Date of this Version
Ecocene (December 220) 1(2): 1-4.
This essay serves as the introduction to this issue of Ecocene (December 2020, volume 1, issue 2).
First two paragraphs:
For its second issue Ecocene welcomed cross-disciplinary contributions on what it means to be environmentally conscious in the world today, what it might have meant in diverse social-environmental pasts, or indeed what it may mean in our shared futures. The ambition of the cluster has been to engage with some key reassessments of the ways in which ecologies, identities, communities, temporalities, heritage, spatiality, risks, or agencies have been rethought in recent years, or in new waves of research, scholarship, theory, and criticism in the present era of global environmental change. The ideas for this cluster, as indeed most of the contributions published in this issue, derive from presentations and discussions originally framed for the “Rethinking Environmental Consciousness” symposium organized by the Nordic Network for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies at Mid Sweden University some time back.1 Contributions were welcomed within subthemes focused on the Anthropocene, Material Ecocriticism/s, and Transnational Environmental Consciousness.
The seven articles in this cluster explore various notions and relations of self, culture, identity, art, and belonging with nature. Perhaps more than ever our awareness of the environment is in a state of flux. Though it has still not seen canonical acceptance within the formal international bodies of geological sciences to which the idea was introduced two decades ago,2 the fairly recently formulated concept of the Anthropocene not only signals a paradigmatic shift in humanity’s position vis-à-vis its environment, but also in its way of thinking about this position. Recent emergence of critical perspectives such as the new materialisms, of which material ecocriticism has become an important strain, has already had substantial impacts on the ways in which relationships between people and environments are conceived. At the same time, the transnational modulation of the exchange of environmental thoughts and ideas has rarely been greater, suggesting that we are in a period of particular intensity, in which environmental consciousness is changing in ever more complex ways; thus, it seems especially pertinent and promising to reflect on some renewed theorizations of what it means to be environmentally conscious in the world today, as well as in our shared pasts and common futures.
1 For their efforts organizing the symposium and their original framing of the theme (in ways that may even leave residual traces in these introductory comments), grateful acknowledgment is here given to Steven Hartman, Christian Hummelsund Voie, Anders Olsson, Mae Kilker, Reinhard Hennig, Michaela Castellano, and Nuno Marques.