ACLA 2014: Deep History in Contemporary Fiction and Film (NYU, March 20-23, NYC)

full name / name of organization: 
Dermot Ryan, Loyola Marymount University
contact email: 

This seminar will explore the presence of deep/big history in contemporary fiction and film. Ranging from the astrological/primeval digressions of Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" and Benh Zeitlin's "Beasts of the Southern Wild" to David Mitchell's deployment of Jared Diamond's "Gun, Germs, and Steel" in his novel "Cloud Atlas," contemporary filmmakers and novelists repeatedly evoke astrological and geological timescales as a way of framing or figuring out our contemporary moment. Why are so many writers and filmmakers attracted to the narratives, figurative resources, and cosmic imaginary of deep/big history? What are the aesthetic, historical, and political implications of their repeated appearance in contemporary fiction and film?

SEMINAR KEYWORDS: deep history; big history; eco-apocalypse; evolution; environmental; eco criticism; science fiction; species;

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