Fracking & the Art of Subtext

Time: 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm

Contact: Dr. Christopher Schaberg · · 504-865-2599

Location: Whitney Presentation Room, Thomas Hall

Dr. Kara Thompson is an assistant professor of English & American Studies at the College of William & Mary, and her work focuses on questions of indigeneity, national borders, and temporality. Her recent research interests have taken her into the interdisciplinary field of environmental humanities, and at Loyola Prof. Thompson will be presenting new work on how hydraulic fracturing relies on specific ways of reading the earth. Her talk at Loyola, “Fracking and the Art of Subtext,” shows how resource extraction depends on narrative structure. Thompson argues that recent microsociological turns in literary studies (like surface reading) emerge with the subterranean extraction methods of fracking—yet how do we make sense of these two methods that seem to be working at cross-purposes? One is superficial and the other latent, but both narrative and fracking depend on subtext. The talk asks: as scholars and critics, how do we contend with the subtext of energy extraction? How do we read fracking?


This talk will be of interest to students and faculty interested in questions of environmental philosophy, ecological ethics, critical theory, and literary studies.