Dune(s): Fiction, History, and Science on the Oregon Coast”

Gaspar de Freitas, Joana | from Multimedia Library Collection:

Gaspar de Freitas, Joana. “Dune(s): Fiction, History, and Science on the Oregon Coast.” The Anthropocene Review (December 2021): 1–19. doi:10.1177/20530196211056814

What connects the sci-fi book Dune with coastal dunes and geoengineering? The answer lies in humans and their world-making activities. This paper proposes an innovative approach to coastal dunes as hybrid environments by analyzing the dunes stabilization programs developed on the US Pacific Coast. It looks into the shifting sands of the Oregon coast and how they influenced Frank Herbert to write his novel, why local communities and federal authorities were interested in fixing the moving dunes and how these works ended up having unexpected consequences. It explores how human features acting as forcing mechanisms on beach-dune systems caused changes that turned into controlling influences in their own right, creating new environments and concerns. The paper ends with a reflection on how fiction and the history of dunes can be used to critically think about the anthropocentric hubris of building futures by geoengineering the planet for environmental repair. (Abstract)

2022 Joana Gaspar de Freitas

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