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A geography beyond the Anthropocene: Ursula Le Guin’s Always Coming Home as topophilia for survival

Garlick, Ben ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7257-0430 and King, Liesl (2022) A geography beyond the Anthropocene: Ursula Le Guin’s Always Coming Home as topophilia for survival. Cultural geographies.

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The science fiction of Ursula Le Guin deftly uses prose to conjure alternative worlds, societies, and cultures of nature amidst times of profound upheaval. Equally, her writing is suffused with quiet hope: the sense that we already possess the tools required to craft better futures, if only we paid better attention to the here and now. Across her work, Le Guin poses political and ethical questions about the value of, and our relationship to, the wider environment and the consequences that (may) lie in wait along our contemporary lines of flight. In Always Coming Home (1985), she excavates a possible future: a speculative cultural geography of life on earth that is both careful in its placing and caring of place. In this paper, we consider the space-times of this experimental ‘archaeology of the future’ and its imagined post-Anthropocene landscape. We explore how Le Guin’s non-linear, digressive, fragmentary writing mobilises the love of place (topophilia) to manifest an awareness of there being multiple, potential, situated articulations of life after the Anthropocene in tension with profound uncertainty over the earthly legacies of our current modes of existence.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/14744740221126984
Subjects: A General Works > AZ History of Scholarship The Humanities
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
P Language and Literature > PS American literature
School/Department: School of Humanities
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/6566

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