critical ecologies

Karl Steel’s How To Make A Human: Animals and Violence in the Middle Ages

2014-09-07

In one half of a pair of critical reviews looking at recent titles in animal studies, Nicole Shukin examines Karl Steel’s How to Make a Human (Steel reviews Shukin in the other half). In particular, Shukin discusses Steel’s framing of “the human” in terms of medieval violence, and she considers what that framing can offer to today’s political and ethical conversations.

Against Animal Authenticity, Against the Forced March of the Now: a review of Nicole Shukin’s Animal Capital

2014-09-07

In one half of a pair of critical reviews looking at recent titles in animal studies, Karl Steel examines Nicole Shukin’s Animal Capital (Shukin reviews Steel in the other half). In particular, Steel looks at Shukin’s biopolitical framework, and considers how that framework challenges not only our conception of what constitutes the animal, but also–and more to the bone–our conception of the capacity of fields like animal studies.

Cary Wolfe, Before the Law: Humans and Other Animals in a Biopolitical Frame (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2013).

2013-11-03

John Bruni contends that Cary Wolfe’s latest book “Before the Law: Humans and Other Animals in a Biopolitical Frame” discusses the “legal issues that inform our relationships with non-human animals.” Bruni writes that in doing so Wolfe dissects the process of law-making and appearing “before the law” as animals, which might be potentially harmful and eclipse the existence of animals beyond the human sphere. According to Bruni what distinguishes Wolfe’s perspective is that he does not promote any form of “ecological self-righteousness” but rather asks the question whether we need to move beyond species-based discourses that constantly pits humans and animals against each other in an essentially unwinnable impasse—to a more ethical approach that may expand the “community of living.”

Blind Hope: A Review of Gregg and Seigworth's The Affect Theory Reader

2012-04-01

No need to get excited. According to Julie Reiser, The Affect Theory Reader offers the reader no end of theory but little affect. Reiser suggests this points to a broader and systemic problem in any reading or theory of affect.

Anomalies

2011-10-30

From the heavens to the stars, the number three has often been tied to the occult. Carrying on this tradition, Rob Swigart has brought together three books that investigate the anomalous, address the unexplained, and answer the impossible. The truth is in here.

The Maypole is the Medium: A Review of The Networked Wilderness by Matt Cohen

2011-10-24

From early modern texts to “publishing events,” Madeleine Monson-Rosen’s review follows Matt Cohen’s exploration of the “networked wilderness.” It turns out that the English colonists and native Americans were already information theorists, centuries before cybernetics emerged at MIT.

Review of Stacy Alaimo's Bodily Natures: Science, Environment, and the Material Self

2011-09-14

Beginning his review by reflecting on the book’s cover art, John Bruni speculates that a punk aesthetic runs throughout Alaimo’s posthuman environmentalism. Providing brief treatments of each chapter, he argues that the book’s trans-corporeal understanding of the relationship between bodies and places disrupts “the very heart of what we know about ourselves.”

Finding the Human in "the messy, contingent, emergent mix of the material world": Embodiment, Place, and Materiality in Stacy Alaimo's Bodily Natures

2011-09-07

In this review Veronica Vold charts the posthuman environmental ethic in Stacy Alaimo’s Bodily Natures: Science, Environment, and the Material Self and notes how the text draws together issues of race, (dis)ability, and the environment in a way that disrupts the boundaries between bodies and places.

In Praise of "In Praise of Overreading"

2011-08-30

Is ‘overinterpretation’ good or bad? Is it even possible, and is it ever enough? (Or are we reading too much into this?) Clint Burnham shadows Colin Davis as he traces the interventions of a “wild bunch” of critics, theorists, and philosophers, who grapple with the question of what counts as a reading of a literary text.

Unworldly Reflections

2011-01-27

In this review of Robert Chodat’s Worldly Acts and Sentient Things, Stephen Dougherty argues that Chodat’s inquiry could have profited from a deeper engagement with posthumanist thought.

Things They Wrote With: The Material Making of Modern Fiction

2010-12-12

In his new book, Michael Wutz examines how the work of four canonical novelists - Norris, Lowry, Doctorow, and Powers - register the revolutions in 20th century media technology. Such an analysis, reviewer Joseph Conte suggests, is an important extension of Kittlerian media theory to the field of American literature.

Being Not Us

2010-12-02

John Bruni suggests that Cary Wolfe’s new essay collection explores the various cognitive fictions of humanism and carves out a functional role for systems-influenced theory and art.

Man Saved by Wolfe

2010-10-25

In this review of Cary Wolfe’s new essay collection, What is Posthumanism?, Neil Badmington reflects on the ebb and flow of “the posthuman” and ponders what Wolfe’s work suggests for the future of the field.

Framed: The Machine in/as the Garden

2010-08-16

Timothy Morton offers a critical reading of Roderick Coover’s video Canyonlands: Edward Abbey and the Defense of Wilderness. In the video’s stark modernist form, Morton writes, “the hydroelectric engine of human progress still hums.” What’s needed now, he suggests, is a “Goth remix.”

Roderick Coover, Larry McCaffery, Lance Newman and Hikmet Loe: A Dialogue about the Desert.

2010-02-06

Roderick Coover, Larry McCaffery, Lance Newman and Hikmet Loe explore the question of how desert ecologies are shaped through creative expression and actions. They consider, among others, how works by Edward Abbey, Robert Smithson and William T. Vollmann offer models for engaging ecological questions through writing and art.

Ebooks, Libraries, and Feelies

2010-02-02

Countering the persistent popular notion that electronic literature is just reading the classics under glass, Daniel Punday advocates for greater innovation, and more authorial autonomy, at the level of book design. Insisting on “authors’ rights to design the interface through which readers encounter their books,” Punday argues that digital book publishing should strive to emulate the medial status of games, “which remain messy individuals.”

Forgetting Media Studies: Anthologies, Archives, Anachrony

2009-12-05

Through a close formal analysis of two new critical collections, Paul Benzon ponders the state of media studies as field. Exploring the material and temporal paradoxes of anthologizing new media and posthumanism, he argues that “each of these texts takes shape, succeeds, and fails under the pressures and possibilities posed by the scalar demands of information.”

Charles Darwin: Conservative Messiah? On Joseph Carroll's Literary Darwinism

2009-07-29

Bruce Clarke reviews Joseph Caroll’s Literary Darwinism and (like Laura Walls in her review of E.O. Wilson ten years earlier in ebr)
identifies the LD project not as “consilience” so much as the
colonization of the literary humanities by one branch of the
biological sciences. In Caroll, Clarke discerns a Darwinian
fundamentalism to match the Christian fundamentalism that can be observed in Clarke’s own Lubbock, TX habitat.

Beyond Representation: Deliberate Reading in a Panarchic World

2009-07-29

Laura Dassow Walls explores how ‘deliberative’ reading practices may allow us to weigh the words we hear against the world we cognize - keeping alive the possibility of reading as a moral act.

Strange Sympathies: Horizons of Media Theory in America and Germany

2009-06-04

John Durham Peters outlines “the media studies triangle,” which consists of textual, social, and institutional approaches. He then stakes out another approach that considers what civilization itself has at stake in media change.

Locating the Literary in New Media

2008-09-23

Joseph Tabbi surveys four recent interventions into new media studies, and argues that literary critics should not forget the power of the written word to resist the circumscribed possibilities of the current mediasphere.

Inside God's Toolbox

2008-01-17

Jon Adams rifles through the instrument cabinet of the man upstairs by way of William J. Jackson’s Heaven’s Fractal Net. Adams finds more problems than solutions in Jackson’s position that fractals are a fundamental and universal structure of life - a position Jackson stakes out by vacillating between scholarly proof and speculative guruism.

A Critical Notice on a Book on Primates and Philosophers

2007-10-24

Paola Cavalieri challenges the book’s notion that human superior ethical worth can be preserved.

How to Do Words with Things

2007-09-22

One of a series of eco-critical reviews, Stephen Dougherty explores
the new ways that “matter is made to matter” in Ira Livingston’s
writing on science and literature. The payoff of an ecocriticism
grounded in the materiality of language itself, can bee seen by the
strong political positioning toward the end of Dougherty’s essay.

On Being Difficult

2007-07-25

Ken Hirschkop questions whether poststructuralism and
self-referentiality offer workable alternatives to the military ‘World
Target’ that, according to Rey Chow, provides the framework for
knowledge production in Departments of Comparative Literary Studies.

Critical Ecologies: Ten Years Later

2006-12-01

Andrew McMurry looks back on ten years of ecocriticism and identifies
a “new physiocracy,” whose exclusive interest in technology is no better than the exclusive valuation of property that typified physiocrats of the Nineteenth-Century.

Gaia Matters

2006-11-30

Bruce Clarke reviews Stephan Harding’s Animate Earth and James Lovelock’s recent book on Gaia, the mother of all systems.

Systems Theory for Ecocriticism

2006-11-12

Reviewing Andrew McMurry’s Environmental Renaissance, Stephen Dougherty questions the systems approach to ecocriticism.

Introduction - Illuminated Criticism

2006-11-11

Andrew McMurry introduces Katherine Acheson’s review of Radiant
Textuality
, declaring that Acheson’s illuminated critique exemplifies what’s missing in McGann: the use of design not just to illustrate prose but also to extend a textual engagement.

Multimedia Textuality; or, an Oxymoron for the Present

2006-11-11

Katherine Acheson’s free-standing hypertext demonstrates how design
can reinforce what’s said, offer a counterpoint, and, occasionally,
convey a critique of the critic.

Awesome and Terrifying

2006-11-10

In his review of Lee Rozelle’s Ecosublime, Andrew McMurry offers a contrasting understanding of the sublime as a term describing our
closure to nature, not our openness.

Not Just a River

2006-11-07

Rob Swigart asks why we keep hearing about a technological fix (dubious) and rarely about adaptation as a viable response to global warming.

Anatomizing the Language of Love: An Interview with Lee Siegel

2006-09-28

Stephen J. Burn interviews fiction writer Lee Siegel.

Modernism Reevaluated

2006-09-20

Walton Muyumba reviews two books: Michael Soto’s The Modernist Nation: Generation, Renaissance and American Literature (2004) and Manuel Martinez’s Countering the Counterculture: Rereading Postwar American Dissent from Jack Kerouac to Tomás Rivera (2003).

Notes from the Middleground: On Ben Marcus, Jonathan Franzen, and the Contemporary Fiction Combine

2006-09-08

Davis Schneiderman revisits the non-debate between Jonathan Franzen and Ben Marcus, touches on recent flare-ups in the American Book Review and the NOW WHAT blog, and reflects on the economy of book jacket blurbs.

Free Culture and Our Public Needs

2006-03-17

Francis Raven reviews Lawrence Lessig’s Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity.

Of the Cliché and the Everyday

2006-03-17

Christopher Leise reviews Kenneth Bernard’s The Man in the Stretcher and Richard Kalich’s Charlie P, a work that is as much interested in the idea of the novel as it is a novel of ideas.

The Emperor's New Clothes

2004-12-05

Diana Lobb tackles the legacy of positivism and the politics of chaotics.

All of Us

2004-12-05

William Major measures academic “ecocriticism” against the practical “agrarianism” of Wendell Berry.

Celebrating Complexity

2004-12-05

Stephen Schryer reviews Mark Taylor and casts a critical eye on the unconditional celebration of complexity.

Form and Emotion

2004-10-20

Author Lucy Corin opposes the emotionalism of genre fiction to the deeply emotional formalism in the fiction of Harold Jaffe, Patricia Eakins, and Janet Kauffman.

Meditations on the Blip: a review

2004-10-19

Lisette Gonzales reviews a book of essays by Matthew Fuller that examines the way we are programmed by software.

Mister Squishy, c'est moi: David Foster Wallace's Oblivion

2004-10-18

Kiki Benzon on narrative ecology and the “fradulence paradox” of Oblivion.

a Joseph McElroy festschrift

2004-09-26

Andrew Walser introduces a gathering of essays on and by the novelist Joseph McElroy.

How to Avoid Being Paranoid

2004-09-01

“Sedgwick’s emphasis is on generating concepts that add to the complexity and inclusiveness of our representations, rather than trying to prescribe the right revolutionary path.” Melissa Gregg reviews Eve Sedgwick’s Touching Feeling.

A Poetry of Noesis

2004-08-25

On Joseph McElroy’s Fiction as a lifelong, dramatic investigation of noesis - that abstract but
evocative concept rooted in Platonic idealism and redefined(through Phenomenology) as
those ineluctable acts of consciousness that constitute reality.

If It Could Be Wrapped

2004-08-25

Excerpted from Water Writing - an essay; presented as part of the ebr Critical Ecologies thread; concurrent with a literary Festschrift in honor of Joseph McElroy’s lifework.

History as Accretion and Excavation

2004-08-24

Paul Gleason on Joseph McElroy’s mid-career epic, Women and Men, as contrasted with Don DeLillo’s Underworld.

McElroy's "Letter"

2004-08-23

Charles Molesworth on style and spatial form in McElroy’s Letter Left to Me, a novel whose poetic making is also an ethical growth.

Re-opening Hind's Kidnap

2004-08-20

Joseph Milazzo writes about one of the least written about books by Joseph McElroy.

Joseph McElroy's Cyborg Plus

2004-08-18

Salvatore Proietti straddles science and fiction to offer an interpretation of a McElroy Cyborg.

Vectoral Muscle in a Great Field of Process

2004-08-17

Yves Abrioux approaches Woman and Men (1987) as an extended novelistic medition on cognition and action.

Front to the Future: Joseph McElroy's Ancient History

2004-08-05

Ian Demsky on Joseph McElroy’s Ancient History and welcome interruptions.

Fingering Prefiguring

2004-05-02

Alex Reid examines a cross-section of essays in Prefiguring Cyberculture, a work that historicizes the future as neither alarmist nor utopian.

Optical Media Archaeologies

2004-03-13

Anthony Enns juxtaposes two models of German media theory in reviewing new works by Oliver Grau and Friedrich Kittler.

Histories of the Present

2003-06-12

Darren Tofts reviews a popularization by Marie O’Mahony and an auto-critique of cyberculture by Andrew Murphie and John Potts.

Words and Syllables

2003-05-29

Sven Philipp on Cosmopolis and what seems to be a new stage in the critical reception of DeLillo.

Racial Remix

2003-04-15

Regarding a monumental work on race, time, and classical music that does not lose sight of individual, localized lives.

The Question of the Animal

2003-03-31

On a posthumanism potentially worthy of the name.

Manuel DeLanda's Art of Assembly

2003-03-19

Aaron Pease reviews Manual DeLanda’s philosophy of the virtual.

The Godfather Seen Through The Lens of Elite Criticism (and Vice Versa)

2003-01-15

Chris Messenger achieves a rare convergence of elite and popular cultural criticism by doing for The Godfather (and its spinoffs) what previous critics have done for Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

The World is Flat

2003-01-02

According to Amy Elias, Paul Maltby’s negation of the mystical Other forecloses ‘the most interesting conversation’: between a critic who does not believe in visionary moments and those writers and critics who do believe in them.

Metahistorical Romance

2003-01-01

On Amy Elias’s view of fabulation in the moment of American corporate power, a postmodern novelistic aesthetic that is consistent with Sir Walter Scott’s early nineteenth-century mix of romance and Enlightenment-inspired historiography.

Printed Privileges

2002-08-27

Carsten Schinko on Niklas Luhmann’s Analogue Loyalty.

New Media and Old: The Limits of Continuity

2002-08-20

Lev Manovich makes the first sustained case for a new media theory, but with cinema as his starting point he has a hard time engaging the non-representational artforms and aural explorations to be found there. So argues the Australian media writer, geniwate.

Tales of Almost

2002-07-19

Linda Carolli on the third hybrid collection by Michael Joyce, a work (like the technological landscape it’s about) at once industrial and informatic, essayistic and narrative, technical and autobiographical.

Metaphysics after the Western Wall Has Come Down

2002-06-01

Polymythic Personalistic Organicism, Biocentric Egalitarianism, and the Postmodern Return to Religion.

Slow, Spare, and Painful

2002-05-10

Steffen Hantke reviews the reviewers of Don DeLillo’s Body Artist, dispelling the notion that, after Underworld, the shorter book is necessarily a slighter one.

Language Liquor

2002-01-01

A revaluation and appreciation of Stanley Elkin on the occasion of the Dalkey Archive reprinting of four separate volumes.

The Cybernetic Turn: Literary into Cultural Criticism

2001-10-01

Joseph Tabbi reviews the essay collection Simulacrum America.

What Lies Beneath?

2001-10-01

Gene Kannenberg, Jr. finds the most well-publicized comic by one of America’s most significant cartoonists to be technically accomplished, challenging as narrative but finally all too true to its title: the characters and situations in David Boring are in fact boring.

Further Notes From the Prison-House of Language

2001-09-01

Linda Brigham works through Embodying Technesis by Mark Hansen.

Mindful of Multiplicity

2001-09-01

Linda Carroli reviews Michael Joyce on networked culture, whose emergence changes our ideas of change.

Merely Extraordinary Beings

2001-09-01

Elizabeth Wall Hinds reviews Andrew Miller’s first novel, Ingenious Pain, winner of the James Black Memorial Fiction Prize and the 1999 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

Hollywood Nomadology?

2001-09-01

Linda Brigham offers a Deleuzean take on Independence Day.

After the Post

2001-01-01

For Daniel Punday, Bernard Siegert’s historical materialism - a difficult synthesis of historical, literary, and institutional analysis - falls somewhere between Derrida and Foucault. But see also the review in ebr by historian Richard John, who considers Siegert in the line of Walter Ong, Elizabeth Eisenstein, and Harold Innis.

German TV Troubles

2000-12-30

Geoffrey Winthrop-Young takes the outside perspective on German media studies.

The Runoff: A Simple Electoral Reform

2000-12-30

Every crank has an idea. Every American is a crank. Philip Wohlstetter is an American, therefore - well, you get the idea.

Consilience Revisited

1999-12-30

Laura Dassow Walls reconsiders Consilience and finds E. O. Wilson to be more Christian in outlook than the Reverend William Whewell, who originated the term, ‘consilience’

Conspiracy and the Populist Imagination

1999-12-30

Timothy Melley reviews Mark Fenster on conspiracies in fact and fiction and finds evidence against the assumption that only nonexistent conspiracies produce conspiracy theories.

Hope for Empowerment, Fear of Control

1999-12-30

Jan van Looy reviews Silvio Gaggi on hypertext fiction up to the early ’90s.

Materialities and the Raw Material of Latin Americanism

1999-12-30

Shirin Shenassa situates Roman de la Campa’s Latin Americanism within the critical discourses of the world’s metropolitan centers and introduces a new thREAD into ebr’s Internet Nation series

The Medial Turn

1999-12-30

Joseph Tabbi identifies a shift in U.S. criticism that has taken place in the eight years separating Susan Strehle’s Fiction in the Quantum Universe and John Johnston’s Information Multiplicity.

Friedrich Kittler's Technosublime

1999-12-30

Bruce Clarke reviews the new translation of Grammophone, Film, Typewriter, a requiem and good-riddance for the era of so-called Man.

Digital vs. Traditional?

1999-12-30

Luc Herman reviews the collection, Cyberspace Textuality by Marie-Laure Ryan, and warns against the creation of a false dichotomy between the digital and traditional print text.

Are We Posthuman Yet?

1999-03-15

Linda Brigham reads How We Became Posthuman the way Katherine Hayles reads novels: as a story that resists both linearity and the analytical ardor of attempts at humanist ordering.

Blackness and the Migratory Drive

1999-03-15

Walton Muyumba reviews Randall Kenan’s massive meditation on race and introduces a new word into the discourse on African American literature: zugenruhe.

On Spheres

1999-03-15

Luca Di Blasi reads Peter Sloterdijk straight.
Translation by Chris Thomas

Perloff in the Nineties

1999-03-15

David Zauhar reads Marjorie Perloff the way she reads poetry and philosophy: as ways of doing, rather than saying

Media, Genealogy, History

1999-03-15

Matt Kirschenbaum reviews Remediation by Richard Grusin and Jay David Bolter.

Materialism at the Millennium

1999-01-01

Geoffrey Winthrop-Young gets inside De Landa’s total history.

Enthralled by Systems

1998-07-01

Chris Messenger reviews Tom LeClair’s first novel, Passing Off (1996).

Hypertext '97

1997-04-20

John Cayley reviews the Hypertext ‘97 Conference, which brought together representatives from corporate and academic sectors.

Old Orders for New: Ecology, Animal Rights, and The Poverty of Humanism

1997-01-10

Cary Wolfe reviews Luc Ferry’s The New Ecological Order.

Never Coming Home: Positivism, Ecology, and Rootless Cosmopolitanism

1997-01-01

Steven Kellert on being “in favor of universals.”

The Cybernetic Turn: Literary into Cultural Criticism

1997-01-01

Joseph Tabbi reviews the essay collection Simulacrum America.

Poets Take On Guess Inc.: Poets Win

1997-01-01

Poets Take On Guess Inc.: Poets Win

The 'Environment' Is Us

1997-01-01

Taking up the green thread from ebr4, Harold Fromm reviews three new books of eco-criticism
>— ebr4 critical ecologies

Restoring Dora Marsden

1996-12-30

Michael Wutz reviews Bruce Clarke’s Dora Marsden and Early Modernism: Gender, Individualism, Science

Attractions Around Mount St. Helens

1996-12-30

Joseph McElroy shares field notes and reflections from Mount St. Helens.

Joseph McElroy: fathoming the field

1996-12-30

Toward a definition of a postmodern genre: the field-novel.

Post-Wankery: A Review of Infinite Jest

1996-12-30

Piotr Siemion discusses Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

Canadian Jeremiad

1996-12-30

Andrew McMurry reviews John Livingstone’s Rogue Primate: An exploration of human domestication.

Scared Straight

1996-12-30

Carol Stabile reviews Our Stolen Future.

From Virtual Reality to Phantomatics and Back

1996-12-30

Paisley Livingston on Stanislaw Lem and the history and philosphy of Virtual Reality.

Anti-Negroponte: Cybernetic Subjectivity in Digital Being and Time

1996-12-30

Timothy Luke reviews Nicholas Negroponte and takes a second look at ‘digital subjectivity.’

HYPER-LEX: A Technographical Dictionary

1996-12-30

Paul Harris hybridizes the terms of hypertextual discourse and takes it to a higher power.

Ecotourism: Notes on Con-temporary Travel

1996-12-30

Thomas Cohen on ecotourism in Bolivia and discovering the post-humans of the past.

Critical Ecologies

1996-12-30

An art installation as much as an “issue,” the original site for ebr4, Critical Ecologies, used variations on a concrete poem by Daniel Wenk to guide readers through the “green” and “gray” essays. Another innovation was the introduction of the riposte section.

Observing the Observers of Systems and Environments

1996-09-01

Linda Brigham reviews the Spring and Fall 1995 issues of Cultural Critique.

Cyborg Anthropology

1996-09-01

Matthew Fuller on The Cyborg Handbook.

Stanley Fish and the Place of Criticism

1996-09-01

Christopher Knight on Stanley Fish’s Professional Correctness.

Academia, Inc.

1996-03-15

Linda Brigham reviews Incorporations, the most recent collection from Zone Books.

The Revolution May Not Be Computerized

1996-03-15

Daniel Riess on Roger Chartier’s media history.

A Project for a New Consultancy

1996-03-15

Joseph Tabbi and Gregory Ulmer discuss what intellectual work will be like in the new electracy.

Writing the Paradigm

1996-03-15

An overview of Gregory Ulmer’s thought by Victor Vitanza.

Wild Ambitions

1996-03-15

David Cassuto reviews Wild Ideas, a collection of ecocritical essays.

No More Heroes

1996-03-15

David Cassuto reviews Wild Ideas, a collection of ecocritical essays.

Cultural Criticism and The Politics of Selling Out

1996-03-15

In this feature essay from the spring of 1996, Michael Bérubé claimed that left intellectuals have little choice but to sell out, if they want to make a difference in the culture they critique.
But which way is out? And who gets to go public?

Designing Our Disciplines in a Postmodern Age - and Academy

1996-03-01

Matt Kirschenbaum on Richard Coyne’s philosophical treatment of technographics.

Cyberinthian Ways

1995-12-30

Linda Brigham hypercontextualizes contemporary philosophy.

Sleepless in Seattle

1995-12-20

Paul Harris explores IN.S.OMNIA’s technographies.