Through its alliance with postcolonial and global studies, ecocriticism focuses the critiques of political power, capital, and development on the ecological consequences of these global forces. This critical perspective has occasioned a wide reappraisal of the periodization and national focus that has dominated the study of literature and culture. While the critical language that characterizes current debates on the environment is the more recent product of scientific, philosophical, and cultural studies, writers and scholars of French and Italian have long depicted and studied the interconnections of nature and culture. From early modern intellectuals’ concern with ruins as tangible manifestations of the fractured course of human and natural history, to questions arising from postmodernist thought, French and Italian culture, literature, theory, cinema, and other creative media area continue to address environmental themes and issues.
The focus on ecocriticism complements our interdisciplinary strengths. Professors in French and Italian currently shape their work in Caribbean, Mediterranean, Gender, and Poststructural Studies from an ecocritical approach. In its historical awareness, openness to different media, and its use of quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis – especially digital tools with implications for the humanities – ecocriticism is a vital part of our French and Italian programs.