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Academia Copernicana
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Towards a New Poetics of Space: Intersections of the Feminine and the Environmental in North American Indigenous Fiction

Investigator

Title of the project “Towards a New Poetics of Space: Intersections of the Feminine and the Environmental in North American Indigenous Fiction”
Primary and secondary scientific disciplines literary studies; socio-political geography
Description of the project The project aims to reflect on the poetics of space that are mediated at the intersections of the feminine and the environment in contemporary North American Indigenous Fiction in English. The reflection is based on the assertion that colonization has yielded a negative imprint on both people and the environment, stressing that women and nature are most vulnerable to the negative effects of the colonial process. Through the colonial tangible and ideological conquest of North America, settler states, such as Canada and the United States, represent land as a resource meant to be exploited and owned (the concept of ownership). This approach to land contradicts Indigenous reciprocal relational ecologies that stress the interconnectedness and responsibility of a human subject towards the non-human.

Contemporary Indigenous fiction addresses the problems of altered ecosystems and lifestyles emerging from settler-colonial histories. The main objective of the project is, therefore, to determine the trajectory of representations of feminine environmental geographies in Canadian and American Indigenous fiction, including works by such authors as Lee Maracle, Linda Hogan, Louise Erdrich, Eden Robinson, Tracey Lindberg, and Cherie Dimaline.

Characteristics and main objectives of the research project:

·                     development of an interdisciplinary framework in order to analyse the selected literary works, including Indigenous studies, postcolonial critique, feminist theories (i.e. postcolonial feminism, eco-feminism, Indigenous feminism), posthumanism, eco-criticism, ethics of care, and postcolonial geography;

·                     exploration of the intersections of gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, and the environment as represented in contemporary North American Indigenous fiction written in English;

·                     a juxtaposition of the settler-colonial and Indigenous conceptualizations of space, in order to expose the ways in which these diverse mappings function in literary works;

·                     reflection on the decolonial potential of contemporary Indigenous fiction, emphasizing the issues connected to environmental degradation and women’s condition.

The project is conducted in cooperation with the School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol

Principal supervisor: dr hab. Anna Branach-Kallas, prof. UMK.

Subsidiary supervisor: dr Nelly Strehlau.

Foreign scientific advisor: dr Mark Jackson (University of Bristol).