Joshua Trey Barnett, Assistant Professor in Communication Arts & Sciences at Penn State (USA), discussed his book Mourning in the Anthropocene: Ecological Grief and Earthly Coexistence (Michigan State University Press, 2022) in the Greenhouse environmental humanities book talk series on Monday, 31 October 2022, at 16:00 in Norway. NOTE: This is 11:00 US Eastern/10:00 Central/9:00 Mountain/8:00 Pacific because of the end of Daylight Savings in Europe before its end in the US.
Enormous ecological losses and profound planetary transformations mean that ours is a time to grieve beyond the human. Yet, Joshua Trey Barnett argues in this eloquent and urgent book, our capacity to grieve for more-than-human others is neither natural nor inevitable. Weaving together personal narratives, theoretical meditations, and insightful readings of cultural artifacts, he suggests that ecological grief is best understood as a rhetorical achievement. As a collection of worldmaking practices, rhetoric makes things matter, bestows value, directs attention, generates knowledge, and foments feelings. By dwelling on three rhetorical practices—naming, archiving, and making visible—Barnett shows how they prepare us to grieve past, present, and future ecological losses. Simultaneously diagnostic and prescriptive, this book reveals rhetorical practices that set our ecological grief into motion and illuminates pathways to more connected, caring earthly coexistence.