Corey Byrnes is an Associate Professor of the Humanities, Comparative Literary Studies, and Chinese Culture at Northwestern University. He is the author of Fixing Landscape: A Techno-Poetic History of China’s Three Gorges (Columbia University Press, 2019), which won the 2018 First Book Award from the Weatherhead Institute for East Asian Studies at Columbia University and Honorable Mention for the 2020 Harry Levin Prize for outstanding first book from the American Comparative Literature Association. His current book project, Cultures of Threat, examines the relationship between China and a global environmental imaginary in which the former is increasingly treated as an existential threat.
In recent years, familiar or seemingly ‘traditional’ landscape forms have provided artists working in China with legible ecocritical modes. This essay expands on an earlier account of what the author describes as documentary and illusionistic ‘Chinese landscapes of desolation’ by outlining an additional mode: the speculative. Speculative landscapes look forward to a time (fast approaching […]