Anticipatory Environmental (Hi)Stories from Antiquity to the Anthropocene studies the interplay of environmental perception and the way societies throughout history have imagined the future state of “nature” and the environments in which coming generations would live. What sorts of knowledge were and are involved in outlining future environments? What kinds of texts and narrative strategies were and are developed and modified over time? How did and do scenarios and narratives of the past shape (hi)stories of the future? This book answers these questions from a diachronic as well as a cross-cultural perspective. By looking at a diverse range of historical evidence that transcends stereotypical utopian and dystopian visions and allows for nuanced insights beyond the dichotomous reservoir of pastoral motifs and apocalyptic narratives, the contributors illustrate the multifaceted character of environmental anticipation across the ages.
Christopher Schliephake is senior lecturer in ancient history at the University of Augsburg.
Evi Zemanek is full professor of comparative media studies at the Institute for Media and Cultural Studies, University of Freiburg.
Introduction: Anticipating Environmental Futures Beyond Pastoral and Apocalyptic Visions
Christopher Schliephake and Evi Zemanek
Part I. Dialogues Between Times and Places
Chapter 1. Experience and Expectations: Hesiod on Work, Justice, and Environment
Chapter 2. Ancient Geographies of Health and Environmental Acumen: An Anticipatory Narrative in Galen (Method of Healing V, 12)
Chapter 3. The Past Is a Foreign Environment: Some Observations on Roman Wetland Drainage in Ancient and Modern Discourse
Chapter 4. Future Imperfect in Edmund Spenser’s The Shepheardes Calender (1579)
Diana G. Barnes
Chapter 5. Retrospective Prophecy in Contemporary Maya Literature: Chim Bacab’s Flower of Memory
Charles M. Pigott
Part II. Extinction and Conservation
Chapter 6. Feeling Like a Species: The Environmental Future in Lucretius
Chapter 7. Anticipating Multispecies Thinking in Plutarch’s Animal Treatises
Chapter 8. William Temple Hornaday’s Haunting Vision of a Wildlife Apocalypse
Gregory J. Dehler
Chapter 9. Anticipating Extinction: Mammoths, Elephants, and the Late-19th-Century Ivory Trade
Rebecca J. H. Woods
Chapter 10. Narrating Civilizational Collapse in the Anthropocene: Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway’s The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future (2014)
Part III. Urban Environments
Chapter 11. Sensing Noise, Sensing Space: Environmental Perceptions and the Impact on Future Urban Space in Germany and the United Kingdom (1900–1930)
Chapter 12. The Arcologies of Paolo Soleri: Unbuilt Futures from the Past
Serge Leopold Middendorf
Chapter 13. Utopia’s User Interface: Geoengineering, Smart Cities, and Glass Life in Niklas Maak’s Novel Technophoria
Helga G. Braunbeck
Part IV. Climate(s) and Materialities
Chapter 14. Solastalgia, Future Memory, and Polluted Landscapes in Lucan’s Bellum Civile 7
Chapter 15. Nuclear Winter: Science, Fiction, and Temporal Violence
Chapter 16. ‘Nature in Order’ or Human Agency? Visions of the Future in the Long Nineteenth-Century Newspaper Climate Change Discourse
Chapter 17. Explaining Climate Change and Predicting Its Impacts: The Popularization of Brückner’s Theory on Climate Variations as an Anticipatory Narrative
Chapter 18. Ecology in a Loop: Cyclical History and Alternative Epistemologies in Ella Hickson’s Oil
Martin Riedelsheimer and Leila Michelle Vaziri
About the Contributors
"This is a rich and thought-provoking collection of essays. It sheds new light on the long history of thinking about environmental futures in a huge range of different periods and contexts. In the process, it opens up some promising future pathways for the environmental humanities."
"Edited by leading environmental scholars Schliephake and Zemanek, this volume explores in an impressive range of contributions from various disciplines the manifold ways in which environmental futures were envisioned across periods and cultures from antiquity to the present. The collection moves beyond the established genres of pastoral and apocalyptic futures, opening up fascinating new insights into a history of ecological thought as an intertwined history of environmental memory and anticipatory imagination. Highly recommended."
“This book adds a vital new dimension to environmental humanities scholarship. Using a wide range of case studies—from the Mayan Empire to the ancient Mediterranean, woolly mammoths in Siberia to bison in the modern United States—that span chronological and disciplinary boundaries, Anticipatory Environmental (Hi)Stories tackles one of the great challenges of our time: how to imagine the future of humanity in response to climate change. Essential reading for anyone wishing to better understand how conceptions of time, place, community, nature, and technology will shape our futures in the twenty-first century.”