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    Writing the liquid city: excavating urban ecologies after Katrina

    Hartnell, Anna (2017) Writing the liquid city: excavating urban ecologies after Katrina. Textual Practice 31 (5), pp. 933-949. ISSN 0950-236X.

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    Water has long been a repressed aspect of the New Orleans landscape. Levees have artificially controlled not just the Mississippi but the vast network of canals and waterways that carve up the city. Floods are experienced as a traumatic intrusion. And yet New Orleans is sinking while the waters surrounding it continue to rise. This essay explores this partial cultural amnesia with regard to water through two key post-Hurricane Katrina texts: Benh Zeitlin’s film, Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012) and Moira Crone’s novelistic work of speculative fiction, The Not Yet (2012). I mobilize Zygmunt Bauman’s notion of liquid modernity as a way of thinking about this collapsed temporality, and contrast it with the liquid precarity on display in both texts due to rising sea levels. The essay suggests that both texts ultimately work against this amnesia and reintroduce a chronology that transcends the compartmentalised and short-term temporality that characterises neoliberal capitalism, and which fuels our blindness vis-à-vis climate change. Drawing on the New Orleans cultural archive, these narratives repudiate a violently forgetful liquid capitalism, and powerfully affirm materialised memories of what it means to live in time.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis, available online at the link above.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Climate change, fiction, neoliberalism, Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, water
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Research Centres and Institutes: Research in Environment and Sustainability, Centre for
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2017 14:31
    Last Modified: 09 May 2024 05:07


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