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CFP: Women Writing Nature: A Feminist View (9/1/05; NEMLA, 3/2/06-3/5/06)
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Call for Papers for the North East Modern Language Association meeting in Philadelphia - March 2-5, 2006.
Women Writing Nature: A Feminist View
Rachel Carson, writer, scientist, and ecologist, became famous as a naturalist and science writer for the public. Embedded in her early works was the view that human beings were but one part of nature distinguished primarily by their power to alter it, in some cases irreversibly. With the 1962 publication of Silent Spring, she challenged the practices of agricultural scientists and the government, and called for a change in the way humankind viewed the natural world. (Rachel Carson.org)
Since Silent Spring, was published, the number of texts about the natural world written by women has grown exponentially. These fiction and nonfiction texts are as diverse as the women who write them. Terry Tempest Williams draws connections between cancer in her extended family and the downwind effect of nuclear testing. Kathleen Dean Moore links her exploration of rivers and Pacific coastal bays to an understanding of her father and her children. Susan Griffin explores the eroticism of the natural world. Writers such as Ana Castillo and Linda Hogan call attention to environmental justice issues and the effects on minority communities.
These women are utilizing the historical connection of women and the natural world in new ways. For centuries women have been associated with nature but many feminists have sought to distance themselves from nature because of representations of women controlled by powerful Anatural forces@ and confined to domestic spaces. However, in the spirit of Rachel Carson, some writers have begun to invoke nature for feminist purposes or have used nature as an agent of resistance.
This roundtable will consider women=s writings about the natural world in light of recent and current feminist theory.
Barbara J. Cook