Simon C. Estok

Publications (books)

English 3036 (The Short Story)
English 4033: Climate Change and Disaster Literature
GEDH 103 Climate Change and the Humanities
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Ecocriticism and Shakespeare: Reading Ecophobia. New York and London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.



Shortlisted for the Shakespeare's Globe First Book Award (2012).

Winner of the "Writing in the Humanities Book Award" from the National Research Foundation, Korea (2011)!

"For those of us who turn to him for intellectual provocation, this book is a more-than-welcome contribution to Shakespeare scholarship, to ecocriticism, and to critical theory." - Dan Brayton, Middlebury College, Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment

"'Ecophobia' has already begun to gain currency, making Estok the first early modernist to have a perceptible impact on ecocriticism. This alone would make Ecocriticism and Shakespeare a milestone work, setting aside its other considerable merits. It balances the claims of historicism and presentism, activism and theoretical integrity more deftly than previous studies. It unearths fresh or unsung categories in Shakespearean criticism such as environmental fear, disgust, and sleep. It dares those who teach Shakespeare to practice an activist pedagogy that engages students in environmental politics." -
Early Modern Literary Studies

“In this thorough and original study, Estok widens the scope of ecological criticism in two ways. Estok contributes to the emerging field of early modern ecological studies in an excellent investigation of Shakespeare and outlines a theory of ecophobia, tracing its genesis through gender and psychoanalytic thinking. Estok challenges us to think deeply about ecology, theory, and culture.”—Timothy Morton, Professor of English, University of California Davis and author of The Ecological Thought 

“In this ecology of reading and reading of ecology, Estok moves beyond the earlier studies of nature in Shakespeare to an important exploration of reading and representation that addresses the crisis in our environment and that provides another way to understand and resist alienation and stereotyping.”--Jonathan Hart, Professor of English and Comparative Literature, University of Alberta

A fresh and theoretically sophisticated analysis of Shakespearean drama through the lens of ecophobia.  Estok's work is known for making the uncomfortable inaccuracies between theory and practice visible, highlighting the distinction between ecocriticism’s activist origins and its institutionalization within the academy.  He persistently brings questions of economic privilege, race, gender, sexuality, and nation to bear on environmental and literary topics.”--Greta Gaard, Associate Professor of English, University of Wisconsin-River Falls and author of The Nature of Home

“This is the book we have been awaiting from Simon Estok. Theoretically challenging to both Shakespeareans and ecocritics alike, its combinations of ethics and scholarship, close reading and polemics, originality and lucidity, make it essential reading for students and scholars who want to see cutting-edge criticism at work.”--Terry Gifford, Visiting Professor at University of Chichester and Profesor Honorario en Universidad de Alicante and author of Green Voices, Reconnecting with John Muir, and Pastoral 

This book offers the term “ecophobia” as a way of understanding and organizing representations of contempt for the natural world.  Estok argues that this vocabulary is both necessary to the developing area of ecocritical studies and for understandings of the representations of “Nature” in Shakespeare.  Engaging close readings with theoretical sophistication make this book a path-breaking contribution to both Shakespearean scholarship and the burgeoning field of ecocriticism.

East Asian Ecocriticisms: A Critical Reader.  Eds. Simon C. Estok and W.C. Kim.  New York and London: Macmillan, 2013.



"As an American ecocritic who has visited East Asia more than fifty times in the past twenty years, I am delighted to welcome this effort to introduce East Asian scholarship to Western readers. These fourteen voices represent one fascinating petal of the lotus flower of East Asian ecocriticism. I hope readers will take this volume as an invitation to continue learning about the diverse vernacular ecocritical perspectives in East Asia (and throughout the world). Good ideas should flow in many directions." - Scott Slovic, Professor, University of Idaho, USA and editor of ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment

"This volume contributes to a reorienting of the transnational praxis of ecocriticism through a commingling of perspectives, theories, literary texts, and cultural phenomena. As a portent of even greater contributions in the future, these essays embody the best of an ethical ecocritical engagement." - Patrick D. Murphy, Professor and Chair, English, UCF, USA and author of Ecocritical Explorations in Literary and Cultural Studies and other works

"Occidental activists and scholars will be surprised to discover how deeply East Asian thinkers have already gone in the field of ecocriticism. The environmental problems faced by Korea, Japan, and China are enormous. Writers and all other concerned people in these landscapes have seen it happening and are responding deeply and intelligently. This book is an eye-opener for all the rest of us." - Gary Snyder, Professor, UC Davis, USA

"With original essays by speakers of Chinese, Hangul, Japanese and Taiwanese - who write compellingly in English - this collection reveals the specific geo-political and cultural situations that are shaping the aesthetics of the most revered and cutting-edge literatures being read by one-fourth of the world's population. These essays introduce the wild species thriving in the DMZ, a place studded with two million land mines, and explain the significance of the endangered pink dolphins of western Taiwan and Xiamui, China. Each essay excellently gives a sense of how a decade of vibrant work to establish ecocriticism in East Asia has powerfully shifted the global environmental humanities in necessary and important ways that will make every ecocritic want to read this book." - Joni Adamson, Senior Sustainability Scholar, Global Institute of Sustainability, Arizona State University, USA and 2012 President of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment


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International Perspectives in Feminist Ecocriticism.  Eds. Simon C. Estok, Greta Gaard, and Serpil Oppermann.  New York: Routledge, 2013.



"Gaard, Estok, and Oppermann bring together vibrant essays that range, for example, from an explosion of dioxins in Seveso, Italy, that touches off strong political and ideological polemics over women and their bodies, to discussions in Australia of how to bring postcolonial, ecological, and feminist understandings together to build a grounded ethics and aesthetics of decolonization, to a group of "dog mothers" in Taiwan that defiantly cares for stray animals as a way to resist a massively industrialized economy built on trenchant, institutionalized, and unspoken androcentrism. As a whole, the book powerfully illustrates why feminist views, methods, and interpretations, examined from specifically international contexts, must become more central to the field of ecocriticism.
--Joni Adamson, Professor, English and Environmental Humanities, School of Letters and Sciences and Senior Sustainability Scholar, Global Institute of Sustainability, Arizona State University, US
"I have always felt that there is something intrinsically "feminist" about the practice of ecocriticism, going all the way back to early ecocritical concerns with wild places and marginalized literary genres. One of the central ecocritical urges is the impulse, à la feminism, to critique normativities, to question mainstream or "dominant" ways of viewing the world, particularly those which are unjust and unsustainable. This new volume offers a rich variety of approaches to this vital project, reinforcing our understanding of "feminist ecocriticism" (take note of this important term) as a major dimension of ecocritical thought throughout the world.
--Scott Slovic, University of Idaho, US, Editor of ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment
"Each chapter raises enough issues, ideas, and inspiration for a whole series of further books at the cutting edge of a reinvigorated ecofeminist practice. These authors are driven by a rigorous sense of where feminist ecocriticism has come from, and why it needs to explore the richly diverse and materially alive ethical dramas of gendered ontologies."
--Terry Gifford, Visiting Professor at Bath Spa University, Profesor Honorifico at Universidad de Alicante and co-editor of Feminismo/s 22 ‘Ecofeminism’
"This collection affirms the ongoing importance of feminist perspectives in the environmental humanities. Working both from and against earlier traditions of ecofeminism, contributors to this volume explore issues of gender, sex, natalism, apocalypticism, embodiment, violence, justice, race, species, and colonialism as key analytic concerns for feminist ecocriticism. The collection thus develops a new understanding of ecofeminism, one that is much more attentive to power, intersectionality and diversity than earlier works in the field.
--Catriona Sandilands, Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York
University, and coeditor of Queer Ecologies: Sex, Nature, Politics, Desire (2010).

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Landscape, Seascape, and the Ecocritical Imagination. Eds. Simon C. Estok, Jonathan White, and I-Chun Wang. New York: Routledge, 2016.



Written from within the best traditions of ecocritical thought, this book provides a wide-ranging account of the spatial imagination of landscape and seascape in literary and cultural contexts from many regions of the world. It brings together essays by authors writing from within diverse cultural traditions, across historical periods from ancient Egypt to the postcolonial and postmodern present, and touches on an array of divergent theoretical interventions. The volume investigates how our spatial imaginations become "wired," looking at questions about mediation and exploring how various traditions compete for prominence in our spatial imagination. In what ways is personal experience inflected by prevailing cultural traditions of representation and interpretation? Can an individual maintain a unique and distinctive spatial imagination in the face of dominant trends in perception and interpretation? What are the environmental implications of how we see landscape? The book reviews how landscape is at once conceptual and perceptual, illuminating several important themes including the temporality of space, the mediations of place that form the response of an observer of a landscape, and the development of response in any single life from early, partial thoughts to more considered ideas in maturity. Chapters provide suggestive and culturally nuanced propositions from varying points of view on ancient and modern landscapes and seascapes and on how individuals or societies have arranged, conceptualized, or imagined circumambient space. Opening up issues of landscape, seascape, and spatiality, this volume commences a wide-ranging critical discussion that includes various approaches to literature, history and cultural studies. Bringing together research from diverse areas such as ecocriticism, landscape theory, colonial and postcolonial theory, hybridization theory, and East Asian Studies to provide a historicized and global account of our ecospatial imaginations, this book will be useful for scholars of landscape ecology, ecocriticism, physical and social geography, postcolonialism and postcolonial ecologies, comparative literary studies, and East Asian Studies.

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The Ecophobia Hypothesis. With a Foreword by Sophie Christman. New York: Routledge, 2018.


 WINNER of the "Writing in the Humanities Book Award" from the National Research Foundation, Korea!



This bracing and wide-ranging book demonstrates the importance of Estok’s concept of ecophobia not only for ecocriticism and ecomedia studies, but for combating the proliferation of waste, the systemic violence toward nonhuman creatures, and the degradation of planetary life. ― Stacy Alaimo, Co-President of ASLE (Association for the Study of Literature and Environment ).

Well researched, vigorously argued, and capaciously framed, The Ecophobia Hypothesis culminates years of careful work by Simon Estok on the intimacy of contemporary environmental catastrophe to an enduring human fear of the natural world―a horror that needs to be thought alongside the much documented love of life which occupies much environmental writing. This book will deeply unsettle its readers. Yet it also offers wider historical, psychological, and material understandings of how we arrived at our state of unremitting crisis ... and why disruption of our comfortable eco-epistemological frameworks is so necessary now. ―Jeffrey J. Cohen, Co-President, Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE), Dean of Humanities, Arizona State University, USA


At the conclusion of his much anticipated, deeply learned, and clearly written study Simon Estok writes that "Understanding how ecophobia prompts environmental injustice (and environmental racism) produces a more comprehensive and wider understanding of the mutually reinforcing ethics that bring about oppression and suffering―social and environmental. Understanding this is what the ecophobia hypothesis seeks." Beginning with exposing the human fear of nature, Estok considers a fresh methodological model in the examination of our complicity in climate change, the most pressing concern of our times. The Ecophobia Hypothesis is essential reading for all students of interdisciplinary literary studies, critical theory and concepts, feminist literature and theory, and of course environmental studies. ―William Baker, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Northern Illinois University


Simon Estok has written his long-awaited, masterful, invigorating, exhaustive, and unequivocally convincing thesis that confronts and corrects the notion of biophilia. Estok is at his very best here. Sure-footed on the slopes of theory, graceful on wing in the skies of controversy, and unrelenting in the arts of persuasion, Estok dazzles with his wide-ranging discussions about ecophobia―discussions that range from the dangerous shoals of genetic materialism to the more calm waters of ecomedia, animal studies, and evolutionary psychology. From its startling insights about "hollow ecology" and "junk agency" to its unapologetic stance arguing the necessity of acknowledging the dark, antagonistic, and exploitative responses and reflexive fears that characterize so much of the collective human response to nature, The Ecophobia Hypothesis is a "must-read" for anyone in the environmental humanities. ―Dr. Jonggab Kim, Director of the Body Studies Institute, Konkuk University, Seoul.


Human interactions with the nonhuman world exhibit affinity, antagonism, and a vast array of complicated emotions between the two extremes. The psychology of human attitudes and actions toward nature is fascinating and difficult to explain. Relying on the evidence he finds in a wide range of cultural texts, Simon Estok explores the dark and fearful part of the emotional spectrum in this provocative study of "ecophobia." This may help to explain why our civilization treats the planet so callously. ―Paul Slovic, Professor of Psychology, University of Oregon


The irrational fear of the things and beings of the natural world finds its best conceptualization in Simon Estok’s The Ecophobia Hypothesis. Estok’s riveting conjectures on ecophobia are not only theoretically cogent but also provide affective and cognitive insights into the darkness of human reflexes that induce what he calls "hollow ecology." Estok entangles the reader in the ecopsychological and ecocultural swings of the ecophobia condition through the intersecting mirrors of genetic materialism, animal studies, ecomedia, and ecopsychology. This book will open many eyes to the disquieting reality of humanity’s ecological unconscious and liberate the reader from the existential trouble that this unconscious represents. ―Serpil Oppermann, President, the European Association for the Study of Literature, Culture, and the Environment of (EASLCE).  

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