Peer Reviewed

Exclusive to M/m Print Plus

Troubling Modernism at Community College during the Sixth Extinction

“How are we not all talking about this?” a student unmuted to ask in an environmental change-themed writing course, their voice rising to add, “It’s so relevant to what’s going on.” We had just finished reviewing a 2009 profile of climate scientist James Hansen written by Elizabeth Kolbert via then-unfamiliar webinar technology adopted during the first wave of the pandemic.[1] With a New York Times long read about climate migration, Kolbert’s essay formed the first module of a freshman writing seminar I designed in Fall 2020 that culminated with E. M. Forster’s speculative short story, “The Machine Stops” (1909).[2] The first shock of the pandemic was over and students had been reading up: they already knew that climate crises are expected to make pandemics worse, and were eager to discuss where arts and how the humanities fit into such projected futures. I came to the semester with a narrower question about whether and how modernist studies fits in community college curriculum, and this piece is a reflection on those experiences and a call to make certain disciplinary moves. Historicization tempered with presentism, close readings and attention to aesthetics that lead to discussions beyond the literary—such pedagogic conversations are essential based on my experiences with non-majors reaching towards modernist texts, and I urge that we include them in our broader critical repertoires. MSA has already been a forum where scholars have called to “democratize modernism,” which means in part to embrace research in the classroom initiatives for non-majors, introducing first- and second-year students to Forster, D. H. Lawrence, T. S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, and so on, in courses where we also discuss environmental changes, climate crises, global politics, and the Sixth Extinction. I expected students in introductory courses might be jaded about writing from a century or more ago, but instead, they read keenly and were angry. As a group, they could not believe how little we talk about environmental catastrophes outside the classroom. They enthused about the prescience of modernist texts, noting the outrage of an ecocritical Lawrence and the acute social imagination of Forster’s queer sci-fi. The connections they made electrifies my sense of modernist studies. Our research already feeds our teaching, but what if we allow teaching to more explicitly fuel modernist studies?

This cluster responds to the felt need from my classroom experiences: what can, and should, modernism contribute in dire environmental scenarios? Our editors ask in their introduction how modernism might help us approach environmental difficulties that are so incremental that we do not entirely grasp how devastating they really are. In another Print Plus article, Anne Raine has speculated about what modernist teaching and critical practice might look like when foregrounding climate crises.[3] Raine’s piece implies that how we teach modernist texts differs from how we speak critically about them; when writing, we seem to adhere to an implied hierarchy of ideas, what does and does not belong in literary criticism, while with students, we more readily embrace speculative, open-ended connections that are no less literary than the ones we publish. When my hesitations about presentism melt away, modernist texts prove to be robust sites from where to understand their own particular contexts and to explore our own pressing concerns—aesthetic, historical, planetary.

With the awareness of the Sixth Extinction pressing on us, I suggest that we talk about climate change and species extinction in every possible context, both when the references are direct and clear (as my cluster colleagues do) and also indirectly, obscurely, making leaps of association that might not neatly connect. That famous Forsterian epigraph is, after all, wrapped in quotation marks and followed by an ellipsis; “Only connect . . .” makes no demand for success or failure of our critical enterprises beyond the imperative to try.[4] Let us trouble modernism by teaching it more, and writing about it more, alongside our awareness of climate crises. As this cluster of essays shows, there are plenty of modernist texts that reflect environmental concerns directly, if ambivalently. As so much of modernist literature is about doubting, questioning, rejecting, speculating, and taking up seemingly nonsensical and contrarian positions that are fiercely defended by our protagonists, let such texts be our entryways into environment-minded discussions, too.

One way to do more with the fertile associative qualities of modernism is to read familiar texts after, and through, contemporary literature and theory. Two such pieces that have been useful in my classroom purposes are a sci-fi short story by Junot Díaz, “Monstro” (2012) and a long interview of Donna Haraway and Anna Tsing,  “Reflections on the Plantationocene.”[5] In “Reflections,” Haraway and Tsing point to several different research projects in anthropology and the biosciences to show that human, usually western, colonial and capitalist ecological destruction has worsened the sixth extinction and compounded environmental crises caused by a warming planet. Drawing on Deborah Bird Rose’s research on Australian Aboriginal thinkers from the Yarralin community, Haraway distinguishes between having hope and “keeping heart,” suggesting that the second phrase denotes an act of holding sobering knowledge about planetary destruction together with “a certain capacity for play and joy” that has to be integral to our future as a species (17). Haraway sees “the present as a thick, complex tangle of times and places” that informs our “capacities to respond” to the future (17). There is not much distance between Haraway and Tsing’s or Díaz’s perspectives and a modernist studies one. Modernism asks for a critical expansion of our capacity to respond as readers. As Shalini Sengupta writes, the experimental and obscure aspects of this literature have led to a large body of scholarly work on modernist difficulty that hinges on the idea that such encounters enlarge our critical capacities as scholars. Studies of modernist anxiety, boredom, and vagueness are part of our scholarly apparatus, and we are trained to understand such putatively negative qualities as valuable interrogations of human experiences through literary means. More broadly still, modernist literature can expand our imaginative and emotional “capacities to respond” to which Haraway and Tsing point, historically and aesthetically challenging us to rethink our habitual responses to feelings of exhaustion, overwhelm, and ineffectiveness vis-à-vis climate crises.[6] 

In what follows, I discuss my classroom experiences with D. H. Lawrence’s short story, “The Woman who Rode Away” (1925) and Forster’s “The Machine Stops” in detail to show how my students and I made sense of their dystopian views of human progress. Forster and Lawrence do not concern themselves with environmental crises directly, but their uses of modernist literary techniques increase in significance when juxtaposed against nonfictional treatises like the Haraway and Tsing piece, or Amitav Ghosh’s The Great Derangement. Such comparisons trouble the established disciplinary limits of modernist studies in provocative and exciting ways.  

Modernist Affect and Exits from “the individualizing imaginary

The sixth extinction is coextensive with climate change, and these planetary processes are intimately interrelated and exacerbated by human activity. Scientists and policymakers since James Hansen have used the term “dangerous anthropogenic interference,” or DAI, as a shorthand for many types of human activity that heighten or worsen cyclical planetary cycles of warming and cooling and the resulting changes to human and nonhuman life.[7] DAIs are activities that are largely normalized by commercial and governmental interests, such as mining for minerals or carbon emissions from factories, and climate scientists spend significant energy convincing regulatory bodies including the UN to adopt standards that call for a reduction in such activities and changes to the economic status quo. DAIs exist by definition at the border of the dangerous and the acceptable in human activity, and there is considerable tension between scientists, businesses, the government, activists, and other vested interests over what constitutes as dangerous to human and nonhuman lives.

Thinking symbolically—the way we might within a classroom—the concept of DAIs gestures tantalizingly towards a connection with modernist studies that transcends academic silos within which we tend to think. While DAIs traditionally bring to mind dangerous chemical emissions, mines that destroy the local habitat, and so on, we might also symbolically locate DAIs in well-known modernist texts. Joyce’s Stephen Dedalus, Woolf’s Rachel Vinrace, Barnes’s Robin Vote, Rhys’s Antoinette Cosway, Beckett’s Krapp do not care about climate change directly, but they understand normative social behaviors as deeply disruptive and even destructive to their internal environments. In this section, I pause with this idea—that even though Eurocentric modernist protagonists are often attuned to themselves instead of the wider world and traditional modernist texts tend to privilege the individual over larger concerns with the environment, their resistance to what is common, unquestioned, and taken for granted in daily life attunes their readers to noticing dangerous interferences on prosaic and symbolic levels. As such, we might use the habits of questioning and doubt that informs much of modernist output to understand specific textual circumstances as well as to disrupt what Amitav Ghosh calls the “individualizing imaginary” of the mainstream twentieth century novel.[8]

In The Great Derangement (2016), Ghosh writes that we are “deranged” for not taking climate change more seriously, and the typical reader is unable to imagine the climate as important in part because our fiction is so rooted in short-term anthropocentric concerns. The dearth of stories about climate catastrophes, and the tendency outside avant-garde circles to reiterate the pathetic fallacy when writing about nature, means that a general reader remains blind to the connections between the current sixth extinction, climate crises, and historical political and economic actions. Well-known contemporary activists like Greta Thunberg and Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, biologist Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, and ecologist Kristina Anderson-Teixeira also emphasize a similar point about radically freeing our collective imagination and argue that “climate-proofing” for the future is fundamentally a call for envisioning anti-colonial, social, and racial justice.[9] Ghosh surveys popular fiction from bestseller lists of the twentieth century to insist upon an ongoing mass imaginative failure with respect to climate crises, despite the large body of experimental and science fiction and media that is concerned with human progress and destruction of the planet. He writes that although there are “manifestations of a general sense of anxiety and foreboding in the literature of [modernity],” and twentieth-century writers were “becoming more engagé on many fronts,” too few writers “communicated a more specific sense of the accelerating changes in our environment” and most remained “just as unaware of the crisis on our doorstep as the population at large” (The Great Derangement, 124–25). Ghosh’s urgency is palpable, and he is echoed by the popular Norwegian author Jo Nesbø, who notes a similar gap in mainstream TV and movie culture.[10] And it’s a new, only-after-2020 experience to see Elizabeth Outka’s Viral Modernism pop up in forums like Slate, NPR, CBS News, even The Lancet, besides here in Modernism/modernity.[11] We might thus conditionally agree with Ghosh and Nesbø that fiction and criticism can do more to connect the impact of human actions upon the planet to urgent concerns about our futures.

Modernist studies thrives on affect, and though Ghosh does not find affect to be particularly effective as a political tool calling for environmental action, it works well in classrooms to encourage students to think broadly about the resonances of fictional imagery. For instance, in one session on D. H. Lawrence’s short stories, students were struck by the opening of “The Woman Who Rode Away,” whose second paragraph describes the titular woman’s reaction when she sees her husband’s prosperous silver mines:

When she actually saw what he had accomplished, her heart quailed. Great green-covered, unbroken mountain-hills, and in the midst of the lifeless isolation, the sharp pinkish mounds of the dried mud from the silver-works. Under the nakedness of the works, the walled-in, one-storey adobe house, with its garden inside, and its deep inner verandah with tropical climbers on the sides. And when you looked up from this shut-in flowered patio, you saw the huge pink cone of the silver-mud refuse, and the machinery of the extracting plant, against heaven above. No more.[12]

Here, Lawrence uses his heroine’s perspective to pivot from an accepted view of social success—her husband’s wealth—to the havoc wreaked by the extractive economy that he represents, and which she quickly flees. Ghosh might find that “No more” ending the paragraph insufficient, preferring that Lawrence had written a screed about the ills of mining instead of an odd and problematic story about a settler-colonial trying to locate an impossible idyll of purity. My students recognized the implicit racism in the Woman’s attempt to flee modernity and join a village of Native Americans, but they found that opening passage propulsive. The final “[n]o more” points to real DAIs on the landscape of the American Southwest and functions as a narrative refusal of ordinarily accepted standards of power and wealth. They used this to turn our discussion towards questions always on their minds: where and how will we make our lives? What work will we do? What remains of the planet for us?

Explicitly making space for questions pertaining to students’ everyday lives makes an environmentally aware modernist classroom a more equity-minded space. Climate activists repeatedly note that climate change affects poorer communities more than privileged ones and that countries in the global south have to pay, through the destruction of their homes and livelihoods, for decades of excesses and overconsumption by citizens of the global north. Modernist Anglophone literature and culture are informed by such hierarchies of power and dominion and studying stories like “The Woman” in courses for non-majors creates opportunities for students who are not specialists to unpack texts in fresh ways. Literature and literary studies cannot solve problems of inequity, but we do not have to perpetuate them in how we research and teach. One of the ways that we might mitigate the impact of broader social ills within our classroom is by asking students to consider how textual elements can be analogous to DAIs, and analyzing how individual narratives can sensitize us for discussions about climate crises that extend beyond the specific concerns of the author.

Ghosh’s emphasis on the limits of the mainstream novel’s “individualizing imaginary” is particularly useful to throw into relief moments when a mildly experimental modernist novel like Forster’s A Passage to India (1924) moves away from human perspectives, and encourages a critical movement towards climate conversations via discussions of colonial history. In another seminar for non-majors titled “Colonialism in Twentieth-Century Literature and Film,” I used a chapter from Ghosh’s book to address the tangled question of climate change, colonialism and decolonialization that led to a robust conversation in a seminar that was not directly about the climate at all. Students were fascinated by Ghosh’s claims about how imperialism impacted the development of the global carbon economy. Our conversation returned to a theoretical reading on defining colonialism from earlier in the semester that detailed strategies of resistance and revolt to settler colonialism by indigenous philosophers.[13] Someone brought up the protests at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access Pipeline, and another student mentioned the impact of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico. Later, in end-semester reflections, students recalled their experience of that novel—its strangely echoing caves that distort human sounds and actions, its opening and closing emphases on the sky and earth—through our climate change conversation. Now, when I revisit Forster’s allusive final lines I cannot but hear them as both a comment on colonialism and one that gestures towards the unequal ecological costs borne by colonized communities and spaces:

“Why can’t we be friends now?” . . . the horses didn’t want it—they swerved apart; the earth didn’t want it, sending up rocks through which riders must pass single file; the temples, the tank, the jail, the palace, the birds, the carrion, the Guest House, that came into view as they issued from the gap and saw Mau beneath: they didn’t want it, they said in their hundred voices, “No, not yet,” and the sky said, “No, not there.” (Forster, A Passage to India, 362)

There cannot be “friendship” between nations or people with extremely unequal expectations of climate insecurity. Like Lawrence’s “No more,” Forster’s animals, earth, and sky register a protest that goes beyond anthropocentric political analyses. In this, they reach past where the individual author stopped.

In obvious ways such as by designing courses that are centrally about “the accelerating changes in our environment,” as well as through oblique and partial interventions such as the ones I describe here, we might use modernist studies to “find a way out of the individualizing imaginary in which we are trapped” (Ghosh, The Great Derangement, 124, 135). As Woolf urges in a now famous passage from “Modern Fiction”: “[L]et us trace the pattern, however disconnected and incoherent in appearance, which each sight or incident scores upon the consciousness. Let us not take it for granted that life exists more fully in what is commonly thought big than in what is commonly thought small.”[14] The new modernist studies has worked hard over the last decade and more to question the givens of literary studies, moving away from static center-periphery paradigms to reinterpret literary networks of influence and exchange. Let us use the opportunities provided by our favorite texts to move beyond a cultural emphasis on individualizing imaginaries and seek, with our students, ways to re-place ourselves on this planet.

Modernist Science Fiction and Intersectional Environmental Activism

Making room in a modernist studies class for climate conversations can have unanticipated benefits. Tracing the connections between older texts and our present conditions, “however disconnected and incoherent in appearance” as Woolf urges, allows us to fruitfully apply a classroom technique to literary criticism. In this final section, I present a reading of Forster’s “The Machine Stops” that arises from discussions with students before and during the pandemic. Reading the story in the context of an ongoing bioscientific emergency added urgency and depth to our literary conversations, and is an example of how teaching experiences shape my critical perspective on Forster’s writing.

“The Machine Stops” is about the relationship between Kuno, a free-spirited son, and his mother, Vashti, a conventional woman so well adapted to the mental and physical limitations of life in an underground dystopian society that she feels only deep fear at her son’s desire to defy authority, think differently, and travel to the surface of the Earth, which is generally presumed to be a toxic wasteland. Their underground society is sustained by a proto computer, the Machine, which cleans the air, regulates temperatures, and appears to control every aspect of physical life, from providing food to adjusting the height of the furniture when people sit or recline. Traditional family units no longer exist, children are raised in communal nurseries after birth, and Kuno wants to be a parent but has been deemed by a shadowy all-powerful committee as too radical to be permitted fatherhood. Forster’s small body of sci-fi writing has been discussed by literary critics for its queer elements, and the regimentation of human reproduction shown in “The Machine Stops” holds out a seductive invitation to rethink familial structures in a queer universe that is made available through Kuno’s frustrations and objections.[15] Crucially, “The Machine Stops” is also a parable about human society coping with planetary catastrophes such as the sixth extinction.

“The Machine Stops” opens in a world that, since March 2020, resonates somewhat differently than in pre-pandemic times:

Imagine, if you can, a small room, hexagonal in shape, like the cell of a bee. It is lighted neither by window nor by lamp, yet it is filled with a soft radiance. There are no apertures for ventilation, yet the air is fresh. There are no musical instruments, and yet, at the moment that my meditation opens, this room is throbbing with melodious sounds. An armchair is in the centre, by its side a reading-desk — that is all the furniture. And in the armchair there sits a swaddled lump of flesh — a woman, about five feet high, with a face as white as a fungus. It is to her that the little room belongs. (1)

Even before the pandemic reduced most pedagogic interactions to small rectangular boxes on a tiny screen similar to the glowing “round plate” in Vashti’s hands, my students recognized this fictional world as very like our own (1). Vashti’s character is riddled with recognizable conflicting impulses: to speak with thousands, to continually learn esoteric things, while remaining essentially incurious about unmediated experience. She is fearful of stepping outside her little beehive or looking out of the window of her airplane when she visits Kuno. Belonging to the community and accepting its control organizes every aspect of her life and intellectual activities. In this acquiescence as well as the technology that Forster imagines, the fictional world is not unlike our own. 

Students connected Forster’s Machine to present-day big tech companies that collect our data and serve up our needs so inescapably. Some students had seen WALL-E (2008) and Downsizing (2017) and picked up connections between Forster’s dystopic vision and our reality—the surprise was not that he accurately imagined our world more than a century in advance, but that his worries about society were so similar to ours. In an expanded version of this teaching module or critical exegesis, Alexis Pauline Gumbs’s M Archive (2018) would work well as an interlocutor for “Machine Stops,” because her genre-bending sci-fi prose poem mirrors and expands the latent possibilities of Forster’s text.[16] M Archive brings together ecological collapse, Black despair, indigenous feminist revival, and anti-racist pedagogy—elements of which are implicit but underexamined in Forster’s story.

Forster presents species extinction and ecological collapse as the result of drastically narrowed individual imaginations and large-scale political control—the shadowy committee that built and maintained the Machine (until it becomes defunct and collapses) also dictates citizens’ movements, legislates whether they become parents, and efficiently expels dissidents to the supposedly toxic surface, turning them into the “Homeless” whom Kuno spies upon and admires from afar. Kuno’s rejection of DAIs that impede his freedom have become even more resonant after our pandemic experiences. For example, Kuno redefines space in terms of his own body: “‘Near’ is a place to which I can get quickly on my feet . . . ‘Far’ is a place to which I cannot get quickly on my feet” (11). During the strictest weeks of the lockdown, our own circuits were reduced to such literality when the subways and buses stopped, flights were grounded, and even cars vanished from city streets. I then understood with startling bodily recognition why Kuno hates the Machine, as my impulses to be safe, responsible, and free to roam threatened to turn on each other. I was not alone in my obsessions—a student who had read “The Machine Stops” a semester before emailed me with similar observations about how closely their quarantine experiences mirrored Kuno’s fearful restlessness.

Then, George Floyd’s murder and incessant racial violence sent many of these same students, masked but determined, out into the streets to protest police brutality, and, once more, Kuno’s physical need to defy the Machine came to mind. “You are throwing civilization away,” Vashti rails at her son, trying to keep him indoors and underground and safe (12–13). In the story, Kuno brushes off her paralyzed adherence to the familiar. Led by an indistinct image of an iconic “her,” a Homeless woman he glimpsed being killed by deadly worms on the surface of the Earth, Kuno can no longer believe in the extant version of “civilization.” Given the real and virtual conversations I have had with students in this period and afterwards, I wonder how many of us are experiencing similar states of turmoil and profound unrest. In June 2020, students at my school demanded support for their outrage from the institution and their instructors. Like students across the country, they troubled what and how we teach, and not unrelatedly, the Black Lives Matter movement demands equitable climate action.[17] Students emphasized connections between Forster’s queer modernist vision and our current calls for racial and climate justice against the normalized status quo. Forster’s literary decision to use the frame of an unnamed narrator who relates the story about Kuno and Vashti (both of whom are already dead when the story begins), led to conversations about who survives the final conflagration at the end of “The Machine Stops.” The collapse of the Machine collapses the unseen hierarchies of power that sustained that caged society—powerful or not, the underground destruction torches them all. Kuno had earlier told his mother about the exiled Homeless, who had been driven above ground for sedition against the Machine and had adapted to the surface of the Earth. After the fire underground destroys Kuno and Vashti’s cities, it is presumably that exilic civilization that rescues and retells their stories as fables for their young. What can we learn from this dystopian cautionary tale in which the exiled and disenfranchised quite literally inherit a renewed planet at the end? Students wanted to have that conversation as, I think, should we all in modernist studies.  

“The Machine Stops” exists in a dusty corner of Forsteriana and remains an under-discussed text, although it anticipates Huxley’s Brave New World (1932) by more than twenty years.[18] George Piggford and other critics have followed Forster’s humanist leanings when discussing his speculative works, but “The Machine Stops” in particular interrupts its own nascent queer community-building by being uninterested in Kuno’s or Vashti’s sexual or love lives. Readers accustomed to finding masculine homosociality in other Forster sci-fi or fantasy tales will find no such emotional center in this story. By refusing to accede to established humanist conventions in storytelling, providing no egress into characters’ inner lives, “The Machine Stops” directs readerly attention away from the human individual towards the technological, quasi-colonial control of the planet. Despite being an early and relatively immature work, or perhaps because of it, “The Machine Stops” serves as a rich anchor text for intersectional discussions of literary studies in face of impending climate crises.

As I have been at work on this essay, the news cycle has continued to churn out topical content that feels scarily related to “this”—my student’s Fall 2020 disbelief that everyone was not constantly discussing extinction, heat, disease, and inevitable planetary changes we will have to navigate in the next five decades. The pandemic is still ongoing, raging across the planet while racism and political authoritarianism wield their powers. Nation states continue to fight over borders and territories that affect nonhuman and human lives. Meanwhile, my students make their way through coursework and worry about their futures and livelihoods. Given the multiple registers on which we faculty members are asked to operate (as researchers, instructors, and sometimes woefully underprepared holistic supporters of student wellbeing), here is my wish for myself and us in modernist studies: that the insights we perceive by troubling established readings of our fictional repertoires can help to shape future social and emotional structures upon a reordered planet.


[1] Elizabeth Kolbert, “The Climate Expert Who Delivered News No One Wanted to Hear,” The New Yorker, June 22, 2009,

[2] Abrahm Lustgarten, “How Climate Migration Will Reshape America,” The New York Times Magazine, September 15, 2020,; E. M. Forster, “The Machine Stops,” The Oxford and Cambridge Review 8 (1909): 83–122.

[3] Anne Raine, “Modernism, Eco-anxiety, and the Climate Crisis,” Modernism/modernity Print Plus 4, no. 3 (2019).

[4] E. M. Forster, Howards End (New York: Penguin, 2000).

[5] Junot Díaz, “Monstro,” The New Yorker, May 28, 2012,; Gregg Mitman, Donna Haraway, and Anna Tsing, “Reflections on the Plantationocene: A Conversation with Donna Haraway and Anna Tsing,” Edge Effects, June 18, 2019,

[6] Shalini Sengupta, “‘Enabling Entanglements’: Rethinking Modernist Difficulty in the Sixth Extinction,” Modernism/modernity Print Plus 7, no. 2 (2022). 

[7] One example of a DAI is the effect of greenhouse gases on depleting the ozone layer in the latter half of the twentieth century, which made global worming worse. The restoration of the ozone layer is also one example of concerted human activity to benefit our planetary ecosystem that students in my classes discuss, an example of “keeping hope” in human activities along the lines that Haraway describes.

[8] Amitav Ghosh, The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016), 135.

[9] See Greta Thunberg, No One is Too Small to Make a Difference (New York: Penguin, 2019); Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, Imaginary Borders (New York: Penguin Workshop, 2020); Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, “I’m a black climate expert. Racism derails our efforts to save the planet,” The Washington Post, June 3, 2020,; and Kristina J. Anderson-Teixeira, “Yes, Tropical Forests Tragically Burned This Summer, but Here’s What You Can Do,” Smithsonian Magazine, October 15, 2019,

[10] Jo Nesbø, “Climate Change Is the Biggest Story on Earth. So Why Can’t Hollywood Make Good TV Shows and Movies About It?” Time, April 17, 2021,

[11] Elizabeth Outka, Viral Modernism: The Influenza Pandemic and Interwar Literature (New York: Columbia University Press, 2019); Elizabeth Outka, “Grievability, COVID-19, and the Modernists’ Pandemic,” Modernism/modernity Print Plus 5, no. 1 (2020),

[12] D. H. Lawrence, The Woman Who Rode Away; St. Mawr; the Princess (New York: Penguin, 2006), 5.

[13] Margaret Kohn and Kavita Reddy, “Colonialism,” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2022 Edition), ed. Edward N. Zalta,

[14] Virginia Woolf, “Modern Fiction,” in The Common Reader (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Company, 1925), 150. To begin thinking about Woolf and broader climate-related discussions with my students, I use Jeanne Dubino’s “The Bispecies Environment, Coevolution, and Flush” and Derek Ryan’s “Posthumanist Interludes: Ecology and Ethology in The Waves,” both in Virginia Woolf: Twenty-First-Century Approaches, ed. Dubino et al. (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014), 131–47; 148–66. Ashley Nadeau’s “Exploring Women: Virginia Woolf’s Imperial Revisions from The Voyage Out to Mrs. Dalloway,” Modern Language Studies 44, no. 1 (2014): 14–35 is another good place to begin with this body of criticism.

[15] See Queer Forster, ed. Robert K. Martin and George Piggford (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997).

[16] Alexis Pauline Gumbs, M Archive: After the End of the World (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2018).

[17] Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, “We Can’t Solve the Climate Crisis Unless Black Lives Matter,” Time, July 9, 2020,

[18] Aldous Huxley, Brave New World (New York: Harper Perennial, 2006).