Environmental humanities and ecocriticism
Mentor: Carmen Flys Junquera; Montserrat López Mújica
Email: Carmen.flys@uah.es
Phone: (+34) 91 885 5344
University: University of Alcalá
Partner Host Institution: N.A.
Keywords: Ecocriticism; cultural attitudes; landscape perception; sense of place; cultural expressions; climate change

Environmental humanities and ecocriticism

The Environmental Humanities, and specifically ecocriticism, aesthetics and philosophy, focus on cultural attitudes that condition and affect the reactions and perceptions of the local population to environmental issues and changes through the study of literature, the arts and other cultural expressions. Science, industry and the media have not been very effective in communicating the environmental crisis and the impending structural, social, cultural and paradigmatic changes that climate change will force upon our civilization and lifestyle, including, among others, the structure of cities, transport, infrastructure, food, leisure and our aesthetic perception of landscapes and the use of private and public spaces. Sense of place and caring about our environment is shaped by our collective histories and the meanings and symbols attached to specific landscapes or places. Our aesthetic perceptions as well as our ethical responses to both the human and non-human environment will have to change. The humanities are uniquely prepared to analyze and change the cultural narratives which give sense to our lives: as humans, we respond more effectively to stories, experience and affect, than to rational scientific discourses. The research carried out by GIECO, not only includes the traditional scholarly studies of literature and the arts, but in the last years it has also transcended academia in order to give a voice to the local population in order to further study the interests and motivational factors regarding the environment. This is being carried out through a series of short interviews, written testimonies and creative non-fiction essays, revealing what moves people to care about place and engage in sustainable practices. Thus, the research carried out by the GIECO group focuses on a diverse array of cultural expressions that make patent the underlying perceptions and assumptions about the landscape and environment, precisely those which need to be addressed if local populations are to accept the inevitable eco-social transition.

Departament: Instituto Franklin
Research Group: GIECO
More Information: www3.uah.es/gieco/
Relevants projects on the area: “Environmental humanities. Strategies for ecological empathy and the transition towards sustainable societies; Subproject 2: “Stories for Change” HAR2015-67472-C2-2-R (MINECO/FEDER)
Relevants publications on the area: 1.- Flys Junquera, Carmen. “Ecofeminist Replicants and Aliens: Future Elysiums through an Ethics of Care” Special Issue: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Eco-Caring: Contemporary Debates on Ecofeminism(s). Women’s Studies. 47.2. 2018, pp 232-250
2-. López Mújica, Montserrat. “L’industrialisation des Alpes au prisme de la littérature” Moins nº 35. Journal Romand d’écologie politique. Vevey-Suiza, Junio-Julio 2018, pp 24-25. (ISSN: 2296-0414)
3-. Goodbody, Axel y Carmen Flys Junquera (Eds.). Sense of Place: Transatlantic Perspectives / Sentido de arraigo: perspectivas transatlanticas. (Serie CLYMA, Biblioteca Benjamín Franklin) Universidad de Alcalá de Henares, 2016. (ISBN: 978-84-16599-79-0)
4-. Flys Junquera, Carmen. “A Cosmopolitan Sense of Place.” Spaces in-between. Cultural and Political Perspectives on Environmental Discourse. Editado por Mark Luccarelli and Sigurd Bergmann, Leiden, Brill/Rodopi, 2015, pp. 51-72. (ISBN: 978-90-04298-84-2)