Rethinking Fables in the Age of Global Environmental Crisis

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Rethinking Fables

in the Age of Global Environmental Crisis

The fable is a literary genre characterised by its unique focus on nonhumans: in a fable, animals, other organisms, and even non-living forms take centre stage to tell their stories.

‘Rethinking Fables in the Age of Global Environmental Crisis’ is a two-year project funded by the AHRC Networking Scheme (June 2023 to May 2025). It aims to bring together scholars, animal experts, artists, theorists, and practitioners of the fable, to examine the significance of animal (and other nonhuman) fables, and to develop new theories and practices of the genre. We critically and creatively engage with the understanding of fables as anthropomorphic representations of animals, to reexamine our relationship with other species. We will also collaborate to produce new fables, befitting to tell stories of our times, taking seriously diverse non-human forces that shape the stories of our world, such as climate change and AI as talking nonhumans, drawing on fables of different cultural and linguistic traditions, including non-European and indigenous fables.

At the heart of this project is the appreciation of the fable as an art of multispecies storytelling, associated with political, moral, and educational values. We will draw on the power of the fable as a versatile tool and important resource, which can help us to think differently about pressing global issues and the environmental, political, and technological challenges we face.