THE TRANSDISCIPLINARY ECOCRITICISM RESEARCH GROUP PRESENTS
SEA-LEVEL RISE IN PUBLIC SCIENCE WRITING: HISTORY, SCIENCE AND REDUCTIONISM
A Talk by SUSANNA LIDSTROM
Thursday, May 26th 2016 2:30-4:00pm
De Certeau Room 155
Department of Literature
In the past few years, a rush of literary non-fiction books have appeared that aim to explain the threat of rising seas to the public. In this talk Susanna Lidstrom critiques how sea-level rise is framed in many of those books, on two accounts. First, anthropogenic sea-level change is frequently framed by accounts of natural variations of sea level in earth history, focusing on geological rather than societal processes. Second, single and sudden floods are often used to exemplify sea-level rise in ways that draw attention away from incremental environmental change in favor of fast-paced but de-contextualized events. Lidstrom's presentation argues that both these frames de-politicize sea-level rise and may steer public understanding and discussion away from relevant social, cultural and ethical considerations. As examples of climate reductionism, these depictions may obstruct rather than facilitate appropriate negotiations in response to predicted sea-level rise.
Sponsored by the Center for the Humanities and the Department of Literature