Coming into Contact
Explorations in Ecocritical Theory and Practice

Edited by Annie Merrill Ingram, Ian Marshall, Daniel J. Philippon, and Adam W. Sweeting

A second wave of ecocritics explores the field's boundaries, its engagement with environmental practice, and its relationship to the natural sciences


"This exciting new collection of cutting-edge ecocritical essays is rich with diligent scholarship and passionate social commentary. These essays show the continuing vibrancy, good humor, analytical acuity, and activist commitment that have always characterized this field, while adding new theoretical subtlety."
—Scott Slovic, University of Nevada, Reno

"Coming into Contact plays at the rich, diverse, productive edges of ecocritical theory and praxis as it effectively opens the field of literature-and-environment studies to dynamic new approaches and international literatures. Contributors to the volume map multicultural literatures from India to Japan to America and chart previously unexamined places including swamps, internment camps, and sites of cultural displacement. Readers, writers and scholars will find ground-shifting new discussions of the precautionary principle, ecological restoration, global biosurveillance, biological taxonomy, geology and evolutionary biology right alongside compelling explication of how we might use the concept of recycling in the composition classroom and why songs about lynching in the segregated South will forever alter our understanding of pastoral theory. These essays boldly and assuredly take their place among those included in The Ecocriticism Reader and Beyond Nature Writing as they afford readers, writers, and scholars a deeper understanding of the contributions ecocriticism has made and is making to disciplines both inside and outside the humanities."
—Joni Adamson, Arizona State University at the Polytechnic Campus

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A snapshot of ecocriticism in action, Coming into Contact collects sixteen previously unpublished essays that explore some of the most promising new directions in the study of literature and the environment. They look to previously unexamined or underexamined aspects of literature's relationship to the environment, including swamps, internment camps, Asian American environments, the urbanized Northeast, and lynching sites. The authors relate environmental discourse to practice, including the teaching of green design in composition classes, the restoration of damaged landscapes, the persuasive strategies of environmental activists, the practice of urban architecture, and the impact of human technologies on nature.

The essays also put ecocriticism into greater contact with the natural sciences, including elements of evolutionary biology, biological taxonomy, and geology. Engaging both ecocritical theory and practice, these authors more closely align ecocriticism with the physical environment, with the wide range of texts and cultural practices that concern it, and with the growing scholarly conversation that surrounds this concern.

Page count: 288 pp.
Trim size: 6 x 9


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Annie Merrill Ingram is professor of English and coordinator of Environmental Studies at Davidson College. Ian Marshall, the author of Story Line, Peak Experiences, and Walden by Haiku (Georgia) is a professor of English and coordinator of the environmental studies program at Pennsylvania State University, Altoona. Daniel J. Philippon, the author of Conserving Words (Georgia), is an associate professor of rhetoric at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Adam W. Sweeting, the author of Beneath the Second Sun and Reading Houses and Building Books, is an associate professor of humanities at Boston University, College of General Studies.