Maximilian Chaoulideer

Max Chaoulideer works on a variety of issues in the environmental humanities, with recent courses and writings on the politics of food, the aesthetics of infrastructure, and narrative approaches to our global metabolic rift. He explores these issues in interdisciplinary expository writing courses in the English department and the Yale Prison Education Initiative.

He completed his dissertation, Figuring Collectivity in the Age of Climate Crisis, in 2021. In it, he argues that anthropogenic climate change poses a fundamentally representational challenge. Because of its own globality, the threat posed by something as diffuse and total as the climate seems to demand the articulation of an equally global subject: the human as a species. What does it mean, however, to represent the everyday experiences of individuals as unified by such an abstraction? While some scholars have argued that this abstracted collectivity poses a challenge to the traditional tools of humanistic representation, his dissertation suggests that experiencing ourselves as a species is a problem of representation. He confronts this representational problem through three pivotal moments over the past century in which thinkers have turned to the figurative power of language to articulate and address the frailty of their social worlds: Martin Heidegger’s ecstatic phenomenology, Hans Fallada’s fabrication of collectivity responsibility under Nazism, and Ben Lerner’s metabolic poetics. These moments, he argues, articulate a poetics of emancipatory collectivity adequate to our current crisis.