An Ecotopian Lexicon

2019

Matthew Schneider-Mayerson and Brent Ryan Bellamy, Editors
Foreword by Kim Stanley Robinson

An Ecotopian Lexicon

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Presents thirty novel terms that do not yet exist in English to envision ways of responding to the environmental challenges of our generation

Proceeding from the notion that dominant Western cultures lack the terms and concepts to describe or respond to our environmental crisis, this collaborative volume of short, engaging essays offers ecologically productive terms to inspire responses to fossil-fueled neoliberal capitalism. Each of the thirty suggested “loanwords” helps us imagine how to adapt and even flourish in the face of socioecological adversity. 

 

"Part dream, part provocation ... (with) a wonky yet infectious hopefulness."
The New Yorker

As the scale and gravity of climate change becomes undeniable, a cultural revolution must ultimately match progress in the realms of policy, infrastructure, and technology. Proceeding from the notion that dominant Western cultures lack the terms and concepts to describe or respond to our environmental crisis, An Ecotopian Lexicon is a collaborative volume of short, engaging essays that offer ecologically productive terms—drawn from other languages, science fiction, and subcultures of resistance—to envision and inspire responses and alternatives to fossil-fueled neoliberal capitalism.

Each of the thirty suggested “loanwords” helps us imagine how to adapt and even flourish in the face of the socioecological adversity that characterizes the present moment and the future that awaits. From “Apocalypso” to “Qi,” “ ~*~ “ to “Total Liberation,” thirty authors from a range of disciplines and backgrounds assemble a grounded yet dizzying lexicon, expanding the limited European and North American conceptual lexicon that many activists, educators, scholars, students, and citizens have inherited. Fourteen artists from eleven countries respond to these chapters with original artwork that illustrates the contours of the possible better worlds and worldviews.

Contributors: Sofia Ahlberg, Uppsala U; Randall Amster, Georgetown U; Cherice Bock, Antioch U; Charis Boke, Cornell U; Natasha Bowdoin, Rice U; Kira Bre Clingen, Harvard U; Caledonia Curry (SWOON); Lori Damiano, Pacific Northwest College of Art; Nicolás De Jesús; Jonathan Dyck; John Esposito, Chukyo U; Rebecca Evans, Winston-Salem State U; Allison Ford, U of Oregon; Carolyn Fornoff, U of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Michelle Kuen Suet Fung; Andrew Hageman, Luther College; Michael Horka, George Washington U; Yellena James; Andrew Alan Johnson, Princeton U; Jennifer Lee Johnson, Purdue U; Melody Jue, U of California, Santa Barbara; Jenny Kendler; Daehyun Kim (Moonassi); Yifei Li, NYU Shanghai; Nikki Lindt; Anthony Lioi, Juilliard School of New York; Maryanto; Janet Tamalik McGrath; Pierre-Héli Monot, Ludwig Maximilian U of Munich; Kari Marie Norgaard, U of Oregon; Karen O’Brien, U of Oslo, Norway; Evelyn O’Malley, U of Exeter; Robert Savino Oventile, Pasadena City College; Chris Pak; David N. Pellow, U of California, Santa Barbara; Andrew Pendakis, Brock U; Kimberly Skye Richards, U of California, Berkeley; Ann Kristin Schorre, U of Oslo, Norway; Malcolm Sen, U of Massachusetts Amherst; Kate Shaw; Sam Solnick, U of Liverpool; Rirkrit Tiravanija, Columbia U; Miriam Tola, Northeastern U; Sheena Wilson, U of Alberta; Daniel Worden, Rochester Institute of Technology.
An Ecotopian Lexicon

Matthew Schneider-Mayerson is assistant professor of environmental studies at Yale–NUS College and author of Peak Oil: Apocalyptic Environmentalism and Libertarian Political Culture.

Brent Ryan Bellamy studies and teaches science fiction, American literature and cultures, and energy humanities and is coeditor of Materialism and the Critique of Energy.

Kim Stanley Robinson is the author of nineteen science fiction novels, including the Mars trilogy.

An Ecotopian Lexicon

Part dream, part provocation ... (with) a wonky yet infectious hopefulness.

The New Yorker

We understand that an era is ending, but we do not know what will happen after it. Maybe changing words from 70 thousand years ago helps us cope with reality.

Vogue Poland

A fascinating collection of non-English or newly invented words that impart something of the complexities of everyday life in an era of warming skies and oceans, mass degradation, precarity, and insecurity, each of which also helps map a possible future.

Science Magazine

They make the strange familiar, playing with language to thrust an underappreciated scientific reality to the forefront of our awareness.

Los Angeles Review of Books

The texts, which are written mostly by professorial types whose specialties include English literature, anthropology and environmental studies, range from the drearily academic to the gloriously weird. But the entries’ basic messages are: do not despair; be humble; get creative.

ArtReview Asia

An Ecotopian Lexicon is a fascinating, thought-provoking book. It’s worth a read.

The Weekly Anthropocene

An Ecotopian Lexicon

Contents

Foreword

Kim Stanley Robinson

Acknowledgments

Introduction: Loanwords to Live With

Brent Ryan Bellamy and Matthew Schneider-Mayerson

~*~

Melody Jue

Apocalypso

Sam Solnick

Blockadia

Randall Amster

Cibopathic

Daniel Worden

Dàtóng

Andrew Pendakis

Fotminne

Sofia Ahlberg

Ghurba

Allison Ford and Kari Marie Norgaard

Godhuli

Malcolm Sen

Gyebale

Jennifer L. Johnson

Heyiya

Michael Horka

Hyperempathy

Rebecca Evans

Ildsjel

Karen O’Brien and Ann Kristin Schorre

In Lak’ech—a la K’in

John Esposito

Metahumanism

Anthony Lioi

Misneach

Evelyn O’Malley

Portfolio

Nicolás de Jesús

Rirkrit Tiravanija

Swoon

Jonathan Dyck

Jenny Kendler

Lori Damiano

Michelle Fung

Yellena James

Natasha Bowdoin

Moonassi

Nikki Lindt

Kate Shaw

Susa Monteiro

Maryanto

Nahual

Carolyn Fornoff

Nakaiy

Kira Bre Clingen

Pa Theuan

Andrew Alan Johnson

Pachamama

Miriam Tola

Plant Time

Charis Boke

Qi

Yifei Li

Rén

Pierre Monot

Sehnsucht

Andrew Hageman

Shikata Ga Nai

Brent Ryan Bellamy and Sheena Wilson

Sila

Janet Tamalik McGrath

Solastalgia

Kimberly Skye Richards

Sueño

Robert Savino Oventile

Terragouge

Christopher Pak

Total Libertion

David Pellow

Watershed Discipleship

Cherice Bock

Contributors

Another Path

Greetings

Gyebale

Jennifer Lee Johnson

In Lak’ech—a la K’in

John Esposito

Resistance

Blockadia

Randall Amster

Ildsjel

Karen O’Brien and Ann Kristin Schorre

Metahumanism

Anthony Lioi

Terragouge

Chris Pak

Total Liberation

David N. Pellow

Dispositions

Apocalypso

Sam Solnick

Misneach

Evelyn O'Malley

Rén

Pierre Monot

Hyperempathy

Rebecca Evans

Shikata ga nai

Brent Ryan Bellamy and Sheena Wilson

Perception

Cibopathic

Daniel Worden

Godhuli

Malcolm Sen

Nakaiy

Kira Bre Clingen

Plant Time

Charis Boke

Desires

Sehnsucht

Andrew Hageman

Ghurba

Kari Norgaard and Allison Ford

Solastalgia

Kimberly Richards

Dàtóng

Andrew Pendakis

Sueño

Robert Savino Oventile

Beyond the Human

Nahual

Carolyn Fornoff

~*~

Melody Jue

Heyiya

Michael Horka

Fotminne

Sofia Ahlberg

Watershed Discipleship

Cherice Bock

Beyond “the Environment”

Qi

Yifei Li

Pa Theuan

Andrew Johnson

Pachamama

Miriam Tola

Sila

Tamalik McGrath