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Exploring non-print media and environment
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  1. SearchWorks Catalog
  2. Green Cultural Studies: Nature in Film, Novel and Theory
  3. Green Cultural Studies : Nature in Film, Novel and Theory
  4. Bestselling Series
  5. Rethinking Eco-Film Studies - Oxford Handbooks

Cornut-Gentille D'Arcy, C. Gender, I-deology: Essays on theory, fiction and film. Amsterdam ; Atlanta: Rodopi. Cros, E. Theory and practice of sociocriticism. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Curran, T. A new note on the film: A theory of film criticism derived from Susanne K. Langer's philosophy of art.

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SearchWorks Catalog

De Lauretis, T. Technologies of gender: Essays on theory, film, and fiction. Doane, M. Femmes fatales: Feminism, film theory, psychoanalysis. Douglas, I. Film and meaning: An integrative theory. Perth, Australia? Eagle, H. Russian formalist film theory.

Green Cultural Studies: Nature in Film, Novel and Theory

Ann Arbor, Mich. Eberwein, R. A viewer's guide to film theory and criticism. Metuchen, N.

Green Cultural Studies : Nature in Film, Novel and Theory

Eisenstein, S. Film form: Essays in film theory. Film form: Essays in film theory, and, The film sense. Cleveland: World Co.. Film form: Essays in film theory, and The film sense. Cleveland: World Col.. Edited and translated by Jay Leyda. Fairservice, D.

Film editing: History, theory, and practice : looking at the invisible. Geuens, J. Film production theory. Albany, N. Giddings, R. Screening the novel: The theory and practice of literary dramatization. Basingstoke: Macmillan.

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Grodal, T. Cognition, emotion, and visual fiction: Theory and typology of affective patterns and genres in film and television. Copenhagen: University of Copenhagen, Dept. Moving pictures: A new theory of film genres, feelings, and cognition. Hanson, E. Out takes: Essays on queer theory and film. Hietala, V.


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Situating the subject in film theory: Meaning and spectatorship in cinema. Hochman, J. Green cultural studies: Nature in film, novel, and theory.


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Moscow: University of Idaho Press. Hockings, P. Cinematographic theory and new dimensions in ethnographic film. Osaka: National Museum of Ethnology. Hockley, L. Cinematic projections: The analytical psychology of C. Jung and film theory. Luton: University of Luton Press. Jeancolas, J. Patrick Murphy has emphasized the importance of engaging with non-Anglo-American literatures for the field in many of his publications; 8 Lawrence Buell, in his Future of Environmental Criticism , explores texts from a variety of anglophone traditions; and a range of recent publications has focused on the connections between ecocriticism and postcolonial theories and literatures.

Greg Garrard, in his book-length introduction to ecocriticism, has referred to such connections as one of the major conceptual challenges for the field But even though direct theoretical engagements with the question of transnational subjects and communities have so far been relatively scarce, environmentally oriented literary and critical texts have often addressed this question indirectly through parallels they establish between biological and cultural kinds of diversity.

By offering multicultural and sometimes transnational family romances as narrative resolutions of ecological conflicts, or by using biological and cultural diversity as direct metaphors for each other, such texts seek to appropriate the oppositionality of the transnational subject even as they remain resolutely local in their opposition to globalization. Through the analysis of two novels, Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Dreams and Ruth Ozeki's All Over Creation , I will show why these strategies remain problematic in the connections they attempt to establish between biology and culture, and why ecocriticism, in particular, needs a more nuanced engagement with theories of transnationalism.

The connections between biological and cultural forms of diversity, the desirability of preserving or restoring them, and the consequences of diminished diversity have been envisioned in a variety of ways in environmentalist writings. On one end of the spectrum, cultural practices are investigated as environments that create their own evolutionary selection pressures and thereby contribute to changes in the biological constitution of the human genome.

Gary Nabhan, in this vein, has explored how particular agricultural and culinary conventions in different regions and at various moments of human evolution might have contributed to human genetic diversity: for example, how the rise of cattle and dairy agriculture offered a selective advantage to the minority of human individuals who were lactose tolerant into adulthood, and thereby contributed to the spread of adult lactose tolerance 17— Nabhan, therefore, attributes great importance to the maintenance of cultural diversity in its interactions with ecological conditions as a way of preserving and enhancing human health.

In a more common and less biologically rigorous argument, ecological conditions are understood as the foundation of cultural specificity, as the central and most important forces that shape cultures. These arguments have particular force for those types of knowledge and practice that are directly connected to surrounding ecosystems, such as indigenous classifications and uses of plant and animal species, culinary and medical practices, or irrigation and harvesting techniques. They become less compelling the more they exclude—as Shiva's arguments tend to do—the possibility of new cultural formations and diversities emerging from other than ecological factors: for example, from metropolitan environments, communications networks, new forms of economic organization, or technological innovation.

If consideration of such alternatives would seem to entail a more cautious interpretation of ecological diversity as only one among many factors contributing to cultural diversity, literary and critical texts sometimes suggest through their narrative logic or their tropes that the two types of diversity are in fact homologous to each other.

Such is the case, for example, in novels that offer cultural or ethnic diversity as a narrative solution to environmental problems, on the assumption that ecological and cultural variety pose parallel ethical challenges. Japanese-American novelist Karen Tei Yamashita, for example, concludes her novel Through the Arc of the Rainforest , which describes the flourishing and decline of a community in the Amazon region of Brazil with devastating ecological consequences, by picturing the protagonist, a Japanese immigrant, united with his Brazilian housekeeper and her two children and happily ensconced on a farm offering all the biological riches that ecological crisis had seemed to make unavailable earlier.

In somewhat different fashion, Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible , which revolves around the cultural and ecological misunderstandings that arise when an American missionary takes his family to the Belgian Congo before and during its struggle for independence, offers a model for an alternative eco-cultural lifestyle through the marriage of one of the missionary's daughters to a Congolese man and their four children. While these novels—as well as others that are less explicitly focused on ecological issues, such as Yamashita's Tropic of Orange —set their plots in an overtly transnational framework, I would like to focus here on Kingsolver's Animal Dreams , which quite explicitly deals with localism and transnationalism through a narrative that juxtaposes the southwestern US and Nicaragua and offers close parallels to Ozeki's All Over Creation , which I will discuss in the next section of this article.

Unsettled about her place in life—she has dropped out of medical training during her first year of residency and is in the process of breaking up with her partner, Carlo—Codi reluctantly returns to Grace, Arizona, which she remembers as a rather dreary place. At the same time, her younger sister Hallie, who had shared a house with her and Carlo in Tucson, heads down to Nicaragua as a volunteer aid worker to help the rural population of Chinandega develop more ecologically sustainable farming practices, at a moment when the country is riven by civil war between Sandinistas and Contras.

On her return, Codi confronts her estrangement from her home town, her disapproving father, and memories of her long-deceased mother, as well as of a high school pregnancy and miscarriage. Gradually, she renews her romantic relationship with the man by whom she had become pregnant in high school, a Native American named Loyd Peregrina, and she discovers that her own genealogical roots lie in Grace's Hispanic past rather than in Anglo Illinois, as she had earlier supposed on the authority of her father's stories.

Environmental problems intrude upon and complicate the protagonist's rediscovery of her past. The Black Mountain Mining company, operating nearby, has turned the local river acidic in contravention of EPA regulations, and is now constructing a dam to divert the toxic river, which would leave the town of Grace without an agricultural water supply.

Codi, charged with teaching biology to kids in the local school, gradually turns from mere provider of scientific information into a community activist who helps to mobilize the town's women against the river diversion at the same time that Loyd teaches her a new relationship to the land. In the end, the town is saved from further mining operations by being declared a national historical landmark.

In spite of her activism, however, Codi continues to feel inferior to her sister Hallie's transnational sense of mission and moral integrity throughout most of the novel. But toward the end, Hallie is kidnapped by the Contras, held prisoner for several weeks, and finally shot dead. In reaction to her death, Codi attempts to escape her Grace life and rejoin her partner Carlo, but ultimately decides to stay where her familial roots are, caring for her father until his death from Alzheimer's disease, and becoming pregnant again by Loyd.

Through the fates of the Noline sisters, Animal Dreams outlines two models of environmental awareness and ethics. Hallie is driven by her convictions, her sense of purpose, idealism, and enthusiasm to leave her home country and follow the tracks of US foreign policy so as to help repair its destructive consequences, and to use her considerable botanical expertise she holds a degree in Integrated Pest Management for the benefit of rural populations in the developing world. Her experience abroad fills her with such reservations about the US and forges such strong bonds to her adopted home that she indicates to Codi in one of her letters that she is not sure whether she will want to return home once the war is over; this intention is literally fulfilled as she is killed and, according to her wishes, buried in Nicaragua.

Codi, in contrast, suffers deeply from alienation and depression, a sense that she has not found her place in life. A pilot would call it ground orientation. In the end, she finds her own identity and her social and ecological niche by immersing herself deeply in the town where both sisters were born, returning to her roots and her high school sweetheart, turning into an environmental activist, and newly conceiving the life that had aborted itself when she was a teenager. Very clearly, then, the novel juxtaposes transnational and local modes of engaging with questions of identity, belonging, and environmental politics.

On the surface, both of these modes of engagement are validated positively in the novel through Hallie's martyr's death and Codi's start into a new and better life. Yet, it goes without saying that they do not structurally occupy similar places in the narrative. The story is told for the most part from Codi's point of view and in short, interspersed chapters from her father's, while Hallie is present only through their memories and her letters from Central America.

Hallie, therefore, functions in the novel as the allegory of an environmentally inflected love of humanity, whereas her sister, a considerably more complex novelistic character, engages the world with a great deal more ambiguities and tensions. In accordance with the localist emphasis I highlighted earlier, it is Codi's re-immersion into her place of origin that interests Kingsolver far more than Hallie's saintly engagement with the world abroad.

Indeed, at the end of the novel, Codi symbolically takes Hallie's place. She got a degree in Integrated Pest Management. In terms of the novel's plot dynamic, therefore, Hallie's transnational engagement functions mostly as a catalyst for Codi's recommitment to the local. As Kingsolver portrays it, the Nolines' hometown derives its character from its mixed cultural heritage—Native American, Hispanic, and Anglo.

As replacements for Codi and Hallie's own deceased mother, the community of Hispanic women in this scene comes to function as an extended family that not only helps Codi find her own identity, but also forms the backbone of the environmental activism that is, in the end, able to avert the ecological hazard threatening the town. Multicultural domesticity, foregrounded in the women's sewing and crafts skills as well as in their relationship to Codi, becomes one of the cornerstones of an environmental ethic.

This underlying logic of Kingsolver's plot surfaces even more visibly in Codi's recuperation of her romance with Loyd Peregrina, a Native American of mixed Apache, Navajo, and Pueblo descent who is not only so handsome that many of the town's women desire him, but who has also reformed from the rakish days of his youth and turned into a dependable and thoughtful breadwinner working as an engineer on the railroad. It looks like something alive that just grew here.

Don't be some kind of a big hero. No Washington Monuments. This [ancient pueblo] looked more than embraced. It reminded me of cliff-swallow nests, or mud-dauber nests, or crystal gardens sprung from their own matrix: the perfect constructions of nature. As if to confirm that it is Loyd's authentic connection to the earth that cements their relationship, it is in the midst of the labyrinthine Kinishba Pueblo that Loyd and Codi reinitiate their sexual relation. The novel follows the couple through Codi's introduction to a variety of Native American communities, customs, and ideas all the way to her final rejection of Carlo and to a pregnancy by Loyd that is clearly intended as the symbolic recuperation of her teenage miscarriage.

Through Codi's reconnection to her Hispanic substitute mothers and her permanent union with a Native American partner, Animal Dreams establishes the multicultural family as its central answer to environmental crisis. In literal terms, this crisis is resolved in a perfunctory and implausible way, with the Black Mountain Mining corporation simply shutting up shop and leaving the area after the town's citizens have submitted their request to have Grace declared a historical landmark. In the far more important symbolic terms that the novel emphasizes, it is the multicultural community literally and metaphorically portrayed as family which Kingsolver offers as the solution to the environmental problem, a solution into which even Hallie is absorbed during the memorial service.

The underlying logic in plots such as that of Animal Dreams suggests that even if no simple answers can be found to the problems thrown up by scenarios of ecological crisis around the world, the establishment of existential ties with cultural others through romance and family can metaphorically substitute for such solutions. Ethnic and cultural diversity, in other words, are called upon to provide the answers to political—ecological questions, on the underlying assumption that cultural and ecological crises are in some way isomorphic and can be solved in terms of the same overarching logic.

The multicultural or transnational family is recuperated as an agent of social resistance and as a synecdoche for a more ecologically sustainable social order even as the insistently domestic framing of such cultural encounters contains and limits their socially transformative power. What enables multicultural and transnational family romances to function as narrative solutions to environmental problems, as mentioned earlier, is an understanding of ecosystems and human social systems as analogous in their structure and as subject to the same ethical imperatives.

In both cases, diversity is valued as a desirable asset in and of itself and reduction of diversity is deplored as ecologically damaging and politically oppressive. This parallel emerges even more forcefully in critical and creative texts that metaphorically superimpose biological and cultural diversity upon each other. This type of metaphoricity underlies, for example, an essay on restoration ecology by the philosopher Stephen Kellert.

Green Cultural Studies Nature in Film, Novel and Theory

Kellert, a resident of Minnesota, describes how he listened to a ranger's talk on how to restore native prairie habitat: The [next] step was to exterminate all the non-native plants in the chosen area. Thinking about the moving image extends to many formats, including panoramas, dioramas, video art installations, online digital displays, scientific data schematisation and other visual apparatuses, as well as narrative and non-narrative film and cinematic projection. The question of what can moving images do ecologically brings to prominence questions of aesthetics, poetics, politics, ethics, mediation and representation of the nature of nature and the nonhuman.

Submissions from any of the disciplines that concern themselves, in one way or another, with the moving image are welcome. These include film and cinema studies, new media and video, film-philosophy, literary studies, environmental humanities and associated disciplines. Cognitive, phenomenological and affective accounts of environment and moving image Ivakhiv Ecocinema and green film criticism within the context of the environmental arts and humanities: advancing fields of critique through the moving image?

Abstracts — words are due on 31st January, with a view to submit articles by April Abstracts should be forwarded to: editor transformationsjournal. References Carroll, N. Engaging the Moving Image.

Rethinking Eco-Film Studies - Oxford Handbooks

New Haven: Yale University Press. Emmett, R. Hochman, J. Ivakhiv, A.