Agriculture | English Language and Literature | Plant Sciences


“For anyone who might be suffering from Anthropocene fatigue, this is a book to jolt you from your slumbers. What happens to the globe when we shift attention from the outward projection of emissions to extraction ? The Earth we thought we knew, and were already mourning, takes on a stunning new critical light.”—Claire Colebrook, Pennsylvania State University

Exterranean concerns the extraction of stuff from the Earth, a process in which matter goes from being sub- to exterranean. By bringing a rich archive of nonmodern texts and images from across Europe, into conversation with the contemporary work of Bruno Latour, Michel Serres, and a range of interdisciplinary work in the environmental humanities, this work offers a bracing riposte to several critical trends in ecological thought.

By shifting emphasis from emission to extraction, Usher reorients our perspective away from Earthrise-like globes and shows what is gained by opening the planet to depths within. Both historicist and speculative in approach, Exterranean eschews the self-congratulatory claims of posthumanism and lays the groundwork for a comparative ecocriticism that reaches across periods and languages.

Phillip John Usher is Associate Professor of French and Comparative Literature at New York University.



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