Date of Thesis

Spring 2018

Thesis Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Type

Master of Arts

Major

English

First Advisor

Glynis Carr

Second Advisor

Erica Delsandro

Third Advisor

Nikki Young

Keywords

queer ecocriticism, queer theory, ecocriticism and ecofeminism, critical ecofeminism, queer ecology, memoir

Abstract

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.

Share

COinS