Open Library of Humanities (2018-10-01)

Scale, Climate Change, and the Pedagogic Potential of Literature: Scaling (in) the Work of Barbara Kingsolver and T.C. Boyle

  • Roman Bartosch

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 4, no. 2


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This article discusses recent work in the environmental humanities on the role of scale and what Timothy Clark describes as ‘scale disorder’ when encountering imaginative engagements with the Anthropocene. With readings of Barbara Kingsolver’s 'Flight Behaviour' (2012) and T.C. Boyle’s 'The Terranauts' (2016), it suggests that the ‘scaling of perspectives’ is a viable and productive way of dealing with the representational and interpretive challenges of climate change (and) fiction. Drawing on the notion that literature can be seen as a specific form of cultural ecology, as developed by Hubert Zapf, it presents a concept of transcultural ecology that thrives on the tensions inherent in scale disorder and climate change imaginaries. These findings will be described with regard to the pedagogic potential of reading fiction as an attempt to come to terms with climate change.