Global Literary Environments

This research focus examines the uses and representations of global environments in literature and film, and uses those under-examined spaces as the keys to examining the contradictions and ambivalences produced by spaces that are defined as international, and therefore paradigmatically “global”. Of special interest are those global environments that have been conceptualized as “global commons”. These are mostly ambivalent sites, because they are simultaneously conceived as social (including national) and as “wild” (as “out of social constraints”, or belonging to “nature” and therefore rightly shared by every human being).

At the crossroads of geography, ecocriticism, and comparative literature, this research focus addresses spaces that have been imagined regardless of nationality, and specifically those that have been imagined as “wild spaces” like oceans, woods, rivers, deserts, icescapes, or outer space. How have global environments been represented in literature? How does their condition as global spaces, many of them being legally designated as “global commons”, challenge the social structures determined by national states, and how does literature present these spaces as historically problematic in human interaction and cross-cultural conflict? How can those spaces challenge and advance our critical perspectives in Global Studies?

Lead researcher: Marta Puxan Oliva