New Books in Environmental Studies

Interviews with Environmental Scientists about their New Books


episode 242: M. Schneider-Mayerson and B. R. Bellamy, "An Ecotopian Lexicon" (U Minnesota Press, 2019)

By choice or not, the catastrophes of global warming and mass extinction task young generations with reorienting human relationships with the earth’s systems, resources, and lifeforms. The extractavist mindset that promised prosperity in the 20th century now spells doom in the 21st and leaves us unprepared to live on a damaged planet. Into this space academics have birthed a dizzying number of tongue-twisting neologisms, but editors Matthew Schneider-Mayerson and Brent Ryan Bellamy provide us with the welcome reminder that human societies are already rich in intellectual resources for such transformation.

Accordingly, An Ecotopian Lexicon (University of Minnesota Press, 2019) explores dozens of possible loanwords from world cultures, activists subcultures, and speculative fiction that can inform novel quotidian practices, cosmological insights, and political orientations applicable to the age of the Anthropocene. With short readable and eloquent essays that elaborate each term and its possible uses without heavy-handed jargon, this book serves as an excellent bridge between the academic and non-academic thinkers seeking a new vocabulary for a reimagined world.

Lance C. Thurner teaches history at Rutgers Newark.  His research and writing address the production of knowledge, political subjectivities, and racial and national identities in eighteenth and nineteenth-century Latin America. He is broadly interested in the methods and politics of applying a global perspective to the history of science and medicine and the role of the humanities in the age of the Anthropocene. More at

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 2019-12-27  45m