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Some Principles of Ecocriticism
Alex Gateson 23 October 2012
Transcript of Some Principles of Ecocriticism
Criticism Member Member Member Member Member Member Member (cc) photo by theaucitron on Flickr (cc) photo by theaucitron on Flickr SOME PRINCIPLES of Introduction Eco - oikos
Critic - kritis "house judge" nature arbiter of taste Ecocritic~ "a person who judges the merits and faults of writing that depicts the effects of culture upon nature, with a view toward celebration nature, berating its despoilers, and reversing their harm through political action." nature + culture Ecology and Ethics Strongly connected to a history of verbal expression. Shamans sang, chanted, and danced stories to heal disease or prevent disasters (imbalances in nature).
Classical scholars read or mapped the body and earth as analogous realms by using theoria and investigum.
For centuries the natural, descriptive sciences remained bound to words of local vernacular origin.
Carolus Linnaeus complied Systema Naturae which classified organisms into categories: .
Darwin's theory of evolution added verbs to Linnaeus' taxonomy.
The term "ecology" was coined in 1869 by
Ernst Haeckel, a German zoologist. kingdom, phylum, class,
order, family, genus, species. Haeckel's Science of Ecology Reflected socialist convictions.
He considered organisms' social alliances.
He compared data on the birth, death, and migration of species to conclude that organisms evolve to populations and then to communities.
Each of these environments create complex, interrelated networks.
"Ecology thus absorbed Linnean taxonomy, quantified Darwinian evolution, and revolutionized Mendelian genetics, creating a democratic science." Through social discourse ecology also defined ethical principles. Rachel Carson's Silent Spring
Land forms often reflect human sources.
Conquest of "winning" continents.
Sectional strifes between the North and South (slavery).
The foreign West seemed to offer new opportunities.
Remote locations like Alaska aroused the passions of environmentalist defenders, seeking Thoreau's acclaimed "tonic of wilderness."
Open, unsettled land raises ethical choices.
"A future source of cultural history may be landscape ecology, which avoids distinctions between natural and disturbed regions and uses a new spatial language to describe land by shape, function, and change." Boundary between Science and Literature Ecocriticism faces resistance in literary studies.
Dismissed as "flimsy" or "insufficiently problematic."
But texts do reflect how civilizations regarded their natural heritages. "Ecocriticism seeks to redirect humanistic ideology, not spurning the natural sciences but using their ideas to sustain viable readings." Ecocriticism Today Focus' on the idea of place as defining social status.
Strongest advocates are in feminist and gender critics.
Described as "a woman's place."
Urges the study of gender to examine evolutionary biology, where communities are not just cultural species. Ecocriticism: A Basic Library Natural Science Peter Farb ~ Face of North America: The Natural History of a Continent
William Beebe~ The Book of Naturalists: An Anthology of the Best Natural History
Ernest Mayr~ The Growth of Biological Thought
Edward O. Wilson~ The Diversity of Life
Peter J. Bowler~ The Norton History of the Environmental Sciences Geography James H. Brown and Arthur C. Gibson~ Biogeography
William Norton~ Explorations in the Understanding of Landscape
J. Douglas Porteous~ Landscapes of the Mind: Worlds of Sense and Metaphor Social Sciences Emma Bell Miles~ Spirit of the Mountains
Peter M. Wolf~ Land in America: Its Value, Use, and Control
Bryan Norton~ Toward Unity among Environmentalists
Donald Van DeVeer~ The Environmental Ethics and Policy Book Clarence J. Glacken~ Traces on the Rhodian Shore: Nature and Culture in Western Thought from Ancient Times to the End of the 18th Century
Donald Worster~ Nature's Economy: A History of Ecologial Ideas
John R. Stilgoe~ Common Landscape of America, 1580-1845
John Brinkerhoff~ Discovering the Vernacular Landscape
Raymond Williams~ The Country and the City
William Cronon~ Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West
Paul Carter~ The Road to Botany Bay: An Essay in Spatial History
Neil Evernden~ The Social Creation of Nature
Carolyn Merchant~ Major Problems in American Environmental History David Murray~ Forked Tongues: Speech, Writing and Representation in North American Indian Texts
Allen W. Batteau~ The Invention of Appalachia
Ralph H. Lutts~ The Nature Fakers: Wildlife, Science and Sentiments
Belden C. Lane~ Landscapes of the Sacred: Geography and Narratice in American Spirituality Gillian Tindall~ Countries of the Mind: The <eaning of Place to Writers
Leonard Lutwack~ The Role of Place in Literature
Joshua Meyrowitz~ No Sense of Place: The Impact of Electronic Media on Social Behavior
Joseph W. Meeker~ The Comedy of Survival: Studies in Literary Ecology
Gillian Beer~ Darwin's Plots: Evolutionary Narrative in Darwin, George Eliot, and 19th Century Fiction
Frederick O. Waage~ Teaching Environmental Literature: Materials, Methods, Resources
Lawrence Buell~ The Environmental Imagination: Thoreau, Nature Writing, and the Formation of American Culture History American Studies Literature and Media The End