Journal Articles

Spring Summer 2005 - Vol.35/No.3-4(P.2)
Interrogative Ecocriticism and the Rhetoric of Global Warming
Author : Daniel Fried
Keywords : ecocriticism, anthropocentrism, localism, global warming , interrogative, Ch’u Yuan, Lyrics of Chu, Heavenly Questions
The emergent field of ecocriticism, in its struggles for self-definition, has often focused on localized lines of contact between the human and the natural. In particular, a large proportion of studies in the new field have been dedicated to the explication of particular human encounters of the natural world. This is to be expected, because the object of study has an innate tendency to focus on the local and the particular: it is the value and significance of particular places which often leads the writer to chronicle the experience of nature. When nature is generalized, used in the abstract as a field of resonant imagery, to be deployed for rhetorical purposes, works appear as part of the mainstream of traditional literary history, and by losing special claim to ecological relevance, such works become less fruitful for ecocritical analysis. The usual localist focus of both literary and critical attempts to understand natural ontology and its relation to human culture is politically laudable. However, there is a serious difficulty with ecocritical localism. The same discursive motions that are used to support localist biocentric perspectives are also foundational to industrial propaganda which works to discredit mainstream climate change science. Uncritical localism thus runs the danger of reinforcing those discourses which aim to sustain the most aggressive and irresponsible forms of anthropocentrism. This paper will attempt to provide a theoretical model for how ecocriticism can and should address local experiences of the natural world in the context of global warming. After a brief review of the place of localism in ecocritical theory and demonstrating its convergence with the rhetoric of “global warming skeptics,” I will invoke the classical Chu lyric, “Heavenly Questions,” in order to suggest a mode of interrogative approach to the natural fact which might preserve a strategic localism without abetting anti-environmental forces. One should not enter on such criticism with exaggerated political hopes for such work, but there is probably some real value to shaping the discursive modes which undergraduates will bring with them into professional positions.
Tropical Edens: Colonialism, Decolonization, and the Tropics
Author : Iping Liang
Keywords : Robisonade, islands in literature, the Tropics, tropical Edens, The Isle of Silence, Tar Baby, Anil’s Ghost, the postcolonial
This paper concerns the representations of tropical islands by three contemporary novelists: Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison (Tar Baby, 1981), Taiwanese woman writer Su Wai-zheng (The Isle of Silence, 1994), and Sri Lanka-born Canadian poet and novelist Michael Ondaatje (Anil’s Ghost, 2000). Temporally spanning the last twenty years of the last century, the works under study are geographically spread across the Caribbean, the Indian, and the Pacific Oceans. Being scattered in “tricontinental” oceans, tropical Edens, nevertheless, tell colonial stories that are geographically determined. By reading the three works in tandem, I aim to investigate the dialectics between islands and continents, and between Western colonialism and tropical Edens in the East. I contend that tropical islands like Ceylon, Dominique, and Taiwan are, like the unnamed island in Robinson Crusoe, geographical bases and metonymies of Western colonialism. It is my argument that the spread of Western colonialism is tied with tropical Edenic islands, and that my reading of geographical dialectics will hopefully shed light to the “glocal knowledge” of the “Edenic island discourse.”
Body Heat, Weather, and Literature: Reading The Magic Mountain in the Age of Globalization
Author : Hanping Chiu
Keywords : Thomas Mann, tuberculosis, The Magic Mountain, discipline, fever, capitalism, weather, Walter Benjamin, symptoms, Gilles Deleuze
This paper looks at “fever,” “weather,” and “symptoms” in Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain in terms of the development, before an effective cure for this disease was discovered, of a clinical concept of tuberculosis. The perspective of our current age (process, condition) of globalization will serve as frame of reference for this study of Mann’s masterpiece, written and set in early 20"-century Germany. Walter Benjamin claims that when a vision drawn from the present points to the possibility of further dividing an historical fragment, the revolutionary chance arises that something canceled may be divulged in a smaller unit that still preserves it. In a literary text that views Nature as something lying beyond human intervention and the sanatorium as a disciplinary apparatus, there inevitably exist units that dissolve under the scrutiny of the present. The infinitely smaller units emerging out of this dissolution clamor to be reorganized into new configurations, with new conceptions being formed in the process.
Humidified Inspiration, Sensual Dampness, Corporeal Frenzy: Towards a Reading of Yu Hua’s “Shishi ruyan 世事如煙 ”(World like Mist)
Author : Jianguo Chen
Keywords : climate patterns, subtropical zone, phenomenology, auditory telepathy, cross-referential significance, climatological awareness, meteorology, corporeal consciousness, “cai yin bu yang”
This paper investigates the relationship between physical climate and corporeal consciousness as reflected in Yu Hua’s writings, particularly in his much anthologized story “Shishi ruyan 世事如煙 ”(World like Mist). Specifically, I examine how Yu Hua, through building up an intimate connection with a world of humidity and dampness, evokes or suggests a larger view of human existential realit(ies). In the paper I ask and address the following questions: What is the discursive power of humidity and climate in Yu Hua’s stories? How does this power affect human imagination, as well as human perception of reality? Furthermore, is there any correlation between humidity and sensual faculty? In other words, how does climate affect corporeal consciousness and how does the latter get represented in literature? An attempt to address these questions will lead to a better understanding of how Yu Hua engages climatic reference and cultural/literary consciousness in an interesting dialogue with each other in order to create a corporeal and linguistic experience of the natural/supernatural world.
Cross-Cultural Dialogues and Postcolonial Indigenization: Introducing Sikolohiyang Pilipino (Filipino Psychology)
Author : E. San Juan, Jr.
Keywords :