Sam is working on a PhD in English at West Virginia University, where he writes about how the agricultural practices of different places and times correspond with certain ways of conceptualizing the environment. His book manuscript, "Recovering the Georgic in the American Experiment," argues that the environmentalist movement is overinvested in the pastoral mode, which views the environment from the perspective of an alienated urban spectator, and tends to ignore the economic questions most important to addressing the environmental crisis. Instead, we should elevate practice of the georgic mode, which conceives of nature as a cultural space, from the perspective of an ethically-engaged laborer. The book's chapters analyze novels and poetry that show tensions between pastoral and georgic discourse at five moments key to the development of modern ecological consciousness: the 18th-century Scottish agricultural revolution; early American settlement; the Transcendentalist experiments at Brook Farm and Walden Pond; the rapid urbanization of Chicago; and finally the post-industrial experience of American Indians in the Far West. The book's conclusion seeks to point the way forward by exhibiting writers and communities performing successful recovery of georgic discourse and economy in the 21st-century.
The below articles are published or forthcoming in journals that plumb connections between literature, the humanities, ecology, and the environment. If you have any thoughts or comments, find us at market or shoot us an email!