Sense of Place and Sense of Planet: The Environmental Imagination of the Global

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Overview

Sense of Place and Sense of Planet analyzes the relationship between the imagination of the global and the ethical commitment to the local in environmentalist thought and writing from the 1960s to the present. Part One critically examines the emphasis on local identities and communities in North American environmentalism by establishing conceptual connections between environmentalism and ecocriticism, on one hand, and theories of globalization, transnationalism and cosmopolitanism, on the other. It proposes the concept of "eco-cosmopolitanism" as a shorthand for envisioning these connections and the cultural and aesthetic forms into which they translate. Part Two focuses on conceptualizations of environmental danger and connects environmentalist and ecocritical thought with the interdisciplinary field of risk theory in the social sciences, arguing that environmental justice theory and ecocriticism stand to benefit from closer consideration of the theories of cosmopolitanism that have arisen in this field from the analysis of transnational communities at risk. Both parts of the book combine in-depth theoretical discussion with detailed analyses of novels, poems, films, computer software and installation artworks from the US and abroad that translate new connections between global, national and local forms of awareness into innovative aesthetic forms combining allegory, epic, and views of the planet as a whole with modernist and postmodernist strategies of fragmentation, montage, collage, and zooming.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"At the leading edge of a rapidly evolving environmental discourse, Ursula Heise announces the moment of a new eco-cosmopolitanism. Her visionary manifesto—the book is nothing less—gathers the most politically serious and aesthetically challenging of contemporary writers in order to take us beyond the reassurance of a return to Mother Nature, beyond an ethics or an aesthetics of proximity, and to make real the possibilities of an environmentalism without borders." -Bruce Robbins, Columbia University

"With Ursula Heise's superb book, ecocriticism begins truly to 'think globally.' With exceptional sociological sophistication and critical insight, she exposes the ambiguity of 'staying home,' arguing for an 'eco-cosmopolitan' openness to the pleasures and possibilities—and unique risks—of globalization." —Greg Garrard, author of Ecocriticism

"Sense of Place and Sense of Planet is a sophisticated text that is important for ecocriticism. The book will broaden what 'environmental literature' we consider worthy of attention, and expand the field's relevance to other disciplines. We will no longer be able to write about place without addressing Heise's treatment of globalization and risk." —Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment

"A significant and provocative contribution to the field of environmental humanities." —Modern Language Quarterly

"The best book I have read in a while in the fast evolving fields of comparative studies, globalization, cosmopolitanism, eco-criticism, and (post-?)postmodernism, Sense of Place and Sense of Planet is and, to venture a last prophecy, will remain a classic for years to come." —Christian Moraru, The Comparatist

"A premier text for theorizing the global in relation to ecocritical concerns." —Transformations

"The import of eco-cosmopolitanism for literary study is made quite clear in Heise's book. More profoundly, the literary models Heise examines and the critical methods she develops have implications not only for various environmentalist movements and investigations of environmental risk but indeed for everyone concerned about the global environmental future. In this way, the book is quite adventurous." —Comparative Literature Studies

"A significant and provocative contribution to the environmental humanities." —Modern Language Quarterly

"Offers a wealth of theoretical insight and an intriguing number of exemplary, innovative readings of texts in which the environmental imagination of the global becomes manifest. The study accomplishes nothing less than a far-reaching critical reassessment of the research field of ecocriticism to date, while simultaneously expanding its theoretical and analytical scope for the future...A significant contribution to place-centered globalization theory in general." —Amerikastudien/American Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195335637
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 9/29/2008
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Ursula K. Heise is Associate Professor of English at Stanford University, where she teaches contemporary literature and literary theory. She is the author of Chronoschisms: Time, Narrative, and Postmodernism.

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Table of Contents

Introduction Sense of Place and Sense of Planet 3

Pt. I World Wide Webs: Imagining the Planet

Ch. 1 From the Blue Planet to Google Earth: Environmentalism, Ecocriticism, and the Imagination of the Global 17

Ch. 2 Among the Everywheres: Global Crowds and the Networked Planet 68

Ch. 3 Adventures in the Global Amazon 91

Pt. II Planet at Risk

Ch. 4 Narrative in the World Risk Society 119

Ch. 5 Toxic Bodies, Corporate Poisons: Local Risks and Global Systems 160

Ch. 6 Afterglow: Chernobyl and the Everyday 178

Conclusion: Some Like It Hot: Climate Change and Eco-Cosmopolitanism 205

Notes 211

Works Cited 225

Index 243

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