An Ecotopian Lexicon



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

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; Nicol s De Jes s; 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-H li 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.

Product Details

$24.95  $22.95
University of Minnesota Press
Publish Date
October 22, 2019
6.0 X 1.5 X 8.0 inches | 1.19 pounds
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About the Author

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.


"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