In the humanities, critics are reconceptualizing human history and culture in light of issues around hydrology, including climate change, water scarcity, water restoration, water resource infrastructure, and water rights. The “oceanic turn,” of which this issue is part, is aimed at rethinking large bodies of water like oceans that traverse national and cultural boundaries as containing vast, submerged knowledge and history. Rather than bounded physically or historically, oceans are being acknowledged as crosshatched and networked, layered with human-nonhuman, material-discursive connections that challenge our notions of time, space, culture, history, and humanity at large. But what of rivers—those deceptively linear, bounded bodies that feed into the oceans and continually foil our efforts to control them? Rivers connect glacial melt and other headwaters to the seas, carrying nutrients, sediment, and animal life, and as such they bridge deep geological time and historical...
Learning from Rivers: Toward a Relational View of the Anthropocene
allison nowak shelton is a doctoral candidate in English at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her dissertation examines environmental relationality as a critical concept that illuminates ethical relationships across local, national, and international scales in the context of contemporary Indian English literature.
Allison Nowak Shelton; Learning from Rivers: Toward a Relational View of the Anthropocene. English Language Notes 1 April 2019; 57 (1): 152–159. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00138282-7309755
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