In this exciting new collection, leading and emerging Lacanian scholars seek to understand what psychoanalysis brings to debates about the environment and the climate crisis. They argue that we cannot understand climate change and all of its multifarious ramifications without first understanding how our terrifying proximity to the real undergirds our relation to the environment, how we mistake lack for loss and mourning for melancholy, and how we seek to destroy the same world we seek to protect. The book traces Lacan's contribution through a consideration of topics including doomsday preppers, forest suicides, Indigenous resistance, post-apocalyptic films, the mathematics of climate science, and the relevance of Kant. They ask: What can you do if your neighbour is a climate change denier? What would Bartleby do? Does the animal desire? Who is cleaning up all the garbage on the internet? Why is the sudden greening of the planet under COVID-19 no help whatsoever?
It offers a timely intervention into Lacanian theory, environmental studies, geography, philosophy, and literary studies that illustrates the relevance of psychoanalysis to current social and environmental concerns.
"Lacan and the Environment is today's version of what Hegel called "infinite judgment," the assertion of the link between two dimensions which appear totally different. This outstanding volume throws a new light not only on Lacan but also on environmental issues: we cannot really understand ecology without taking into account all the fantasies that overdetermine our approach to this topic."
(Slavoj Žižek, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, UK)
"The defining crisis of our time is ecocide. Upending conventional distinctions between exterior and interior, psychoanalysis proves an unexpectedly rich resource for thinking and acting against destruction, displacement, and extinction. These smart, urgent essays consider a broad range of cultural contexts, illustrate the centrality of fantasy, desire, and symbolization to ecological transformation, and should inspire and terrify readers of many stripes."
(Anna Kornbluh, Department of English, University of Illinois, Chicago, USA)
"This brilliant edited volume not only reveals the environment to be an enduring theme in Lacan's oeuvre, but also rethinks and reworks Lacan environmentally, showing "nature" to be a site of both play and anxiety, interiority and radical externality, pleasure and pollution. Our study of the environment will never be the same."
(Ilan Kapoor, Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, York University, Canada)
About the Editors:
Clint Burnham is Chair of the Graduate Program and Professor of English at Simon Fraser University, and President of the Lacan Salon, Vancouver, Canada.
Paul Kingsbury is Professor of Geography and Associate Dean of the Faculty of Environment at Simon Fraser University, and Vice President of the Lacan Salon Vancouver, Canada.