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Mobilising post-war eco art history against the climate crisis

Christie, Edward Sebastian; (2023) Mobilising post-war eco art history against the climate crisis. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This thesis works to reform post-war eco art history in the light of the proliferation of critical discourse on the environment which has emerged in recent years in response to the wide acceptance of the Anthropocene thesis and the popularisation of climate activism. While the actions being mobilised by governments and corporations against the escalating planetary cataclysm continue to be severely inadequate, I suggest that transforming cultural infrastructure has the potential to lead the emergence of effective solutions to the crisis by galvanising the rise of a zeitgeist premised on social and environmental justice. Although these concerns are at the fore of contemporary eco art history, I argue that post- war eco art historians are yet to adequately confront how their discourse might be reimagined to maximise its value to combatting the ecological emergency. To the contrary, I maintain that the ethical integrity of conventional approaches to the subject are compromised in three main ways: by failing to tangibly support climate action; by instilling a conception of nature as separate from culture; and by reinforcing social inequality. Inverting these issues, I put forward a revised methodology which is driven by three fundamental principles: socio-environmental praxis, or the conviction that art history can and must play an important role in fostering a sustainable future; posthumanism, or awareness of the intrinsic interconnectivity of humanity and the environment; and inclusivity, or resistance to the various social biases which underpin the climate crisis. I exemplify how these principles might be applied to the field through five case studies, each of which represent a different intersection of social and environmental politics: Agnes Denes (feminism–environmentalism), Rasheed Araeen (anti-racism– environmentalism), Juan Downey (Indigenous activism–environmentalism), Derek Jarman (queer politics–environmentalism), and the Kyūshū-ha (anarchism–environmentalism).

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Mobilising post-war eco art history against the climate crisis
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2023. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of History of Art
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10182199
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