Deconstruction and Environmentalism: Oxford Literary Review, vol. 31.1 (July 2010),

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Timothy Clark, co-editor, Oxford Literary Review
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Oxford Literary Review, vol. 31.1 (July 2010), call for papers.

Deconstruction and Environmentalism

"Global warming ... is...traumatic ... in attacking the fundamental premises on which are based our capacity to understand or adequately respond" (David Wood, "On Being Haunted by the Future")

"the ecological facts of life threaten to challenge our most dearly held political values: justice, freedom, and democracy.” (Bob Pepperman Taylor ‘Environmental Ethics and Political Theory’)

"The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people" (David W. Orr, Earth in Mind: On Education, Environment, and the Human Prospect)

In what ways can the environmental crisis become, belatedly, an explicit issue for deconstructive thinking? Is the absence of the topic of climate change in Derrida's work, "an increasingly signal absence, amounting almost to an occlusion" (Tom Cohen)? Does the concept of a "carbon footprint" entail an undoing of given distinctions of public and the private of which, seemingly, Derrida never dreamed or has it, in some sense, always been at issue in his texts? Is the widely heard phrase "the death of nature" a piece of intellectual incoherence or index of the crossing of an imponderable threshold?

Environmental issues question given boundaries between intellectual disciplines -- overpopulation and pollution, for instance, are social, moral, political, medical, technical, ethical and "animal rights" issues, all at once. For Bruno Latour the intellectual force of the radical environmental movement ("deep ecology," "social ecology," "ecofeminism") is that, in openly destabilising the fact/value distinction upon which so much modern thinking and practice is based, it also demystifies “Science” as a political ideology, calling scientists to new forms of thought and responsibility. Likewise, in the fields of literary and cultural criticism, is the acknowledged intellectual weakness of some so-called "ecocriticism" best recuperated as an effect of the massive resistance of environmental issues to inherited modes of thought?

Since the "environment," ultimately, means "everything," in what ways are further refinement and demarcations required, or is the challenge that literally of, "thinking everything at once"?

OLR 31.1 will be open to papers on these and related questions, maximum length c. 6,000 words.

For more on the OLR see

Deadline for expressions of interest: June 30, 2009. Copy date December 31, 2009. End of editing process April, 2010.

Contact. Timothy Clark, English Studies, University of Durham, UK, DH1 5YN.

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