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Renegade and relevant : American women's visions and voices in ecocritical theory and pedagogical practice

Author: Shari Michelle Childers; University of Texas at Dallas. Graduate Program in Humanities.
Publisher: 2008.
Dissertation: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Texas at Dallas, 2008.
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation : Manuscript   Archival Material : English
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
This dissertation attempts to bridge the divide between ecocritical scholarship and environmental-literary instruction. Recently, an expanding awareness of environmental crisis has led to increasingly mainstream discussions of environmental relatedness and sustainability and, consequently, to the burgeoning of courses, curricula, and programs designed to promote environmental education and education for sustainable
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Details

Named Person: Susan Fenimore Cooper; Mary Hunter Austin; Leslie Silko; Joan Slonczewski
Material Type: Thesis/dissertation, Manuscript, Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Archival Material, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Shari Michelle Childers; University of Texas at Dallas. Graduate Program in Humanities.
OCLC Number: 313368647
Notes: Includes vita.
Description: ix, 291 leaves : ill. ; 28 cm.
Responsibility: by Shari Michelle Childers.

Abstract:

This dissertation attempts to bridge the divide between ecocritical scholarship and environmental-literary instruction. Recently, an expanding awareness of environmental crisis has led to increasingly mainstream discussions of environmental relatedness and sustainability and, consequently, to the burgeoning of courses, curricula, and programs designed to promote environmental education and education for sustainable development. In spite of rapidly expanding ecocritical scholarship in the field of literature and the environment, however, little attempt is being made by scholars to share with other educators the knowledge they have gained. As evidence of the divide between scholarship and educational practice, I first examine the disparity between the rich variety of authors and environmental perspectives considered in ecocritical theory and the narrow range of literary voices that still dominate environmental discourse in educational experiences. In the remaining chapters, rather than argue for specific teaching practices, I attempt to offer a model of "renegade" engagement for ecocriticism in contemporary, mainstream discourse.

I utilize women's environmental literatures in an effort to hasten the rectification of the canonical biases inherited from the history of nature writing. I dedicate a chapter each to Susan Fenimore Cooper's Rural Hours (1850), Mary Hunter Austin's Land of Little Rain (1903), Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony (1977), and Joan Slonczewski's A Door into Ocean (1986) in an attempt to recover the historicity and variety of American women's eco-literatures. Each chapter has two parts. In the first, I contextualize the visions of these women's texts with respect to contemporary perspectives on environmental sustainability and contemporaneous developments in natural ecology. In the second, I contextualize the voices of these women's texts with respect to the American literary tradition and ecocritical theory. Also, I suggest specific ways educators might use each text to engage students in the broader sustainability debate ongoing in the natural, social, and political spaces around them. In doing so, I aspire to a "principle of relevance" in literary criticism that William Rueckert suggested when he coined the term "ecocriticism" in 1978: I attempt to continue his experiment in ecocriticism and teaching, bringing literature and ecology together in the hope of saving the world with words.

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