On Tuesday 11 December 2018, Bogna M. Konior will present a paper titled ‘The Climate Unconscious: Climate-Fiction across New Media and Literature Studies’, as part of the monthly Research Seminars for the Modern and Contemporary Literature Research Group.
In 2005, author Robert Macfarlane lamented the inability of contemporary culture to address climate change. Why is it, he wondered, that this far-reaching issue has not provoked an outpouring of novels confronting it? The alarm was raised again in 2016 when novelist Amitav Ghosh wrote in The Great Derangement that climate change calls for a “realistic” representation yet is most often relegated to the realm of dystopian science‑fiction.
Simultaneously, the matters of reality and fiction, objectivity and subjectivity, truth and falsity have become central to socio-political governance across the world. Globalism did not deliver on its promise of multicultural integration and yet it forcefully integrated all cultures within a planetary collapse, where demarcations between local and global effects of industrial capitalism and environmental change cannot be easily distinguished. The crisis of a coherent political imagination in the advent of globalised but unevenly distributed calamity is accompanied by a crisis in representation.
This talk focuses on the contribution of contemporary literary theory to critical climate studies and media studies. How could, for example, literary theory that takes ‘realism’ as its category of investigation inform our understanding of media objects from simulated climate maps to virtual reality ‘documentaries’ about pollution? Analysing how climate‑fiction is both a representational and a political phenomenon, it introduces the proposition that narrowing the term to ‘a genre’ profoundly misunderstands its importance - it is rather that all of cultural production has to be understood as a ‘climate‑fiction,’ not dissimilarly to the argument that all of culture is political.
Bogna M. Konior
Bogna M. Konior is a Research Fellow at the International Research Institute for Cultural Techniques and Media Philosophy at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Media and Technology editor at the Hong Kong Review of Books, and editor of Oraxiom: A Journal of Non-Philosophy. In 2016, she was a visiting researcher in Media and Culture at the ICON Centre for the Humanities at the University of Utrecht. She publishes widely across academic and popular venues, on the subjects of media, climate change, contemporary continental philosophy, and cyber/tech-feminism. Her recent work is published in Transformations: Journal of Media and Culture and in Identities: Journal for Politics, Gender and Culture. Her collaborative work exploring theory in the Anthropocene has been exhibited internationally, including at First Draft gallery in Sydney. She collaborated with film festivals internationally as a curator and a producer, including the Five Flavour Film Festival in Warsaw and the ReVersed: Poetry-film Festival in Amsterdam.