Jemma Deer, Researcher-in-Residence at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society (Germany), talked about her book Radical Animism: Reading for the End of the World (Bloombury, 2020) in the Greenhouse environmental humanities book talk series on Monday, 15 February 2021.
In Radical Animism, Deer offers a new theory of animism for an age of environmental crisis, elaborated through innovative readings of classic and contemporary literary texts. The reckoning of climate change calls for us to fundamentally rethink our notions of human centrality, superiority and power. Drawing on a wide range of modern writers and thinkers – from Freud and Darwin to Latour and Derrida, from Shakespeare and Carroll to Woolf and Kafka – Radical Animism develops a new theory of life for a planet in crisis. In this original and timely work, Jemma Deer reframes our thinking of the Anthropocene with ideas from anthropology, astronomy, deconstruction, evolutionary biology, psychoanalysis, quantum physics and veganism. Through readings that are both inventive and compelling, this book shows how ‘literary animism’ – the active and transformative life of literature – can open our thinking to the immense power of the non-human world.