The Deconstructive Turn in Environmental Criticism

The Deconstructive Turn in Environmental Criticism A "deconstructive turn" characterizes recent criticism on the environmental crisis. Within the past few years, there has been a spate of texts that address environmental issues with recognizably "deconstructive" arguments, or with frequent, though sometimes critical, references to the thinking of Derrida, and, in one striking recent study, to Paul de Man.1 This paper sums up the salient force of this new work, justifying the term "deconstructive turn" and highlighting the intellectual break being made from most given critical work on environmental issues. The thinkers at issue here, from various disciplines, are Nigel Clark, Tom Cohen, Claire Colebrook, J. Hillis Miller, Timothy Morton, and Bronislaw Szerszynski, along with some of my own work in ecocriticism. If any one thing gives impetus to this rush of texts, it is an engagement with the intellectual challenge of climate change, something still often absent from mainstream ecocriticism. It is as if this topic were inherently deconstructive of many previously reliable assumptions in the humanities. Ironically, some of the features that earlier ecocritics associated loosely with "deconstructionism," "post-modernism," or "post-structuralism," etc. (usually not bothering to discriminate between them) sound like several now associated with climate change--lack of fully determinable reference; uncertainty as http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png symploke University of Nebraska Press

The Deconstructive Turn in Environmental Criticism

symploke, Volume 21 (1) – Dec 22, 2013

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 symploke.
ISSN
1534-0627
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

A "deconstructive turn" characterizes recent criticism on the environmental crisis. Within the past few years, there has been a spate of texts that address environmental issues with recognizably "deconstructive" arguments, or with frequent, though sometimes critical, references to the thinking of Derrida, and, in one striking recent study, to Paul de Man.1 This paper sums up the salient force of this new work, justifying the term "deconstructive turn" and highlighting the intellectual break being made from most given critical work on environmental issues. The thinkers at issue here, from various disciplines, are Nigel Clark, Tom Cohen, Claire Colebrook, J. Hillis Miller, Timothy Morton, and Bronislaw Szerszynski, along with some of my own work in ecocriticism. If any one thing gives impetus to this rush of texts, it is an engagement with the intellectual challenge of climate change, something still often absent from mainstream ecocriticism. It is as if this topic were inherently deconstructive of many previously reliable assumptions in the humanities. Ironically, some of the features that earlier ecocritics associated loosely with "deconstructionism," "post-modernism," or "post-structuralism," etc. (usually not bothering to discriminate between them) sound like several now associated with climate change--lack of fully determinable reference; uncertainty as

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symplokeUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Dec 22, 2013

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