The Challenge of Ecology to the Humanities: An Introduction

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The introduction to The Challenge of Ecology to the Humanities: Posthumanism or Humanism? sketches out the ambiguous response of the humanities to the long-term anthropological thinking about the human as an ecological being from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and the more recent constructivist worldviews typically discrediting biological thinking about humans as intrinsically “essentialist” and “nature” as cultural fabrication. The global ecological crisis, however, and an increasing awareness of the impact of human activity on the planet's ecosystems have forced the humanities to reassess such anthropological and biological assumptions. Recent strategies of the environmental humanities include either reformulating classic humanism with ecological frames or seeking alternative, “posthumanist” perspectives that avoid its inherent anthropocentrism. The special issue puts voices from historical, philosophical, and literary disciplines in dialogue with each other, with the goal of mapping out various possibilities for both the humanities and the environmental humanities.

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Duke University Press

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New German Critique