Cultures of Climate Change, Changes of Climate Cultures

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle (specialist)


Climate change is unquestionably the greatest challenge ever faced by humanity, even if we choose to ignore it. The question I want to answer here, which I hope will be of interest to most if not all Theaker’s Quarterly readers, is whether fiction has a role to play in meeting this challenge and, if so, what that role might be. Recently, this subject has transgressed the disciplinary boundaries of academia and escaped the confines of its ivory towers to be aired where it belongs, in the public domain. I shall trace the debate from its origins in a 2015 lecture series at the University of Chicago to the work-in-progress of a criminologist in Richmond, Kentucky. Jnanpith Award winner Amitav Ghosh delivered the lectures, which were published the following year in full as The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable and in 2021 in part as Uncanny and Improbable Events. The latter is one of Penguin’s Green Ideas, a series that includes philosopher Timothy Morton’s All Art Is Ecological, which was also published in 2021 and is an extract from his 2018 book, Being Ecological. Morton’s long essay is tangential to Ghosh’s lectures, but film critic Mark Bould responded directly in his short 2021 book, The Anthropocene Unconscious: Climate Catastrophe Culture. Critical criminologist Avi Brisman responds to both Bould and Ghosh in “Ecocide and Khattam-Shud: Thoughts on How We Might Tell (More, Better) Stories of Climate Change”, an article due for release in the Journal of Aesthetic Education this autumn. I summarise each thesis in terms of its three primary claims.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
Specialist publicationTheaker's Quarterly Fiction
PublisherTheaker's Quarterly Fiction
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2024


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