The essays in this collection build on the belief that the repertoire of violence conceptual and literal toward nature and women comprising our daily lives must become central to our ecocritical discussions, and that basic literacy in theories about ethics are fundamental to these discussions. The book of f ers an international collec-tion of scholarship that includes ecocritical theory, literary criticism, and ecocultural analyses, bringing a diversity of perspectives in terms of gen-der, sexuality, and race. Reconnecting with the histories of feminist and ecofeminist literary criticism, and utilizing new developments in postcolo-nial ecocriticism, animal studies, queer theory, feminist and gender studies, cross-cultural and international ecocriticism, this timely volume develops a continuing and international feminist ecocritical perspective on literature, language, and culture. Simon C.

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But how to work, or work out, if one is seen as a piece of meat? Born Val Morell, the late philosopher was a literal force of nature: living near Plumwood Mountain in south-east Australia, she chose to change her surname to the common name for Eucryphia moorei the trees and mountain are now also the namesake of an Australian journal of ecopoetry and ecopoetics. In her landmark text Feminism and the Mastery of Nature , Plumwood devises the Master Model to explain how Western societies quite literally naturalise the domination of certain groups based on their gender, sex, race, class, nationality, or species.

The title of the text immediately causes one to wonder what uncritical ecofeminism may be. Did one make way for the others, or are they separate entities? It has already been acknowledged on this thread that there is a problem of gender imbalance in ecocriticism.

Ecofeminists assert the existence of an uncomfortable reality: the interconnected oppression of human and nonhuman beings, particularly those who hold less power due to imperialist and colonial histories of masculinist violence. Yet many of the solutions which the movement proffers turn to fantasy and escapism, such as an imagined world where cissexual women are treated as equals — if not natural superiors — to men.

For readers who are familiar with ecofeminism and charges levelled against it due to the perceived naturalisation of gender differences such terminology may sit slightly uneasily. But overall, Critical Ecofeminism is a comprehensive and rigorous piece of work. Adams and Laura Wright , as illustrated by this mission statement: In this book, I try to do with words what [Kurt] Seaberg does with art: illuminate relationships among social justice, transspecies justice, and ecological justice, all rooted in whether humans conceive and perceive our self-identity as intra-active Barad and kincentric Salmon , or whether we see our identity as separate from the rest of life, superior to earthothers, and thus free to control, remake, manipulate, burden, or destroy.

The implication of this wording is that the human, nonhuman, inhuman and more should all be included in conversations about ecofeminist justice. She argues that more fiction, in particular, needs to focus on the material implications of interconnected oppressions.

With the mention of birth in the above quotation, we are brought back to the prickly issue of labour: a word that, when taken literally, is essentially gendered in ecofeminist discourse. What follows is a display of interdisciplinary research at its finest.

Greta Gaard is a literary scholar, but the chapter engages with convincing statistics from milk sales, percentages of hormones in dairy, estimated numbers of women who choose to breastfeed, and more.

There is an excellent — but terrifying — analysis of the sexual politics of milk, mostly based in India. Similar entanglements are explored in the subsequent chapter, which investigates the debilitating impact of fireworks — not just upon dogs a well-documented concern for animal welfarists, as anyone with a pet-owning Facebook friend will know , but also on young children, indigenous populations, and refugees.

With Hollywood films and first-person shooter games employing pyrotechnic special effects, fireworks figure as symbolic shorthand for American identity. Gaard argues that this is especially true in the southern US, where everything from Independence Day to Christmas may be celebrated with crackers due to lax legal regulations.

Once again, the author references the material features of her argument with data from health sciences and pollution studies. What starts as an ironic point about nationalism takes a sober turn as one reads a list of those affected by toxic heavy metals found in pyrotechnics: laboratory animals, companion animals, wild animals, farmed animals, and human animals. Adolescent boys in westernised nations such as the US are particularly at risk of misusing fireworks and harming themselves or others.

Some may be challenged, however, at the thought of queering ecofeminism — particularly when the work leans towards ecosexualities and the ecoerotic, two concepts that appear to have spiritualist associations for Gaard.

Greta Gaard unapologetically and consistently defines critical ecofeminism as inherently posthumanist in its ethical scope. Although she is initially relucant to refer to messaging, a practice with technological connotations, this word and its association with technoscientific developments actually strengthens her argument by deconstructing the supposed nature-culture divide which some earlier iterations of the above movements reinforce.

These are the sort of contemporary reimaginations which ecofeminist theory critically needs. It is testament to her strength and self-assurance as a scholar that she melds the work of so many thinkers — and, most notably, the life-story of Val Plumwood — to restore the foundations of eco-justice for future studies. Share this:.


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Murphy, was the first anthology to examine not only how ecofeminist theory might enhance literary criticism but also how close reading of texts might inform ecofeminist theory and activist practice. This development in ecocriticism was welcomed by scholars who, along with Simon C. Estok, believe that "if ecocriticism is to have any effect outside of the narrow confines of academia, then it must not only define itself but also address the issue of values in ways that connect meaningfully with the non-academic world. As Gaard writes in her introduction to that piece, Although many ecofeminists acknowledge heterosexism as a problem, a systematic exploration of the potential intersections of ecofeminist and queer theories has yet to be made.





Greta Gaard




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