Published online by Cambridge University Press: 12 August 2021
Risk in the global economy is often borne by those with the least political agency or monetary resources, who also bear the brunt of the environmental damage inflicted by a system of unstoppered industrial development. Environmental humanities seeks greater justice and equality within human societies and in all ecological relationships; it can therefore model how risk is absorbed by those without access to economic and political advantage. We have to imagine a more equitable society before we can build it. The environmental humanities can create opportunities for creative and scholarly work to rethink its organizational and logical structure, to risk upending received rhetorical models in creative and scholarly work. Environmental humanities has a chance to reconceive how the “human” relates to the world around it, questioning the human as primary subject and imagining a way of seeing and describing the world as a horizontal shared space rather than a vertical, teleological hierarchy. It’s risky to practice new modes of expression. It’s even riskier to subordinate the human in a field where the word “human” is predominant. Environmental humanities is the place to take that risk.
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