Environment

Open Access at Duke University Press: Blog Series Highlights

open-access-efforts-at-duke-university-pressOver the past week we have shared a series of four blog posts covering open access at Duke University Press. Topics in the series included Project Euclid, Knowledge Unlatched, Environmental Humanities, and The Carlyle Letters Online.

Leslie Eager, Director of Publishing Services for Project Euclid, shared information about the platform and the ways it supports open access in the mathematics and statistics world.

Steve Cohn, Director of Duke University Press, offered information about how we’ve participated with Knowledge Unlatched in the past and why we’ll continue in the future.

Brent Kinser, coordinating editor for The Carlyle Letters Online, shared his thoughts on the project and discussed his vision for its future.

We highlighted some of the exciting new content from the open-access journal Environmental Humanities, edited by Thom van Dooren and Elizabeth DeLoughrey, and the relationship between the journal and its five leading research university partners.

To learn more about these open-access initiatives at Duke University Press, read our previous blog posts.

Open Access: Environmental Humanities

We have created a series of five blog posts covering open access at Duke University Press. Today’s post features Environmental Humanities, an international, open-access journal focused on the most current interdisciplinary research on the environment. ddenv_8_2_cover

Responding to the rapid environmental and social change in our time,  Environmental Humanities’ scholarship draws humanities disciplines into conversation with each other and with the natural and social sciences.

Currently in its fourth year, Environmental Humanities publishes interdisciplinary papers that do not fit comfortably within the established environmental subdisciplines, as well as submissions from within these fields whose authors want to reach a broader readership. Such scholarship has taken its readers into the worlds of sheep and young French shepherds; of stones, worms, and forest-devouring beetles; of the potential weaponization of echolocation; of crows, seals, and lava flows in Hawaii. The journal also publishes a special section called “The Living Lexicon,” a series of 1,000-word essays on keywords in the environmental humanities that highlight how each term can move the field forward under the dual imperative of critique and action.

Funding Access

Open access is an important part of Environmental Humanities’ mission to reach new readers who can develop bold, innovative interdisciplinary approaches to environmental scholarship. The journal is currently sustained by a collaborative partnership among five universities, but the journal’s editors and the Press hope to establish a broader base of support among additional universities and libraries to ensure the journal’s future.

The journal’s current sponsors are Concordia University, Canada; the Sydney Environment Institute, University of Sydney, Australia; the University of California, Los Angeles, USA; the Environmental Humanities Laboratory, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden; the Environmental Humanities Program, University of New South Wales, Australia. These sponsoring institutions make Environmental Humanities’ content readily available to scholars across the world.

Climate Change and the Production of Knowledge

saq_116_1Though the causes and effects of climate change pervade our everyday lives—the air we breathe, the food we eat, the objects we use—the way the discourse of climate change influences how we make meaning of ourselves and our world is still unexplored. Contributors to this special issue of SAQ: South Atlantic Quarterly, “Climate Change and the Production of Knowledge,” bring diverse perspectives to the ways that climate change science and discourse have reshaped the contemporary architecture of knowledge itself: reconstituting intellectual disciplines and artistic practices, redrawing and dissolving boundaries, and reframing how knowledge is represented and disseminated.

The contributors address the emergence of global warming discourse in fields like history, journalism, anthropology, and the visual arts; the collaborative study of climate change between the human and material sciences; and the impact of climate change on forms of representation and dissemination in this new interdisciplinary landscape.

In “Environmental Activism across the Pacific,” this issue’s Against the Day section, contributors address forms of activism in which people seek to protect continuingly creative but ordinary life processes that conflict with imagined or emergent military bases, plantations, tourism infrastructures, and mines. From the introduction to the section:

It may be tempting to tell stories that focus only on the immensity and exceptionality of such contemporary ecological crises, but there are more stories to be told of the Pacific. The essays collected here not only reveal engagement with deeper trajectories of both violence and resistance, but also explore activism that maintains and constructs modes of life and relations of care among humans, the land, the ocean, and other beings.

Read the essays in this section, made freely available through July 2017.

Against the Day is a thematic section composed of short essays that engage topics of contemporary political importance. The title, “Against the Day,” is meant to highlight both the modes of activism and the specific occasion that the essays address.

Now Available: First Issue of Environmental Humanities Published by Duke University Press

ddenv_8_1We are pleased to announce the first issue of Environmental Humanities published by Duke University Press, volume 8, issue 1, “Multispecies Studies,” is now available at environmentalhumanities.dukejournals.org.

Environmental Humanities, edited by Thom van Dooren (University of New South Wales, Australia) and Elizabeth DeLoughrey (University of California, Los Angeles, USA), is a peer-reviewed, international, open-access journal. The journal publishes outstanding interdisciplinary scholarship that draws humanities disciplines into conversation with each other, and with the natural and social sciences, around significant environmental issues. Environmental Humanities has a specific focus on publishing the best interdisciplinary scholarship; as such, the journal has a particular mandate to:

  • Publish interdisciplinary papers that do not fit comfortably within the established environmental subdisciplines, and
  • Publish high-quality submissions from within any of these fields that are accessible and seeking to reach a broader readership.

Topics in “Multispecies Studies” include elephants and herpes, the Xenopus pregnancy test, cosmoecological sheep, and geologic conviviality.

Environmental Humanities is funded and managed through a partnership with five leading research centers: Concordia University; Sydney Environment Institute, University of Sydney; University of California, Los Angeles; Environmental Humanities Laboratory, KTH Royal Institute of Technology; and the Environmental Humanities Program, University of New South Wales.

To read more from the journal, visit environmentalhumanities.dukejournals.org.

Climate Change and the Future of Cities

ddpcult_28_2We live in the age of extremes, a period punctuated by significant disasters that have changed the way we understand risk, vulnerability, and the future of communities. Violent ecological events such as Superstorm Sandy attest to the urgent need to analyze what cities around the world are doing to reduce carbon emissions, develop new energy systems, and build structures to enhance preparedness for catastrophe. Contributors to the most recent issue of Public Culture, “Climate Change and the Future of Cities: Mitigation, Adaptation, and Social Change on an Urban Planet,” illustrate that the best techniques for safeguarding cities and critical infrastructure systems from threats related to climate change have multiple benefits, strengthening networks that promote health and prosperity during ordinary times as well as mitigating damage during disasters.

The essays in this issue were developed through a multiyear ethnographic research project on climate change adaptation in a wide range of cities, conducted by some of the most innovative scholars working on climate and culture today. Research for this work involved a blend of fieldwork, interviews, and policy analysis, which allowed the contributors to assess whether the emerging models for adaptation work as well in practice as they do in theory, and to identify challenges for exporting “best practices” to different parts of the world.

The contributors provide a truly global perspective on topics, which include the toxic effects of fracking, water rights in the Los Angeles region, wind energy in southern Mexico, and water scarcity from Brazil to the Arabian Peninsula. The issue is freely available for the next two months.

Interested in learning more about climate change? Don’t miss this recent scholarship:

callisonIn How Climate Change Comes to Matter, Candis Callison examines the initiatives of social and professional groups as they encourage diverse American publics to care about climate change. She explores the efforts of science journalists, scientists who have become expert voices for and about climate change, American evangelicals, Indigenous leaders, and advocates for corporate social responsibility. Callison investigates the different vernaculars through which we understand and articulate our worlds, as well as the nuanced and pluralistic understandings of climate change evident in different forms of advocacy.

pilkey.jpgAn internationally recognized expert on the geology of barrier islands, Orrin H. Pilkey is one of the rare academics who engages in public advocacy about science-related issues. In Global Climate Change: A Primer, the colorful scientist takes on climate change deniers in an outstanding and much-needed primer on the science of global change and its effects. Pilkey, writing with son Keith, directly confronts and rebuts arguments typically advanced by global change deniers. Particularly valuable are their discussions of “Climategate,” a manufactured scandal that undermined respect for the scientific community, and denial campaigns by the fossil fuel industry.

Hurricane Katrina: 10 Years Later

This week marks the 10 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. In remembrance, we take a look at the books and journal articles we’ve published on that historic event.

Adams cover image, 5449-9

Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith is an ethnographic account of long-term recovery in post-Katrina New Orleans. It is also a sobering exploration of the privatization of vital social services under market-driven governance. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, public agencies subcontracted disaster relief to private companies that turned the humanitarian work of recovery into lucrative business. These enterprises profited from the very suffering that they failed to ameliorate, producing a second-order disaster that exacerbated inequalities based on race and class and leaving residents to rebuild almost entirely on their own.

Filled with the often desperate voices of residents who returned to New Orleans, Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith describes the human toll of disaster capitalism and the affect economy it has produced. While for-profit companies delayed delivery of federal resources to returning residents, faith-based and nonprofit groups stepped in to rebuild, compelled by the moral pull of charity and the emotional rewards of volunteer labor. Adams traces the success of charity efforts, even while noting an irony of neoliberalism, which encourages the very same for-profit companies to exploit these charities as another market opportunity. In so doing, the companies profit not once but twice on disaster.

Thomas cover image, 5728-5Most of the narratives packaged for New Orleans’s many tourists cultivate a desire for black culture—jazz, cuisine, dance—while simultaneously targeting black people and their communities as sources and sites of political, social, and natural disaster. In Desire and Disaster in New Orleans: Tourism, Race, and Historical Memory, the Americanist and New Orleans native Lynnell L. Thomas delves into the relationship between tourism, cultural production, and racial politics. She carefully interprets the racial narratives embedded in tourism websites, travel guides, business periodicals, and newspapers; the thoughts of tour guides and owners; and the stories told on bus and walking tours as they were conducted both before and after Katrina. She describes how, with varying degrees of success, African American tour guides, tour owners, and tourism industry officials have used their own black heritage tours and tourism-focused businesses to challenge exclusionary tourist representations. Taking readers from the Lower Ninth Ward to the White House, Thomas highlights the ways that popular culture and public policy converge to create a mythology of racial harmony that masks a long history of racial inequality and structural inequity.

ddmnr_84The most recent issue of the minnesota review includes a special section entitled, “Katrina Ten Years Later.” This cluster of essays focuses on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina including the measures that could have been taken to prevent the massive devastation caused by it and the immediate and long-term responses by the government, private industry, and civil society.

Contributors to the section ask how Katrina left a permanent mark on the Gulf South and the larger national imaginary, whether we’ve learned any lessons, and what actions and policies we’ve adopted to mitigate against future disasters. Gaurav Desai argues: “Haunting though the images may be, the flooded homes and emergency rescues from rooftops were not the only impact Katrina had—it altered fundamental social contracts in cities such as New Orleans, from public education to public housing. It also awakened a new activism focused on issues ranging from calls for better levee protection to addressing the loss of wetlands in coastal communities.” Topics include real estate in post-Katrina New Orleans, ghost music in the Ninth Ward, organization and individualization in urban recovery, and Vietnamese Americans in New Orleans.

A forthcoming issue of Public Culture, “Climate Change and the Future of Cities: Mitigation, Adaptation, and Social Change on an Urban Planet,” volume 28 and issue 2, addresses climate change in urban areas. Contributors hypothesize that the best techniques for safeguarding cities and critical infrastructure systems from the threats related to climate change have multiple benefits, strengthening networks that promote health and prosperity during ordinary times as well as mitigating damage during disasters. Sign up for electronic table-of-contents alerts for Public Culture to be notified when the issue is available in Spring 2016.

Further reading on Hurricane Katrina from Duke University Press journals:

ddpcult_21_2“‘It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp… with… a Whole Lot of Bitches Jumpin’ Ship’: Navigating Black Politics in the Wake of Katrina,” by Michael Ralph in Public Culture, volume 21 and issue 2.

Rebuilding the Past: Health Care Reform in Post-Katrina Louisiana,” by Mary A. Clark in Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, volume 35 and issue 5.

World History according to Katrina,” by Wai Chee Dimock in differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, volume 19 and issue 2.

Environmental Humanities joins Duke University Press

Environmental Humanities - blackDuke University Press and Environmental Humanities are pleased to announce a new publishing partnership starting in 2016.

Environmental Humanities, edited by Thom van Dooren (University of New South Wales, Australia) and Elizabeth DeLoughrey (University of California, Los Angeles, USA) is an international, open-access journal that aims to invigorate current interdisciplinary research on the environment. In response to rapid environmental and social change, the journal publishes outstanding scholarship that draws humanities disciplines into conversation with each other and with the natural and social sciences. The journal is in its fourth year.

Environmental Humanities is funded and managed through a partnership with five leading research centers: Concordia University; Sydney Environment Institute, University of Sydney; University of California, Los Angeles; Environmental Humanities Laboratory, KTH Royal Institute of Technology; and the Environmental Humanities Program, University of New South Wales.

The journal is now hiring four new Associate Editors to join the existing editorial team. Applications should be submitted by September 7, 2015. To learn more about the position, visit environmentalhumanities.org/call-for-associate-editors.

For more information about the journal, visit environmentalhumanities.org.

Congratulations to the 2014 CELJ Award Winners!

We are excited to announce the winners of two Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ) awards from the ceremony held last night at the 2015 Modern Language Association meeting being held in Vancouver. Duke University Press had a journal and a special issue recognized for their achievements. Our congratulations to all winners!

JME_43_3_prCongratulations to the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, winner of the 2014 CELJ Codex Award. This award is given for distinction in the area of Ancient and Medieval Studies. The Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies publishes articles informed by historical inquiry and alert to issues raised by contemporary theoretical debate. The journal fosters rigorous investigation of historiographical representations of European and western Asian cultural forms from late antiquity to the seventeenth century. Its topics include art, literature, theater, music, philosophy, theology, and history, and it embraces material objects as well as texts; women as well as men; merchants, workers, and audiences as well as patrons; Jews and Muslims as well as Christians. Sample an issue of the journal here.

SAQ_113_3_prSAQ: South Atlantic Quarterly won the CELJ award for Best Public Intellectual Special Issue in 2014 for the 113:3 issue, “Prison Realities.” This issue presents timely ethnographic accounts of power and resistance under extreme conditions of confinement around the world today. Contributions span case studies relating both to the United States and to understudied non-Anglophone jurisdictions such as Brazil, Ecuador, Honduras, Palestine, and Greece. Particular attention is paid by all contributions to the human body both as a target of control and a means of struggle.

The Anthropocene in the Humanities

Anthropocene
\ˈan(t)-thrə-pə-ˌsēn, noun
the Anthropocene, a proposed term for the present geological epoch (from the time of the Industrial Revolution onwards), during which humanity has begun to have a significant impact on the environment

The Anthropocene has recently become the subject of scholarship not only in the sciences, but in the humanities, as well. The following special issues and special sections of Public Culture, the minnesota review, and Cultural Politics address the ever-growing presence of the Anthropocene in the humanities.

ddpcult_26_2_webIn “Visualizing the Environment,” guest editors Allison Carruth and Robert P. Marzec write, “This special issue of Public Culture explores forms of environmental image making and visualization in the context of the Anthropocene.” Contributors to this issue “aim to spark dialogue about how visual technologies and media—from satellite imaging and military simulation to animation and infographics—are shaping contemporary perceptions of both ecological risks and environmental movements.”

For a sense of environmental visualization and the Anthropocene, sample “Visualizing the Anthropocene” by Nicholas Mirzoeff. In this article, Mirzoeff claims that visual representation of the Anthropocene obscures rather than reveals environmental and social injustices.

ddmnr_83_webThe most recent issue of the minnesota review addresses the Anthropocene through the lens of literary meditation. Section editors Tobias Boes and Kate Marshall note that the ultimate goal of this project was to “describe, narrate, and imagine this moment in geologic time.” “These consequences can be aesthetic, political, or ecological or some combination thereof,” they argue, “but they often involve a reorganization and rearticulation of otherwise familiar concepts whose linguistic and cultural environment has changed along with their physical counterpart.”

Read more from “Writing the Anthropocene: An Introduction” by Tobias Boes and Kate Marshall here.

ddcup_10_3_webThe most recent issue of Cultural Politics features an article by John Beck entitled “The Call of the Anthropocene,” which addresses timekeeping.

In this article, Beck addresses the Anthropocene in relation to time-capsule projects, specifically the EchoStar XVI communications satellite launched in late 2012 and currently in geostationary orbit around Earth. He argues that this time capsule and others are a manifestation “of progressive modernity’s commitment to timekeeping—to the successful capture and command, interpretation and anticipation, of past and future times.” It is, he writes, “the futureless call of the Anthropocene.”

An Interview with the Authors of The Last Beach

The Last BeachGeologists Orrin Pilkey and J. Andrew G. Cooper are the authors of The Last Beach, an urgent call to save the world’s beaches while there is still time. Orrin Pilkey will be reading from the book at The Regulator Bookshop in Durham, NC on Tuesday, November 11 at 7 p.m. The Last Beach is this week’s Book of the Week in the Times Higher Education.

Your book deals with several threats to beaches. Which of these is the most critical?

People impact beaches in many different ways, but broadly speaking we have divided the threats into those that devalue or restrict our use of beaches (litter, pollution, driving, oil spills) and those that threaten the very existence of the beach (beach mining and coastal engineering). The former are often the most obvious and most of us will have experienced them as mild or extreme inconveniences, such as a beach closure or a ban on swimming. The latter, however, cause the wholesale destruction of the beach. Mining sand from a beach is an obvious recipe for disaster, but the effects of building a wall to protect a house threatened by erosion are not immediately obvious to many people. Seawalls and other structures that hold a beach in place destroy the beach. Erosion in the absence of human intervention is simply a natural part of a beach’s survival strategy. The ability to change shape during storms and then recover is key to survival of beaches and allows them to absorb much of what the sea throws at it. In trying to hold a dynamic feature like a beach in place, we are sowing the seeds of its destruction.

It seems hard to reconcile society’s love of beaches with the damage that we inflict upon them.  How do you explain this?

In part this is simply down to ignorance. We have found that few citizens anywhere in the world are aware of the detrimental effects of engineering the shoreline. The effects often become evident over several years or decades, and it is much easier for people to envisage the threat to property rather than the threat to a beach. Their self-interest in protecting their property is the overwhelming influence. The proponents (engineers and politicians) of coastal defenses do, however, know the impacts the defenses will have on the beach and yet they still promote them.

The book includes some horror stories on pollution, particularly in the sand. Is it really that risky to dig in the sand?

Of course not all beaches suffer the same degree of pollution, but the stories we report indicate the real risks that exist from pollution on beaches. Most of us are aware of the potential for polluted waters, but the recognition of dangerous contaminants within the sand is relatively new and is certainly far from the public consciousness. Importantly, testing of the water is done, but few public authorities test for pollution in the beach sand. Consequently we don’t know the risk in most cases. We fully expect that as sand testing becomes more widespread, we will be in for some nasty surprises. It may well be hazardous to your health to be buried in the sand, build sandcastles, or even to walk barefoot on it.

There is a lot of concern about the threat of global sea level rise and its effect on beaches. What can we do to protect them?

The belief that sea level rise threatens beaches is a widespread misconception that is both erroneous and dangerous. Sea level rise poses no threat whatsoever to a natural beach. Many of the world’s beaches have survived more than 100 meters of sea level rise since the end of the last Ice Age. Changing their shape and migrating landwards are the ways that beaches survive. However, when we try to hold them in place by building walls or pumping sand onto them we create insurmountable problems. Unable to move landwards, they become narrower and steeper, losing their value as natural defenses and ultimately disappearing. Pumping sand onto them isn’t the answer since it locks us into a never-ending cycle of beach replenishment. Into the bargain, it also destroys the ecosystem of the beach and from wherever the sand was dredged (offshore).

What is the worst-case scenario?

Florida takes that honor. There are hundreds of miles of high-rise-lined shorelines on both the east and west coasts of Florida. It is economically impossible to move them off the islands and, in any event, there is no place to move them. Seawall construction is increasing rapidly on these coasts and as sea level continues to rise, beach replenishment will become prohibitively costly. Eventually Florida’s beach communities will become like castles of old, completely surrounded by massive high walls with no beach in front of them.

What needs to change if we are to avoid the almost apocalyptic scenarios you describe?

At the moment, the approach to beaches is influenced by ignorance on the one hand and self-interest on the other. Raising awareness of how beaches work and how our activities impact them will help address the first issue. The second is more intractable. Beach users are far more numerous than beachfront property owners. This enormous silent majority, who undoubtedly will favor beach preservation over property, have less personal involvement in a beach and consequently their voices are less frequently heard than those of beachfront property owners and the engineers standing ready to oblige them with sea defenses. There are alternatives to defense. We can retreat from the shoreline and give beaches the space they need to survive. In the long run this will prove to be the only economical and environmental solution that benefits society as a whole.