“Imagining the Future,” a new episode of the “What Makes Us Human” podcast series, explores how science fiction can help make sense of climate change. This second season of the podcast examines the question "Where Is the Human in Climate Change?" and showcases the newest thinking across academic disciplines about the relationship between humans and the environment.
“The bad news is that a significant amount of contemporary science fiction and actual futuristic projects you might have read, watched, or heard about are basically technologically up-cycled frontier fantasies from centuries past,” Anindita Banerjee, associate professor of comparative literature, says in her podcast episode. “The good news is that science fiction has always contained the seeds for a different kind of storytelling for the future of the environment.”
Banerjee, a Faculty Fellow with the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, focuses on science fiction and technocultural studies, environmental humanities, media studies, and migration studies across postsocialist and postcolonial spaces in her research. She is the author of “We Modern People: Science Fiction and the Making of Russian Modernity” which won the Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies book prize from the University of California. Her current book project is titled “The Chernobyl Effect.” Banerjee has also edited or co-edited scholarly volumes on Russian science fiction literature and cinema; the circulation of science fiction across the global East and South, and speculative biotechnologies and economies of care in South Asia and Latin America (edited with Debra Castillo, associate professor of comparative literature and director of the Latina/o Studies Program).
The “What Makes Us Human” podcast series is produced by the College of Arts and Sciences in collaboration with the Cornell Broadcast Studios and features audio essays written and recorded by Cornell faculty. New episodes are released each Tuesday through the spring and are available for download on iTunes and SoundCloud and for streaming on the A&S humanities page, where text versions of the essays are also posted.
This story also appeared in the Cornell Chronicle.