Earth seems to have entered a new geologic era–the Anthropocene–in which humankind has become the primary driver of global environmental change for the first time in history. Though we can’t yet be certain, humankind may also be in the early stages of a new Copernican revolution in environmental ethics to address the potentially dire consequences of this. To that end, literature and all other expressive arts can be a powerful resource for reinvisioning humanity’s place on earth. Five specific major resources of this kind will be identified and discussed, with examples drawn from a wide range of recent literary works from around the world. Professor Buell will also take note along the way of several characteristic hazards that threaten to–but need not–perplex or neutralize environmental imagination’s potential as an ethical-aesthetic resource.
About Lawrence Buell
Lawrence Buell is Powell M. Cabot Research Professor of American Literature at Harvard. His books include The Environmental Imagination (1995), Writing for an Endangered World (2001), and The Future of Environmental Criticism (2005). He has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in American Literature, American Studies, Environmental Studies, and World Anglophone Literature at Harvard and elsewhere since 1990, lecturing on these subjects throughout North America, Europe, East Asia, and Australia. From 1966-1990 he was Professor of English at Oberlin College. He has held fellowships from the Mellon and Guggenheim foundations and from the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 2007 he received the Modern Language Association’s Jay Hubbell Award for lifetime contributions to American Literature scholarship. In 2008 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
- UW Graduate School
- UW Alumni Association
- Department of Germanics
- Department of English
- Simpson Center for the Humanities
- Department of French and Italian Studies