Title, Author & Summary


Ideas of the Decade

June 3, 2014

Human Rights

Sophia A. McClennen

Regardless of period or region of scholarly focus, one would be hard pressed to find a field of comparative literary research that has not been touched by “the human rights turn.” If the cultural turn signaled the critical response to post 60s politics, and the 90s were marked by the postcolonial turn, then perhaps the human rights turn best characterizes the period following the attacks of 9/11/2001.

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March 9, 2014

Comparative Literature and the Environmental Humanities

Ursula K. Heise

Environmental literary studies have become increasingly international and comparatist over the last decade. But telling the story of ecocriticism as the victory of comparatism and transnational collaboration over anglo parochialism can take on overtones of disciplinary turf war and triumphalism as easily as of deepened knowledge. There are more interesting stories to tell about the encounter of comparative literature with ecocriticism – stories that challenge literary studies in their usual form: most importantly, the challenge of nonfiction, the challenge of the environmental humanities as a transdisciplinary matrix, and the challenge of the Anthropocene in its tension with posthumanism.

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Ideas of the Decade

March 3, 2014

Climate Change

Jennifer Wenzel

An "Anthropocene literature" would pose challenges to periodization, not merely for the term's implicit dual designation of 1) what some argue is a new geological epoch that eclipsed the Holocene in the late eighteenth century, and 2) recent discussion across the disciplines, catalyzed by Eugene Stoermer's and Paul Crutzen's 2000 coinage of Anthropocene, to mark how human activity has transformed the geophysical processes of the planet.

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