Refereed article in compilation book (A3)

Remembering in the Age of Global Warming. Emmi Itäranta’s Memory of Water as Ecological Trauma Fiction

List of Authors: Jytilä Riitta

Publication year: 2022

Book title *: Nordic Utopias and Dystopias: From Aniara to Allatta!

ISBN: 978-90-272-1264-1

eISBN: 978-90-272-5729-1


In the age of global warming, literary imagination confronts new challenges, such as the possibility of human extinction and the recognition of nonhuman life forms. Holocaust, Hiroshima, Gulag and other atrocities of the twentieth century undermined the visions of modern progress and the future optimism turned into fearful expectations. In the twenty-first century violence, war and terror are not by any means disappearing, but it is more often global warming and its far-reaching effects that pose a great threat to the future generations and the living conditions on earth as a whole. According to Christian Parenti, climate change intersects with the already existing crises of violence and poverty. The political, economic and environmental crises amplify each other, one expressing itself through the other. Michael Rothberg considers climate change as a hybrid assemblage or knot where individual suffering becomes tangled up with larger problems of modernity, including industrialisation and war. This multi-layered convergence of different crises creates a traumatic atmosphere that is critically manifested and discussed in contemporary literature and art worldwide.

In this article, I study Emmi Itäranta's Memory of Water as ecological trauma fiction that deals with the cultural trauma of global warming. I follow Roger Luckhurst in his conceptualisation of trauma as an “entangled object” where the political, cultural and psychological elements of trauma are intertwined. I consider ecological trauma fiction as an assemblage that brings individual, collective and ecological layers of trauma together, stressing that cultural trauma is inseparable from individual trauma. I am interested in how these different trauma elements constantly overlap and form the phenomenon we call cultural trauma.

Last updated on 2022-19-12 at 10:25