Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




Keith Leslie Johnson

Committee Members

Richard Lowry

Varun Begley

Monica Seger


My thesis takes J.G. Ballard’s first four novels as a set of case studies on how literature might respond to some of the problems posed by the Anthropocene. These texts have an immediate content-based relevance for ecological problems - and the historical coincidence of the texts within a period of exacerbated ecological tumult only strengthens that connection. I argue that in Ballard’s literature we find a response to catastrophe quite different from both the dominant humanist and anti-humanist tendencies characteristic of the 1960's and 70's. What we find instead as Ballard’s response to catastrophe is a unique brand of inhumanism. I seek to show the ways in which Ballard’s response to catastrophe is driven by an inhumanist desire to seek out and follow trajectories that lead one to a new relationship with the world rather than a reactionary desire to retain the status quo or revert to an earlier stage. In an attempt to synthesize Ballard’s theoretical inhumanism with his aesthetic representations of eco-catastrophe, I turned to what I considered to be “inhuman affects” – the uncanny, the weird, and the eerie. I argue that these inhuman affects might help to bridge the gap between the aesthetic and the theoretical when discussing literature and the Anthropocene.

On-Campus Access Only