The ecocidal imagination: dystopian fiction in an era of environmental crisis

Johnson, Hollie (2018) The ecocidal imagination: dystopian fiction in an era of environmental crisis. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

Specifically addressing the environmental turn of recent dystopian fiction, this thesis investigates the ways in which environmental crisis and climate change have been represented through speculative dystopian futures. This analysis draws on research from both utopian/dystopian studies and ecocritical theory in order to address the lack of dialogue between these two areas, exploring how demands for new approaches to environment and ecology pose challenges to the existing thematic, ideological, and formal conventions of the dystopian genre. Through an analysis of a range of recent dystopian texts, this project explores the ways in which the dystopian novel engages in an ecocritical discourse with contemporaneous environmental policies and cultural conceptions of climate change, highlighting the dialogic relationships between humanity and non-human nature as presented within contexts of extinction, climate change, and environmental exploitation. In particular, this analysis looks at how these novels employ dystopian genre conventions and to what effect, as well as the extent of self-reflexivity within these texts and how this contributes towards an ethical or ideological engagement with contemporary environmental debates.

This thesis therefore aims to carry out an ecocritical re-evaluation of recent trends within the dystopian genre, evaluating this shift away from anthropocentric visions of human society and proposing an emerging body of ‘ecological dystopian’ or ‘ecodystopian’ novels which provide a more encompassing vision of humanity as an embedded part of a global ecology. These texts take the disintegration of ecological stability and human destruction of the environment (‘ecocide’) as the site of dystopia, looking at how environmental concerns function not as the background for dystopian society, but as part of the narrative. Ultimately, by bringing an ecocritical perspective to the dystopian novel, this thesis argues that the genre of dystopia offers a potentially productive forum for creating an ecocritical dialogue around the issues of environmental exploitation and responsibility.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Head, Dominic
Waddell, Nathan
Keywords: Ecodystopia, Dystopia, Ecocriticism, Dystopian Fiction, Climate Change, Posthumanism
Subjects: P Language and literature > PR English literature
P Language and literature > PS American literature
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of English
Item ID: 55420
Depositing User: Johnson, Hollie
Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2019 09:35
Last Modified: 06 May 2020 10:04
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/55420

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