Title, Author & Summary


Ideas of the Decade

May 27, 2014


Michael Rubenstein

Amitav Ghosh coined the term “petrofiction” as the title of his review of Abdelraman Munif’s quintet of novels Cities of Salt in the March 1992 issue of The New Republic. There Ghosh pointed out just how few novels about the “Oil Encounter” between the United States and the Middle East had up until then ever been written. Munif’s work was, in Ghosh’s view, the exception proving the rule that “the history of oil is a matter of embarrassment verging on the unspeakable, the pornographic.” But if in 1992 Ghosh meant by petrofiction simply a fiction directly concerned with the oil industry, then, in a 2012 issue of the American Book Review with a titular focus on “petrofiction,” Imre Szeman argued that the term ought to be construed far more capaciously – and controversially – as a grand new periodizing gesture.

Read More


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.

Read More


March 3, 2014

Toward an Ecocritical Approach to Translation: A Conceptual Framework

Daniela Kato & Bruce Allen

Translation's recent growth stems in part from many critics’ efforts to widen the scope of ecocritical research beyond its hitherto disproportionate focus on Anglophone literatures. It also is related to an increased commitment to an environmental world literature canon comprising works “currently being translated and circulated through a variety of languages and cultures as texts whose principal – if not always exclusive – focus is on the ecological crises of the last half-century,” as Ursula Heise has noted. The lack of critical attention paid to translation in ecocriticism comes somewhat as a surprise at this juncture, given that translation is the transnational practice par excellence, embodying intercultural exchange that is vital to the interpenetration of the local and the global.

Read More
Load More Entries