Literary critic Ursula Heise discusses the construction of environmental & earth science narratives, the origins and perhaps misuse of apocalyptic environmental stories, and some of the ways she hopes environmental discourse proceeds in the Anthropocene – a term she finds deeply intriguing.
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Ursula Heise is a 2011-12 Guggenheim Fellow and Immediate Past President of the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment (ASLE). Her research and teaching focus on contemporary environmental culture, literature and art in the Americas, Western Europe and Japan. She specializes in contemporary American and European literature and literary theory; her major fields of interest are theories of modernization, postmodernization and globalization, ecology and ecocriticism, literature and science, narrative theory, science fiction, and media theory.
Aaron is interested in the controls and feedbacks of global change factors and the carbon cycle, in constraining and understanding the spatiotemporal variability of these dynamics, and how uncertainty about these mechanisms and their variability is treated by policies for accounting for flows of carbon across scales. He also studies the history, philosophy and sociology of the idea of anthropogenic impacts on natural ecosystems. His preliminary research focuses on continental shelf carbon cycling and the loss of carbon from terrestrial ecosystems through respiration and hydrological pathways.