The Apophatic Animal and Literary Representation

02/28/2020 - 2:00pm
Willy T. Young Library Auditorium
Speaker(s) / Presenter(s): 
Christine Marran, Professor of Japanese Literature and Cultural Stuides, University of Minnesota

Christine Marran's research lies within the disciplinary frame of ecocriticism. Her most recent book, Ecology Without Culture (University of Minnesota Press, 2017) argues that environmental thinking requires a critique of culture. Introducing her concepts of the “biotrope,” "ethnic environmentalism," and “obligatory storytelling,” Marran shows how cultural ideas, which work at a humanistic scale usually toward human interest, can impede our ability to speak about the more-than-human world. Through discussion of texts about industrial modernity, her new materialist approach illustrates how ecocriticism can account for things smaller and greater than a selective humanist “we” only if it takes a critical position on cultural exceptionalism. Marran’s previous book, Poison Woman: Figuring the Transgressive Woman, investigates the powerful icon of the transgressive woman, its shifting meanings, and its influence on defining women’s sexuality and place from its inception in the 1870s. Gender continues to be an important element in her work for understanding the ways in which toxins and other material aspects of industrial culture impact bodies differently. She has also written numerous articles on environmental issues in literary and visual culture.


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