Theatre, ecological sanity, and finding Baz Kershaw

Paul Brown


Theatre Ecology: Environments and Performance Events, Baz Kershaw (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2007).

Reviewed by Paul Brown

In 1993, Belfast anthropologist Kay Milton edited a book titled Environmentalism: The View from Anthropology. She introduced this important collection of essays with unnecessarily modest questioning of the value of anthropology as a disciplinary contribution in an era of environmental crisis. Over two decades, Milton and her colleagues have produced a body of research which assists our understanding of environmentalism and environmental crisis, strengthening the hand of theorists, activists and decision makers as they grapple towards environmental solutions.

The environmental anthropologists are not the only welcome contributors. The historians, the ethicists, the phenomonologists, those studying aesthetics, media and film analysts, people writing about human rights or about war and society, those dealing in cultural studies or development, the archaeologists, and the social theorists are all turning their craft to environmental matters. This is helping to lift the blindspot in the arts and social sciences towards matters ecological, and constituting what Gay McAuley has summarised as the ‘placial’ turn in the humanities.

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