Date of Thesis
Master of Arts
queer ecocriticism, queer theory, ecocriticism and ecofeminism, critical ecofeminism, queer ecology, memoir
In this thesis, I posit that the need for an active, conscious, and radical queering of ecocriticism as a literary and cultural theory has arisen in light of the postmodern problematization of “nature” and the “natural,” along with the queerness of society, culture, and science. The way we understand “nature” (in life and in texts), whether of physical environments, inherent selfhood, or normalcy, begs to be appropriately informed by discourses and realities of queerness in order for both social and environmental healing to take place. I have analyzed three works of queer creative nonfiction—memoirs—to illuminate the ways in which the lives of queer people and their queer phenomenologies might lay a groundwork for positive, healthy interaction between physical environments and animal societies, including humankind’s, and I found that queer experience and discourses provide much to the study of one’s relationship with environments and “nature.”
In this study, the three queer family memoirs from the twenty-first century I have analyzed are: Fun Home (2006) by Alison Bechdel, The Nature of Home (2007) by Greta Gaard, and The Argonauts (2015) by Maggie Nelson. I focused my reading on the extent to which these texts speak to the instability of prevailing systems and hierarchies we might not expect, such as family, home, love, and community. Eventually, these texts establish what signifiers “family,” “home,” “nature,” and “community” could be and mean if they were valued queerly, horizontally, and ecosystemically instead of hierarchically.
Lauer, Sam, "Disarming “Nature” as a Weapon: A Queer Ecosemiotic Reimagining of Futurity and Environmental Ethics Through Memoir" (2018). Master’s Theses. 208.
American Literature Commons, Animal Experimentation and Research Commons, Applied Ethics Commons, Biodiversity Commons, Ethics and Political Philosophy Commons, Indigenous Studies Commons, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies Commons, Literature in English, North America Commons, Literature in English, North America, Ethnic and Cultural Minority Commons, Other Arts and Humanities Commons, Other English Language and Literature Commons, Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Commons