Summer Reading 2019

The Great Derangement - Amitav Ghosh

In 2019, incoming Honors College students read Amitav Ghosh’s The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable. In this book, Ghosh, an award-winning novelist and non-fiction writer, tackles the conceptual problem of imagining climate change, especially as it pertains to one of the dominant art forms of the modern era, the novel. As a novelist himself, Ghosh works through the difficulties of conveying something as catastrophic and global, yet incremental, as climate change is, in a form largely defined by its emphasis on the everyday individual and his or her moral challenges. While much of his focus is on the failure of serious novelists to depict climate change, he offers a broad and sometimes controversial account of how climate change is related to imperialism, to modern ideas of individual liberty and free will, and to our understanding of history and time. Grounding his discussion in his own life and alluding to his fictional works, Ghosh attempts to imagine how we might think the unthinkable and awake ourselves from a current state of communal and individual derangement in regards not only to climate change but also to our overall relationship with the earth and its resources. Ghosh visited the Honors College to lecture and meet with students that fall.