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Full-Text Articles in Modern Languages

Goethe's Colors: Revolutionary Optics And The Anthropocene, Heather I. Sullivan Oct 2017

Goethe's Colors: Revolutionary Optics And The Anthropocene, Heather I. Sullivan

Modern Languages and Literatures Faculty Research

Renowned poet and author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) claimed that his greatest contribution to the world was not his famous Faust (Part I in 1808 and Part II in 1832) or his best-selling 1774 epistolary novel, Die Leiden des jungen Werther [Sorrows of Young Werther], the first German novel to achieve international fame, but was instead his scientific treatise on optics and colors, Zur Farbenlehre [Towards a Theory of Color] from 1810.


The Dark Pastoral: A Trope For The Anthropocene, Heather I. Sullivan Jan 2017

The Dark Pastoral: A Trope For The Anthropocene, Heather I. Sullivan

Modern Languages and Literatures Faculty Research

Denoting our current age as the Anthropocene, or the era of planet-wide human impact, scales up human agency beyond the usual biological capacity of all living things to alter their surroundings to a geological force. Human activities have altered vast areas of the Earth's terrestrial surfaces, spread industrial particulates across the globe, and impacted the planetary climate with increased release of carbon dioxide that then increases oceanic acidity bleaching entire coral reefs. The biosphere's land, air, and water have all changed with the increased release and use of energy. Once again, a species of living things has become ...


Introduction To German Ecocriticism In The Anthropocene, Caroline Schaumann, Heather I. Sullivan Jan 2017

Introduction To German Ecocriticism In The Anthropocene, Caroline Schaumann, Heather I. Sullivan

Modern Languages and Literatures Faculty Research

How do we approach, read, discuss, and teach German literature in light of the transnational and global environmental problems and crises caused by human activities? In what way does the current geological era of the Anthropocene marked by traceable human impact across the globe lead us to reflect on the role and interconnectedness of human and non-human forces? Since human activities and human cultures have caused so many of the current ecological problems, how can scholars address broad-scale interdisciplinary problems with attention to both cultural and scientific knowledge? What is the role of the humanities in this inextricably nature-culture mix ...


Dirty Traffic And The Dark Pastoral In The Anthropocene: Narrating Refugees, Deforestation, Radiation, And Melting Ice, Heather I. Sullivan Jul 2016

Dirty Traffic And The Dark Pastoral In The Anthropocene: Narrating Refugees, Deforestation, Radiation, And Melting Ice, Heather I. Sullivan

Heather I Sullivan

“Dirt is essentially disorder [....] Dirt offends against order,” asserts Mary Douglas in her 1966 anthropological text on “purity and pollution.” Dirt disturbs order; hence dirt is that which is disorderly and “out of place.” Similarly, according to Greg Garrard’s Ecocriticism (2012) the term pollution describes a cultural norm denoting something out of place: pollution, he writes, “does not name a substance or class of substances, but rather represents an implicit normative claim that too much of something is present in the environment, usually in the wrong place.” This definition of pollution and dirt as “something out of place,” however ...


Threatening Animals?, Heather I. Sullivan Jul 2016

Threatening Animals?, Heather I. Sullivan

Heather I Sullivan

Threatening predators and pernicious beasts continue to play significant roles in the human imaginary even as human threats to other species increase exponentially in the age of Anthropocene. While posthumanist animal studies and material ecocriticism sync human and other animals within the biosphere’s living interactions, our shared material reciprocity is currently skewing ever more towards the human threat to other species – and so to ourselves as co-dependents. This essay explores the meaning of “threatening” and “threatened”. Five German texts presenting human-animal interactions in the Anthropocene’s span by Goethe, Kafka, Stifter, Duve, and Trojanow unsettle expectations of threats. In ...


Agency In The Anthropocene: Goethe, Radical Reality, And The New Materialisms, Heather I. Sullivan Jul 2016

Agency In The Anthropocene: Goethe, Radical Reality, And The New Materialisms, Heather I. Sullivan

Heather I Sullivan

Our current era has been termed the Age of the “Anthropocene,” or the human- inflected geological era. This essay addresses the implications of human impact on the Earth as a form of “radical reality” by addressing the broad spectrum of human and non-human agency. The analysis follows a three-step process: it begins with an introduction to the new materialisms and distributed agency in contrast to Howard Tuttle’s notion of “radical reality” based on human consciousness. It then explores the agency of nature’s “vibrancy” in the debate occurring early in the Anthropocene (during Goethe’s lifetime) between “vitalism” and ...


Threatening Animals?, Heather I. Sullivan Jun 2016

Threatening Animals?, Heather I. Sullivan

Modern Languages and Literatures Faculty Research

Threatening predators and pernicious beasts continue to play significant roles in the human imaginary even as human threats to other species increase exponentially in the age of Anthropocene. While posthumanist animal studies and material ecocriticism sync human and other animals within the biosphere’s living interactions, our shared material reciprocity is currently skewing ever more towards the human threat to other species – and so to ourselves as co-dependents. This essay explores the meaning of “threatening” and “threatened”. Five German texts presenting human-animal interactions in the Anthropocene’s span by Goethe, Kafka, Stifter, Duve, and Trojanow unsettle expectations of threats. In ...


The Dark Pastoral: Goethe And Atwood, Heather I. Sullivan Jan 2016

The Dark Pastoral: Goethe And Atwood, Heather I. Sullivan

Modern Languages and Literatures Faculty Research

The Anthropocene challenges the humanities to find means of representing and analysing our fossil-fueled practices that have spread industrial particulates over the entire globe, changed the climate, and reshaped landscapes into a “new nature.” In this essay, I propose the “dark pastoral” as an analytical trope, examining two framing texts from the Anthropocene: Goethe’s landmark 1797 pastoral German epic, Hermann and Dorothea, and Margaret Atwood’s 2003 postapocalyptic novel Oryx and Crake, the first installment of her MaddAddam trilogy which ends with a surprisingly pastoral flourish. At the early phases of the Anthropocene (as it is defined by Paul ...


Agency In The Anthropocene: Goethe, Radical Reality, And The New Materialisms, Heather I. Sullivan Jan 2016

Agency In The Anthropocene: Goethe, Radical Reality, And The New Materialisms, Heather I. Sullivan

Modern Languages and Literatures Faculty Research

Our current era has been termed the Age of the “Anthropocene,” or the human- inflected geological era. This essay addresses the implications of human impact on the Earth as a form of “radical reality” by addressing the broad spectrum of human and non-human agency. The analysis follows a three-step process: it begins with an introduction to the new materialisms and distributed agency in contrast to Howard Tuttle’s notion of “radical reality” based on human consciousness. It then explores the agency of nature’s “vibrancy” in the debate occurring early in the Anthropocene (during Goethe’s lifetime) between “vitalism” and ...


Human And Non-Human Agencies In The Anthropocene, Gabriele Dürbeck, Caroline Schaumann, Heather Sullivan Oct 2015

Human And Non-Human Agencies In The Anthropocene, Gabriele Dürbeck, Caroline Schaumann, Heather Sullivan

Heather I Sullivan

The era of human impact throughout the Earth’s biosphere since the Industrial Revolution that has recently been named the Anthropocene poses many challenges to the humanities, particularly in terms of human and non-human agency. Using diverse examples from literature, travel reflections, and science that document a wide range of agencies beyond the human including landscape, ice, weather, volcanic energy or gastropods, and insects, this essay seeks to formulate a broader sense of agency. All of our examples probe new kinds of relationships between humans and nature. By configuring a close interconnection and interdependence between these entities, the Anthropocene discourse ...


Human And Non-Human Agencies In The Anthropocene, Gabriele Dürbeck, Caroline Schaumann, Heather I. Sullivan Jan 2015

Human And Non-Human Agencies In The Anthropocene, Gabriele Dürbeck, Caroline Schaumann, Heather I. Sullivan

Modern Languages and Literatures Faculty Research

The era of human impact throughout the Earth’s biosphere since the Industrial Revolution that has recently been named the Anthropocene poses many challenges to the humanities, particularly in terms of human and non-human agency. Using diverse examples from literature, travel reflections, and science that document a wide range of agencies beyond the human including landscape, ice, weather, volcanic energy or gastropods, and insects, this essay seeks to formulate a broader sense of agency. All of our examples probe new kinds of relationships between humans and nature. By configuring a close interconnection and interdependence between these entities, the Anthropocene discourse ...


Dirty Traffic And The Dark Pastoral In The Anthropocene: Narrating Refugees, Deforestation, Radiation, And Melting Ice, Heather I. Sullivan Jan 2014

Dirty Traffic And The Dark Pastoral In The Anthropocene: Narrating Refugees, Deforestation, Radiation, And Melting Ice, Heather I. Sullivan

Modern Languages and Literatures Faculty Research

“Dirt is essentially disorder [....] Dirt offends against order,” asserts Mary Douglas in her 1966 anthropological text on “purity and pollution.” Dirt disturbs order; hence dirt is that which is disorderly and “out of place.” Similarly, according to Greg Garrard’s Ecocriticism (2012) the term pollution describes a cultural norm denoting something out of place: pollution, he writes, “does not name a substance or class of substances, but rather represents an implicit normative claim that too much of something is present in the environment, usually in the wrong place.” This definition of pollution and dirt as “something out of place,” however ...