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Monday, November 23, 2009

The Green Literature Proposal

I think I mentioned this on my Twitter a few times, but if you don't follow me there, then this may be new to you. I recently sent out an abstract for a paper to a conference about green literature (specifically in science fiction). I haven't heard back yet, but regardless, I wanted everyone to see what I was thinking about doing.

So, here goes:
The notion of the environment as an inanimate, and particularly harsh “other” brings to the forefront a particularly challenging question following what will likely be an inevitable requirement for humans to move into non-traditional living spaces: how must we survive at home or elsewhere when the potential range of environments leans heavily to what we currently accept as uninhabitable?

Science fiction posits that this move will entail a variety of responses, and of particular interest are subaltern responses to cultural othering. Sly Mongoose by Tobias S. Buckell, Marseguro by Edward Willett, and The Silver Ship and the Sea by Brenda Cooper all imagine the future of subaltern figures as merging with an otherwise inhospitable environmental space. This symbiosis with the environment develops as a result of a desperation to seek shelter from a dominant human culture that seeks to purge the subaltern class from society.

In this paper, I intend to analyze two things: 1) the symbiotic relationship between the subaltern and the environment and the fragility of such a relationship, even in far-future human vision; and 2) the implications/affects of such a symbiotic relationship on the nature of identity, both to the self and to the environment.
So, thoughts?

P.S.: It should be noted that I was partially inspired by Matt Staggs and his greenpunk manifesto.

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2 comments:

  1. An interesting idea. Are you also going to look at how the author's nationality affects their outlook? This theme is sometimes examined with a cultural lens, as Canadian literature in particular has often dealt with a symbiosis with nature, where American literature has more often dealt with conquering the environment.

    Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy, for example, deals with the conquering of the martian environment, forcing it to habitable conditions.

    Karl Schroeder on the other hand, has written fiction in a most unusual environment, where humans have adapted. He was interviewed by EcoGeek about some ecological ideas.

    Something to think about perhaps.

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  2. Well, I suspect some of that will play into this, but I don't expect that it will be a major component. Willett is Canadian, but all of the authors I'm working with here make use of symbiotic relationships to the environment.

    But you do make a good point that I'll have to think about as I read these texts.

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