The environmental humanities have emerged over the last decade as a new interdisciplinary matrix that connects environmentally oriented research in the humanities and qualitative social sciences. This new area of research defines ecological issues as social and cultural rather than scientific and technological. In the process, controversies have emerged around the concept of the Anthropocene, whose emphasis on the planetary agency of the human species conflicts with Marxist analyses of socioeconomic inequality and with posthumanist approaches that question the exceptionality of the human subject. The project of the environmental humanities emerges from the critique of dominant natural science concepts combined with the creative effort to shape new stories beyond environmental decline narratives, including speculative and utopian stories, that can engage a wider public in shaping the future.

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