Anthropocene Diary – The aesthetics and politics of writing about the environment in the Anthropocene
Anthropocene Diary – the aesthetics and politics of writing about the environment in the Anthropocene
This seminar explores the relationship between creative practice, in particular writing, and the epoch we now live in, one defined by the human footprint on all that is non-human in the realm we call Earth. I am a writer who has worked and lived in extreme wildernesses all my life. In my lifetime, climate change in particular has rapidly redefined the entire project of writing about the non-human realm. I am interested in the way climate change and our impact on the planet is narrated. Certain stories re-circulate in the culture; these are narratives of neo-liberal rationality, largely, generated and reified in the global North. While so-called nature writing has flourished, more charged, justice-oriented approaches to writing about climate change and the environmental aesthetics of the Anthropocene have been admired but not loved. In this seminar I will draw upon my book on Antarctica, Ice Diaries, and on creative work-in-progress do discuss how hybrid approaches in creative non-fiction and autofiction might enable people to write more trenchantly about being alive in a historical epoch of large-scale environmental destruction and climate systems collapse.
Presenter Professor McNeil is the author of 15 books of fiction, memoir, travelogue, poetry and nature writing. Her research at ANU will centre on the aesthetics and politics of writing about climate change. She will research interdisciplinary approaches to better understanding narratives about climate change, and environmental storytelling as research translation.