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From The New York Times to Time

Stephanie LeMenager

Stephanie LeMenager and the UO’s environmental humanities program continue to make waves in the national media.

Following on the heels of a recent feature in The New York Times, LeMenager, the new Professor Moore Endowed Chair in the English department, was interviewed by Time magazine. In the May 19 issue, reporter Lily Rothman provided a summer movie review with a twist — how the theme of environmental degradation emerges in blockbusters such as Godzilla.

The term for the genre is “cli-fi” — climate-based science fiction that forces audiences to confront environmental issues. LeMenager, who is at the forefront in researching and teaching environmental humanities, was sought out by Rothman for an explanation of how universities teach cli-fi. Here’s the excerpt of that part of the article:

The term started to gain traction in the past year, showing up in news reports and classrooms, where courses like Stephanie LeMenager’s graduate seminar The Cultures of Climate Change, at the University of Oregon, explore what’s behind the intuition that stories can make a difference.

There’s no shortage of nonfiction media on the topic — see the Showtime docuseries Years of Living Dangerously — but LeMenager says fiction has an advantage: hope.

“Literature always imagines a world elsewhere, even when it’s imagining this one. It’s a stimulant to a sense of possibility that is very hard to maintain given the facts of climate change,” she says. “In the world of fiction, no future is inevitable.”

— Matt Cooper

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