New Essays in Ecofeminist Literary Criticism
In 1991, Karen J. Warren argued that ecological feminism was "less visible but potentially just as important" as issues such as "[p]ollution, deforestation and desertification, ozone destruction, endangerment of species of animals and wildlife, vanishing wildernesses, and energy conservation." Today, nearly a decade later, ecofeminist activism and scholarship are becoming increasingly conspicuous as women and men resist the waste, injustice, and cultural impoverishment of global capitalism while attempting to preserve indigenous lifeways or create new, sustainable ones. In the process, feminist literary and cultural ecocriticism has become more interdisciplinary, multicultural, and international. Recent scholarly works have stressed the need to maintain the relationship between academic and activist discourses as ecocriticism gains legitimacy and becomes theoretically more coherent, to expand the scope of ecocriticism (extending further afield, beyond American studies, than did most earlier work), and finally, to sustain inquiry into issues of race, class, and gender. The present volume gathers essays in ecofeminist literary criticism and theory that extend this critical trajectory for ecocriticism in the context of social ecofeminist theory and practice. The theoretical, political, and literary concerns of the essayists overlap extensively as the volumes focuses on several major issues: multiculturalism and issues of environmental justice, constructions of masculinity and heterosexuality, formation of communities of resistance, and questions of language and representation. The volume's purposes are to stimulate further interest in the rich potential of ecofeminist perspectives to illuminate the cultural and environmental problems faced by women and men at the turn of the twenty-first century and to participate in some of the conversations the bring ecofeminist scholars and activists together. One of the major axioms guiding production of t his anthology is that ecocriticism as it attends closely to issues of environmental justice. The multicultural imperative necessitates that ecocritics engage literature authored by people of color. This in turn requires consideration of a canon expanded beyond traditional nature writing, for as Zora Neale Hurston made plain half a century ago in the essay, "What White Publishers Won't Print," black (and presumably other non-white) writers have traditionally been excluded from nature writings: "That a great mass of Negroes can be stirred by the pageants of Spring and Fall; the extravaganza of summer, and the majesty of winter . . . is ruled out." Fully half of the essays collected here engage literature by people of color, a necessary move if we are to fully understand how diverse people see the land and inhabit it and how struggles for social justice are related to environmental issues.
Contributors: Julie Sze, Charlotte Zoe Walker, Benay Blend, Mayumi Toyosato, Greta Gaard, Steven G. Kellman, Janice C. Crosby, Glynis Carr, L. Elizabeth Walker, Carol H. Cantrell, and Catrin Gesdorf.
About the editor:
Glynis Carr is an associate professor of English and Program Coordinator of Women's Studies at Bucknell University. She has published articles on women writers and is editor of "Turning the Century":Feminist Theory in the 1990s (1992) and The Online Archive of Nineteenth-Century U.S. Women's Writings (1997-present). Her current scholarship concerns ecocritical approaches to women writers.
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