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Sarah France

Sarah France

Research project title

Before the End: Anticipating and Narrating Extinction in 21st-Century American Fiction

Supervisors

Dr Stacy Gillis, Dr Fionnghuala Sweeney and Professor Crawford Gribben (QUB)

Contact details

Email: s.france@newcastle.ac.uk

Research interests

  • contemporary literature and culture
  • speculative fiction
  • environmental humanities
  • feminist theory
  • narrative theory
tree without any leaves in the dessert

A brief outline of my research project

My research considers 21st-century American extinction novels as articulations of anticipatory mourning that respond to the existential threat of ecological catastrophe. I investigate the difficulty of narrating, considering, and grieving human extinction, and argue that these texts diverge significantly from both previous theological narratives of apocalypse, and recent post-apocalyptic imaginings of global disaster. By representing extinction as an imminent threat, these novels productively respond to the current environmental crisis by soliciting a confrontation with absolute mortality, thereby directing focus to questions of human responsibility and action that transcend other political considerations, owing to eco-catastrophe’s long-lasting and unprecedented impact. I direct attention to the epistemological difficulties of comprehending climate catastrophe and its distinctive grief responses, identifying the representational strategies used to process this grief, and their failure, arguing that the absence of satisfactory closure solicits the need for responsibility and action against environmental threat.

Research activities

My academic background

  • MA in English Literature (Newcastle University)
  • BA (Hons) in English Literature (Newcastle University)