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Chapter 19 - New Materialism and the Nonhuman Story

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 August 2021

Jeffrey Cohen
Affiliation:
Arizona State University
Stephanie Foote
Affiliation:
West Virginia University
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Summary

Ecomedia studies refers to the discipline within the environmental humanities that examines the way media systems and artifacts are embedded in ecological relationships. In one sense, the media in ecomedia designates the tools of mass communication already associated with the term. But ecomedia studies insists that media are not just text, image, and sound transmitted through machines, not just the technologies of transmission, but the social and material relationships that make transmission possible. As opposed to the older discipline of media studies, "ecomedia" understands these relationships as a kind of agency beyond the immediate cultural purposes of mediated content. Ecomedia is also distinct from the older concept of media ecologies, which employs ecology as a metaphor for the way media embed themselves in social systems and coproduce social relationships. One may analyze the media ecology of Instagram as an agent of selfie production, but unless that analysis includes an understanding of Instagram's ecological effects, it is not an ecomedia analysis. In its emphasis on the materiality and agency of media in the biosphere, ecomedia studies distinguishes itself as an aspect of environmental humanism's drive beyond a merely human world.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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References

Further Reading

Askin, Ridvan. Narrative and Becoming. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Best, Steven and Kellner, Douglas. Postmodern Theory: Critical Interrogations. New York: The Guilford Press, 1991.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Blackwell, Mark, ed. The Secret Life of Things: Animals, Objects, and It-Narratives in Eighteenth-Century England. Lewisberg: Bucknell University Press, 2007.Google Scholar
Daston, Lorraine, ed. Things That Talk: Object Lessons from Art and Science. New York: Zone Books, 2008.Google Scholar
Festa, Lynn. Sentimental Figures of Empire in Eighteenth-Century Britain and France. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2006 (esp. chapter 3: “Tales Told by Things,” 111152).Google Scholar
Heise, Ursula K., Christensen, Jon, and Niemann, Michelle, eds. The Routledge Companion to the Environmental Humanities. New York: Routledge, 2017.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Herman, David. Narratology Beyond the Human: Storytelling and Animal Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kress, John W., and Stine, Jeffrey K., eds. Living in the Anthropocene: Earth in the Age of Humans. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Books, 2017.Google Scholar
Oppermann, Serpil and Iovino, Serenella, eds. Environmental Humanities: Voices from the Anthropocene. London/New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2017.Google Scholar
Sands, Danielle. Animals, Plants, Things: Nonhuman Storytelling Between Philosophy and Literature. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2019.Google Scholar
Waugh, Patricia, ed. An Oxford Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.Google Scholar

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