As the planet faces ever-worsening disruptions to global ecosystems—carbon and chemical emissions, depletions of the ozone layer, the loss of biodiversity, rising sea levels, air toxification, and worsening floods and droughts—scholars across academia must examine the cultural effects of this increasingly postnatural world. That task proves especially vital for southern studies, given how often the U.S. South serves as a site for large-scale damming initiatives like the TVA, disasters on the scale of Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon spill, and the extraction of coal, oil, and natural gas.
Ecocriticism and the Future of Southern Studies is the first book-length collection of scholarship that applies interdisciplinary environmental humanities research to cultural analyses of the U.S. South. Sixteen essays examine novels, nature writing, films, television, and music that address a broad range of ecological topics related to the region, including climate change, manmade and natural environments, the petroleum industry, food cultures, waterways, natural and human-induced disasters, waste management, and the Anthropocene. Edited by Zackary Vernon, this volume demonstrates how the greening of southern studies, in tandem with the southernization of environmental studies, can catalyze alternative ways of understanding the connections between regional and global cultures and landscapes.
By addressing ecological issues central to life throughout the South, Ecocriticism and the Future of Southern Studies considers the confluence between region and environment, while also illustrating the growing need to see environmental issues as matters of social justice.