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Stories we live by: interdisciplinary approaches to address the ‘imagination deficit’ in Anthropocene thinking 
Tony Capstick (University of Reading)
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Alex Arnall (University of Reading)
Anthropocene thinking
Palmer 1.02
Thursday 29 June, -
Time zone: Europe/London

Short Abstract:

The role of human language remains underexplored vis a vis Anthropocene thinking. This panel will discuss the expansion of the emerging field of Ecolinguistics by exploring how human language operates not only in social contexts but also in wider ecological settings.

Long Abstract:

Since its declaration twenty years ago, the idea of the Anthropocene has given renewed emphasis to long-standing debates in Human Geography and related disciplines concerning the positioning of human society relative to the natural world. Enthusiasm for this revival, however, has not been universally shared. Scholars, for example, have expressed concern that the Anthropocene, as an essentialising, global idea, tends to undermine questions of politics, ethics, history, culture and literature in relation to environmental issues. The role of human language, in particular, remains underexplored vis a vis Anthropocene thinking. In recent years, Ecolinguistics has emerged as a way of trying to address this shortcoming, exploring how human language operates not only in social contexts but also in wider ecological settings. However, Ecolinguistics, as a particular subfield of Applied Linguistics, would benefit from the expansion of its analytical toolkit by incorporating key Anthropocene concepts from Human Geography such as ‘multinatures’, ‘socionature’ and ‘more-than-human’. This expansion would enable those working on Ecolinguistics to have a firmer footing when using concepts relating to the nonhuman, physical world while those working on environmental change will be in a stronger position to analyse language and discourse.

This panel will bring together scholars from across different disciplines to discuss such an expansion. They will respond to the question 'what approaches from the study of nature, climate change, language and discourse can be brought together to expand the field of Ecolinguistics thereby bridging some of the disciplinary boundaries that exist between Applied Linguistics and Human Geography?'

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 29 June, 2023, -