Continuing on with the series of five technical papers on ecocriticism, I am pleased to offer this 2nd one: "Ecocriticism, Ecophobia and the Culture of Fear: Autobiographical Reflections" (Technical Paper 67). 

R. Michael Fisher

Technical Paper No. 67


Abstract – This second of five Technical Papers on ecocriticism, and in particular with a critical focus on discourse(s) on ecophobia (e.g., Estok’s “Hypothesis of Ecophobia”), is intended to assist the author and reader to integrate the basics from the postmodern field of ecocriticism. The author utilizes a brief autobiographical and historical ‘coming out’ as an early ecocritic and eventual academic critic of the larger phenomenon of the “culture of fear” as central to the author’s project (since 1989). He contends that despite not having accessed the ecocriticism scholarship over the past three decades or so, he has been attracted ‘naturally’ (from his late teens) to critiquing the very environmental and ecological (‘green’) movements he so loved. Though, mostly, he critiqued the mainstream society and media in how it depicted these movements. Within this autobiographical narrative the author brings in several theoretical guides (e.g., primary influence of the integral philosopher Ken Wilber) and shares his own theorizing on the “culture of fear” (and its critics), and ‘Fear’ Studies.   


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  • Dear Michael, 

    "... interesting and original indeed. There is certainly overlap in our work, and I'm grateful to you for reaching out and excited about the work you are doing. Fear, of course, is only a part of ecophobia. A hungry lion bounding toward me will undoubtedly generate fear, but that's not ecophobia. The operative word in most instances is 'irrational': ecophobia is often an irrational fear of nature. Even this, though, doesn't really work perfectly, since there are times when a quite rational fear of nature is associated with other things (e.g., homophobic violence). This very rational fear-by-association logically has to qualify as ecophobia (see chapter 1 of The Ecophobia Hypothesis which deals with that definitional explication. It will be out from Routledge in May or June 2018), and, judging from what I've read so far, you seem to have a pretty good handle on this stuff. 

    I like it that you touch on the matter of hardwiring and the amygdala in the "Invoking 'Fear' Studies" [2006 article, I read also]. I am increasingly interested in the biology of fear. Big topic. I like it also that you are so candid in your writing....[btw] I'm going to cite a few choice phrases from Technical Paper 67 for the introduction of my book."

    -Dr. Simon Estok (Nov. 16, 2017)

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