AuthorClarke, Joni Adamson.
KeywordsIndian literature -- North America -- History and criticism.
American literature -- Indian authors -- History and criticism.
Ecology in literature.
Nature in literature.
Committee ChairBabcock, Barbara
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract"A Place to See: Ecological Literary Theory and Practice" approaches "American" literature with an inclusive interdisciplinarity that necessarily complicates traditional notions of both "earliness" and canon. In order to examine how "Nature" has been socially constructed since the seventeenth century to support colonialist objectives, I set American literature into a context which includes ancient Mayan almanacs, the Popol Vuh, early seventeenth and eighteenth century American farmer's almanacs, 1992 Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu's autobiography, the 1994 Zapatista National Liberation army uprising in Mexico, and Leslie Silko's Almanac of the Dead. Drawing on the feminist, literary and cultural theories of Donna Haraway, Carolyn Merchant, and Michel Foucault, Julia Kristeva, Edward Said, Annette Kolodny, and Joseph Meeker, I argue that contemporary Native American writers insist that readers question all previous assumptions about "Nature" as uninhabited wilderness and "nature writing" as realistic, non-fiction prose recorded in Waldenesque tranquility. Instead the work of writers such as Silko, Louise Erdrich, Simon Ortiz, and Joy Harjo is a "nature writing" which explores the interconnections among forms and systems of domination, exploitation, and oppression across their different racial, sexual, and ecological manifestations. I posit that literary critics and teachers who wish to work for a more ecologically and socially balanced world should draw on the work of all members of our discourse community in cooperative rather than competitive ways and seek to transform literary theory and practice by bringing it back into dynamic interconnection with the worlds we all live in--inescapably social and material worlds in which issues of race, class, and gender inevitably intersect in complex and multi-faceted ways with issues of natural resource exploitation and conservation.