This collection emerges from a panel hosted by the Modern Language Association's MS Forum on Visual Media (http://naturalmedia.org/titles/) in 2017. "Natural media" re-valuates the communicative potential of natural spaces, especially in instances where symbolic import collides with raw matter in a manner that hides from, disguises, or elides stark reality. It considers intersections, collisions, tensions, opportunities, and affordances that arise in the discussion of "Natural Media," both broadly conceived and in its contributors' particular areas of research. It is also in close conversation with research inspired by a previous gathering on a closely related topic: Digital and Natural Ecologies.
An art installation as much as an "issue," the original site for ebr4, Critical Ecologies, used variations on a concrete poem by Daniel Wenk to guide readers through the "green" and "gray" essays. Another innovation was the introduction of the riposte section.
Linda Brigham works through Embodying Technesis by Mark Hansen.
William Major measures academic "ecocriticism" against the practical "agrarianism" of Wendell Berry.
Reviewing Andrew McMurry's Environmental Renaissance, Stephen Dougherty questions the systems approach to ecocriticism.
Lance Newman suggests Ecocriticism shares a problematic assumption with "green" capitalism: the idea "a livable future will result from billions of individual ethical decisions." Here he traces a burgeoning critical alternative that investigates the historical connections between global capital and the shifting structures of the "ecosocial."