/iss2/28/

Author: Owain Jones

I work at Bath Spa University as a Professor of Environmental Humanities. I also write songs and help stage a range of live music with others. I am Chair and Programmer for Priston Festival.

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