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Hollie Johnson

Research Student, Faculty of Arts

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Research Summary

Current Status

PhD (full-time) - currently registered

Research Topic

Ecodystopia: Environmental Apocalypse and the Ecocidal Imagination

Research Summary

My project aims to carry out an ecocritical re-evaluation of literary dystopias that tracks the role of environmental concerns within the development of the genre. In particular, my thesis focuses upon the recent environmental turn of dystopian novels after 1950, thereby moving away from reductively anthropocentric scholarly accounts of dystopia. Instead, my project engages with the ongoing discussions around nature and environment with the specific aim of clarifying what an ecocritical approach can bring to the understanding of recent dystopian fiction. In the course of this exploration I will also be challenging existing definitions of the dystopian genre in order to locate how specifically environmental disaster narratives are located within this genre, and also how they problematize it.

By engaging with both critical work on dystopia and the developing field of ecocritical theory, my thesis aims to provide a new, original direction between these two fields. Ecocriticism is a relatively new theoretical area and critics continue to disagree strongly over its definition and aims. Equally, critics of literary dystopias continue to debate the characteristics and development of the genre. Indeed, the emergence of 'eco-dystopias' has further complicated such discussions. Despite the abundant recent critical attention surrounding both these areas, the intersection between them has received little attention, therefore my project addresses the lack of dialogue between these fields.

Research Interests

Research Supervisor/s

Primary Funding Source/s

  • AHRC Midlands3Cities Studentship

Conference Papers & Presentations

2015-2016:

  • '"Back to the Future": Predatory Capitalism and the Dystopian Cycle of Progress', ASLE-UKI Postgraduate Conference 'A Change of (S)cene: Reviewing Our Place in a New Geological Epoch', The University of Lincoln, 31/08/16
  • 'Borders under siege: Ecological dystopia and cyborg insurrections in Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl', Global Fantastika; Lancaster University, 05/07/16
  • 'Anarchy, Nostalgia, and Resistance: The Role of Nature in We, Brave New World, Nineteen Eighty-Four', CRSF Postgraduate Annual Conference; The University of Liverpool, 27/06/16
  • '"Constructed as in Crisis": Ecotopian Nightmares in J.G. Ballard's Rushing to Paradise', PCA/ACA (Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association) National Conference 2016; Shearton Seattle Hotel, Washington, 24/03/16
  • 'Climate Fiction and Ecodystopian Landscapes', M3C Research Festival; Nottingham Conference Centre, 12/05/16
  • 'Ecotopian Nightmares in J.G. Ballard's Rushing to Paradise', LINK15 Interdisciplinary Research Conference; East Midland's Conference Centre, University of Nottingham, 20/07/15

Scholarly / Public Engagement Activities:

Co-ordinator of the Landscape, Space, Place Research Group, University of Nottingham:

  • Involved in organising the 2015 annual symposium - 'There and Back again: An Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Workshop on Travel', 22nd June 2015.
  • Leading organiser for the 2016 annual symposium - 'Everywhere and Nowhere: An Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Symposium on Imagined Spaces', 20th June 2016.

LINK Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Conference (2015-2016):

  • Part of the inaugural LINK 15 committee.
  • Leading organiser for LINK 16, heading the committee alongside the SU Postgraduate Officer.

Additional Information

  • Seminar tutor for the first-year 'Studying Literature' module 2016-17.

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