Name: Hollie Johnson
PhD: English Literature
Thesis Title: Ecodystopia: Environmental Apocalypse and the Ecocidal Imagination
My project aims to carry out an ecocritical re-evaluation of literary dystopias that tracks the role of environmental concerns within the development of the genre. In particular, my thesis focuses upon the recent environmental turn of dystopian novels after 1950, thereby moving away from reductively anthropocentric scholarly accounts of dystopia. Instead, my project engages with the ongoing discussions around nature and environment with the specific aim of clarifying what an ecocritical approach can bring to the understanding of recent dystopian fiction. In the course of this exploration I will also be challenging existing definitions of the dystopian genre in order to locate how specifically environmental disaster narratives are located within this genre, and also how they problematize it.
By engaging with both critical work on dystopia and the developing field of ecocritical theory, my thesis aims to provide a new, original direction between these two fields. Ecocriticism is a relatively new theoretical area and critics continue to disagree strongly over its definition and aims. Equally, critics of literary dystopias continue to debate the characteristics and development of the genre. Indeed, the emergence of ‘eco-dystopias’ has further complicated such discussions. Despite the abundant recent critical attention surrounding both these areas, the intersection between them has received little attention, therefore my project addresses the lack of dialogue between these fields.
Supervisors and Institution(s): Dr Nathan Waddell (University of Nottingham), Prof Dominic Head (University of Nottingham)
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