Masterclass | Mariana Rosa | Bridging Opposites: An Ecocritical Approach to Mary Oliver’s Poetry

26.2 Ecocriticism

Abstract

This paper looks at the poetry of Mary Oliver from an ecocritical perspective, arguing that her poetry works to undo the dichotomous pair nature/self and the associated pairs: woman/man, body/soul. Most scholarship devoted to Oliver’s celebrated works has found it hard to categorize her production, and I argue this is because most attempts have tended to force her works into the categories which these same works disarm. This paper attempts to reflect on the value of this type of poetry which is frequently disregarded as apolitical, and which, contrary to hasty conclusions, has great potential to foster social change.

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September 19th, 2015

Almudena Claassen, Jette van den Eijnden en Merlijn Geurts | Transversal Ecocritical Praxis – An Interview with Patrick Murphy

26.2 Ecocriticism

Abstract

Dr. Patrick D. Murphy is a Professor and Chair of the Department of English at the University of Central Florida. He has authored Ecocritical Explorations in Literary and Cultural Studies (2009), Farther Afield in the Study of Nature Oriented Literature (2000), A Place for Wayfaring: The Poetry and Prose of Gary Snyder (2000), and Literature, Nature, and Other: Ecofeminist Critiques (1995). He has also edited or co-edited such books as The Literature of Nature: An International Sourcebook (1998) and Ecofeminist Literary Criticism and Pedagogy (1998). He is the founding editor of ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies Literature and Environment. His ecocritical work has been translated into Chinese, Danish, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish. Frame conducted an interview with Murphy to learn more about his new book, Transversal Ecocritical Praxis (2013), and to discuss with him the field of ecocriticism in general.

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September 19th, 2015

Simon C. Estok | Terror and Ecophobia

26.2 Ecocriticism

Abstract

The resurgence of terrorism and the increasing violence of our climate has ratcheted up the tone of urgency and crisis defining representations of nature: one of the results of this is that terror and ecophobia often define twenty-first-century representations of nature. Estok argues that media and academic conflations of devastating natural events on the one hand with war and terror on the other reflect an ethics in which nature is a thing to be fought. Estok maintains that such a trajectory of thinking is counter-productive to environmentalism. The influences between the imagining of terror and the imagining of the natural world result in increasingly extraordinary media representations of the natural world, representations that often perpetuate the very ethics of distance and domination that have long contributed to the growing environmental problems we face today. Imagining terror and nature together is unsustainable.

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September 19th, 2015

Isabel Hoving | “Earthly Things”: Ecocriticism, Globalization, and the Material Turn

26.2 Ecocriticism

Abstract

This paper first offers a concise consideration of the most promising strands in ecocriticism and the environmental umanities today. Most of these, which are responding to environmental destruction and climate change, are characterized by an affinity with posthumanism and/or materialism (e.g. Alaimo, Colebrook, Morton), often in the face of the need to radically rethink the nature of humanity within a global, geophysical frame (Chakrabarty, Zimock, Morton). In the second part of my paper, the case of Dutch environmentally inspired art allows me to explore the problems in the artistic articulation of such a much-needed global, materialist approach.

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September 19th, 2015

Serpil Opperman | Material Ecocriticism and the Creativity of Storied Matter

26.2 Ecocriticism

Abstract

Situated in the conceptual horizons of the new materialist paradigm, material ecocriticism views matter in terms of its agentic expressions, inherent creativity, performative enactments and innate meanings. It asks us to rethink the questions of agency, creativity, imagination, and narrativity. Taking into account material-discursive practices (Karen Barad) and material-semiotic processes (Donna Haraway), material ecocriticism claims that matter is endowed with meanings and is thick with stories, manifesting as “storied matter.” In other words, there are multiple stories of cosmology, geology, history, ecology, and life embodied in every form of materiality. This essay discusses how atter and meaning coalesce in these narrative potentialities of the physical world, or “narrative agency,” a material ecocritical conceptualization of matter’s expressive capacity.

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September 19th, 2015

Michael Marder and Patricia Vieira | Writing Phytophilia: Philosophers and Poets as Lovers of Plants

26.2 Ecocriticism

Abstract

This essay considers the effects of phytophilia (the love of plants) in philosophy and in literature through an analysis of texts by French thinker Jean-Jacques Rousseau and by Brazilian poet Manoel de Barros. In his relation to vegetal beings, the phytophile philosopher grapples with something as elusive as sophia, namely the process of plant growth. Such an encounter radically changes the philosopher in that it opens his thought to the flux of becoming and metamorphosis, inaccessible from the standpoint of Western metaphysics. Like philosophers, phytophile poets are transformed by their love of plants. Through literary imagination, they can portray the being-in-the-world of plants, an experience that, in turn, will profoundly impact their poetic language and praxis.

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September 19th, 2015

Kym Martindale | Murder in Arcadia: Towards a Pastoral of Responsibility in Phil Rickman’s Merrily Watkins Murder Mystery Series

26.2 Ecocriticism

Abstract

Phil Rickman’s Merrily Watkins murder mystery series look to the ‘golden age’ of detective fiction to create then undo the pastoral upon which that form heavily relied. This paper examines how such a strategy might be termed post-pastoral in Terry Gifford’s understanding of that term, and promotes the idea that popular fiction has a role to play in reshaping pastoral so that it speaks to and for a future, rather than an idyllic and fictional past.

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September 19th, 2015

Astrid Bracke | Wastelands, Shrubs and Parks: Ecocriticism and the Challenge of the Urban

26.2 Ecocriticism

Abstract

Despite its development in recent years, ecocriticism has yet to meet the challenge of urban nature. This article presents an interdisciplinary ecocriticism that draws on urban studies to enable the study of urban nature in Jon McGregor’s Even the Dogs (2010) and Edgelands (2011) by Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts. Significantly, it foregrounds the negative aesthetics of nature that, although an important part of contemporary nature experiences, have remained unexplored in both ecocriticism and urban studies. As such, the approach not only allows for a fuller exploration of twenty-first-century human-nature relations, but also exposes the privileged perspective of much ecocriticism.

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June 26th, 2015