The Planetary Turn

Paper Text – $34.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3075-3

E-book – $34.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3074-6

Cloth Text – $99.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3073-9
Publication Date
April 2015
Page Count
312 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

The Planetary Turn

Relationality and Geoaesthetics in the Twenty-First Century
Edited by Amy J. Elias and Christian Moraru

A groundbreaking essay collection that pursues the rise of geo-culture as an essential framework for arts criticism, The Planetary Turn shows how the planet—as a territory, a sociopolitical arena, a natural space of interaction for all earthly life, and an artistic theme—is increasingly the conceptual and political dimension in which twenty-first-century writers and artists picture themselves and their work. In an introduction that comprehensively defines the planetary model of art, culture, and cultural-aesthetic interpretation, the editors explain how the living planet is emerging as distinct from older concepts of globalization, cosmopolitanism, and environmentalism and is becoming a new ground for exciting work in contemporary literature, visual and media arts, and social humanities. Written by internationally recognized scholars, the twelve essays that follow illustrate the unfolding of a new vision of potential planetary community that retools earlier models based on the nation-state or political “blocs” and reimag-ines cultural, political, aesthetic, and ethical relationships for the post–Cold War era.

About the Author

AMY J. ELIAS is a professor of English at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

CHRISTIAN MORARU is a professor of American literature and critical theory at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.


“This is a particularly timely collection. Indeed, one could read this book as a kind of performative description of a conceptual field that it wishes to bring into existence, and it succeeds admirably. The Planetary Turn gathers together sophisticated and innovative contributions to the topic.”—John Frow, author of The Practice of Value: Essays on Literature in Cultural Studies 

"The collective project of The Planetary Turn stakes a claim to being a field-defining contribution to the burgeoning efforts in recent years to come to grips with the monumental and unprecedented changes of our historical moment. The rich and wide-ranging essays collected in the pages of this volume make an impassioned appeal for the heuristic value of the conceptual matrix—derived from the work of Gayatri Spivak, Masao Miyoshi, Wai Chee Dimock, and others—of planetarity for thinking in wholly new ways the ethical labor of contemporary culture as located beyond the historical and spatial boundaries of both modernity and the nation-state and as an effective alternative to the reigning paradigms of globalization and cosmopolitanism. The book is destined to be essential reading for anyone interested in understanding where planetary culture stands today and where some of the most productive directions in it could, or perhaps should, take it." —Phillip E. Wegner, author of Periodizing Jameson: Dialectics, the University, and the Desire for Narrative

"...this sophisticated 12-chapter volume... is a valuable staging post towards alternative imaginations of geography: relational spaces of worldly reciprocity and flow that confound established coordinates. Perhaps the strongest part of this book is the editors’ introductory framing of planetarity, which offers a panoramic view of the concept’s intellectual history and its clashes and overlaps with theories of globalisation and cosmopolitanism. This is important reading for scholars of planetarity discourse... the book feeds into a larger poetic and political project of reimagining world geographies that exceed capitalist globalisation." —Cultural Geographies