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Critical Environments



Critical Environments (CE) is a cross-disciplinary research and teaching collective based in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick. The collective presently groups work done at the interface of environmental studies, critical theory, literary studies, creative writing and the visual and sound arts. A working premise of CE is that while “the environment” as a shared historical horizon, especially when pressured by global concepts like “climate change,” becomes ever more critical to what we do as scholars, teachers, students, writers, and artists, understandings of this horizon and its associated concepts remain largely untested by the kinds of innovative theory and practice that have pushed other historical frames through several “waves” of critique.

Critical Inquiry: A third wave of ecocriticism is just now forming, rethinking the mesh of the social, material, and political-economic histories constituting not “the environment” but environments (plural), active at the blind spots of intersecting disciplinary and interpretive frameworks. Awareness of the “critical condition” of our environments, including the atmospheric commons, calls not for a simple retrenchment of critical inquiry around familiar slogans but for a more critical articulation of our environments – the contexts of our reading, thinking, writing and making – in a sustained edge practice, where contact at disciplinary boundaries may bring discomfort but also greater reflexivity.