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Title page for ETD etd-11202015-120826

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Montgomery, Jesse Ambrose
Author's Email Address jesse.montgomery@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-11202015-120826
Title What is the Zone and Are We in It? Visions of the Anthropocene in Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker
Degree Master of Arts
Department English
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Jennifer Fay Committee Chair
Mark Wollaeger Committee Member
  • climate change
  • catastrophe
  • Stalker
  • Tarkovsky
  • anthropocene
  • climate change
  • eco-criticism
  • film
Date of Defense 2015-06-01
Availability unrestricted
This thesis explores contemporary debates regarding the artistic and philosophical responses to global climate change through a close reading of Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 science fiction epic Stalker. I read Tarkovsky’s film, which was shot in the Soviet Union during the Cold War, as an investigation of the time and space of environmental catastrophe and argue that today it can be productively read as a film about climate change because of its fascination with the invisible and its persistent refusal to depict the catastrophe with which it is concerned. In this way, my thesis takes up Stalker as a kind of hinge text or conduit through which we can compare the nuclear criticism of the Cold War and today’s climate change criticism (especially that of Bruno Latour and Srinivas Aravamudan) in order to examine continuities the relationship between catastrophe and artistic representation as well as the politics of making visible invisible crises. My thesis concludes that is precisely through withholding an image of catastrophe that Tarkovsky is able to effectively represent an environmental disaster in its fullness and that this artistic strategy seems increasingly important for thinkers in the humanities who are attempting to understand global climate change.
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