University of Exeter Press

Imagining Air

Cultural Axiology and the Politics of Invisibility

    • 258 Pages

    Imagining Air tackles air as a cultural, medical, and environmental phenomenon. Its major aim is to explore air’s visibility and invisibility within the environment through the investigation of such phenomena as pollution and pandemics.

    The book provides environmental and medical perspectives on air, in particular how it has historically been envisioned in U.S., Canadian and British cultural and literary narratives. The authors explore how these representations and the constructed meanings of air can help us understand the complex nature of air as it pertains to the COVID-19 pandemic, air pollution and broader environmental degradation.

    Chapter authors: Siobhan Carroll, Jeff Diamanti, Corey Dzenko, Clare Hickman, Tatiana Konrad, Jayne Lewis, Chantelle Mitchell, Christian Riegel, Arthur Rose, Gordon M. Sayre, Savannah Schaufler.

    Air—elemental, invisible, yet weirdly ideological—circulates through this surprising collection, revealing the intermingling of ecologies and built environments, spectral legacies and all-too-present predicaments. The collection insists we cease the habitual “forgetting of air.”

    Stacy Alaimo, Author of Exposed: The Politics and Pleasures of Posthuman Times.

    Information on Contributors

    Introduction: Toward a Cultural Axiology of Air TATIANA KONRAD, CHANTELLE MITCHELL, and SAVANNAH SCHAUFLER
    DOI: 10.47788/HWDT3673

    Part I: Aerial Politics—Pollution, Consumerism, and Catastrophe
    1. Fordism in Detroit, Consumerism in Los Angeles: A Brief History of Automobile Emissions Regulation and Lessons for Greenhouse Gas Pollution GORDON M. SAYRE
    DOI: 10.47788/TCVP5497
    2. Dirty Air: Literary Tropes of the Canadian Nation CHRISTIAN RIEGEL
    DOI: 10.47788/FRQU2721
    3. Witnessing Challenger: Viewing Aerial Space through the Reverberations of Disaster CHANTELLE MITCHELL
    DOI: 10.47788/OTME3403

    Part II: Air and Art in Times of Crisis
    4. Speculative Fiction, Atmotechnic Ecology, and the Afterlife of Romantic Air SIOBHAN CARROLL
    DOI: 10.47788/ZJTA2307
    5. Respiratory Realism: Elemental Intimacies Between “Carbon Black” and Red Desert JEFF DIAMANTI
    DOI: 10.47788/BRTE9492
    6. Rumpled Bedsheets and Online Mourning: Social Photography and the COVID-19 Pandemic—Haruka Sakaguchi’s Quarantine Diary and Marvin Heiferman’s Instagram account @whywelook COREY DZENKO
    DOI: 10.47788/CLTU3625

    Part III: Trans-Sensory Air: Bodies and Environments
    7. Envisioning Experiments on Air and the Nonhuman ARTHUR ROSE
    DOI: 10.47788/HVZM1065
    8. The Importance of Open Air for Health: Environmental and Medical Intersections CLARE HICKMAN
    DOI: 10.47788/ERNO3036
    9. “The Endless Space of Air”: Helen Keller’s Auratic Worldbuilding JAYNE LEWIS
    DOI: 10.47788/HHPU4766
    10. Questions of Visibility: Aerial Relations across Society and the Environment, as Revealed by COVID-19 SAVANNAH SCHAUFLER
    DOI: 10.47788/WSKQ2452


    Tatiana Konrad is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of English and American Studies, University of Vienna, Austria, the principal investigator of “Air and Environmental Health in the (Post-)COVID-19 World,” and the editor of the “Environment, Health, and Well-being” book series at Michigan State University Press. She holds a PhD in American Studies from the University of Marburg, Germany. She was a Visiting Fellow at the University of Chicago (2022), a Visiting Researcher at the Forest History Society (2019), an Ebeling Fellow at the American Antiquarian Society (2018), and a Visiting Scholar at the University of South Alabama (2016). She is the author of Docu-Fictions of War: U.S. Interventionism in Film and Literature (2019), the editor of Plastics, Environment, Culture and the Politics of Waste (2023), Cold War II: Hollywood’s Renewed Obsession with Russia (2020), and Transportation and the Culture of Climate Change: Accelerating Ride to Global Crisis (2020), and a co-editor of Cultures of War in Graphic Novels: Violence, Trauma, and Memory (2018).


      • 258 Pages