'Family Territory' to the 'Circumference of the Earth' : Local and Planetary Memories of Climate Change in Barbara Kingsolver's Flight Behaviour
This article argues that Barbara Kinsolver’s novel Flight Behaviour (2012) responds to the transformations of climate change by charting interactions between local and planetary environments, prompting readers to contextualise the micro – geographically bounded human experience and memory – within the macro context of the Anthropocene. As a long-standing process in the past, present and future, climate change requires epistemological frames attuned to complex scales of time and place which are central to this special issue’s interest in planetary memory. In accordance with these dynamics, the novel suggests a definition of planetary memory in which remembrance is both human (and global) as well as more-than-human (exceeding the global, moving to the planetary). The novel is also explicitly concerned with imagining (or re-membering) the future as much as the past and present. Echoing the dynamics of the novel itself, the article works from the ground up, beginning with a consideration of the environmental contexts of Tennessee, Appalachia and the South, before moving to a wider sense of the planetary. In all, though rooted in a specific part of the rural South, Kingsolver’s novel has an imaginative reach beyond its pages and locale.