Friday, April 22, 2016

Meet Richard Crownshaw, professor at the University of London in the UK, with a strong interest in the cli-fi genre

Cli-fi courses have grown rapidly in frequency, according to a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education in Washington, DC in the USA. Three years ago, there were only a handful of courses at North American and UK colleges and universities that would be considered cli-fi, the article noted, but that number has ballooned to over 100 worldwide since then.

One of the keys to the courses’ popularity is that the cli-fi novels and movies can be presented as relevant and relatable to issues students have heard about, according to Professor Richard Crownshaw, a senior lecturer at the University of London.

He believes that his own cli-fi class offers students a chance to discuss how society sometimes tries to avoid having difficult talks about the damage that is being done to the earth.

"These novels are a tool to explore how climate change is continually subjected to a form of cognitive dissonance, and, therefore, the novel can change how we sometimes fail to think about climate change or displace the problem onto future generations," Crownshaw told Rio Fernandes at the Chronicle, adding:
''But the courses have occasionally drawn criticism from scholars who wonder whether it is a good idea to base a curriculum around books that could be viewed as less literary.''

When asked if he would be available to talk or email with other reporters covering the cli-fi meme around the world, Dr Crownshaw said he would be happy to.

To clarify, he told this blog: "The cli-fi course I have been teaching here has only been running for a year, and for small group of students at Masters degreee level, but I would be happy to talk about it with reporters in the UK or North America, sure.''

Richard Crownshaw, Goldsmiths University of London

Senior Lecturer
Department of English and Comparative Literature
Goldsmiths, University of London
New Cross
London SE14 6NW

"Climate-Change Fiction and the Future Anterior"
[Dr. Crownshaw begins with the statement that climate change renders life unsustainable. In climate change fiction, catastrophe and post-catastrophe results from immoral act of ignoring climate change; these fictions are a history of our fears, a kind of cultural memory.  They include population culling, species extinction, dislocation, etc.  Odds are against tomorrow.  At center is the political and ethical message that human corporality is inseparable from the environment.  In the environmental trauma paradigm, geological trauma is mediated by financial capitalism, speculation on the future—a satire based on the catastrophe ready to happen. ]

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