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Teaching Environments

Ecocritical Encounters

Edited By Roman Bartosch and Sieglinde Grimm

The essays in this collection seek to bring together current developments in ecocriticism and the pedagogical practice of teaching English at all levels, from primary schools to Higher Education. They cover theoretical and practical discussions of the nexus between the sciences and the humanities and maintain that the notion of the two cultures be refused for good, they argue for the inclusion of particular texts or theoretical perspectives, and they suggest ways to teaching environments on different levels of language competence and in the context of historical and transdisciplinary encounters with ecology, nature, and animals. Despite this variety, they share some common threads and engage with questions that are highly relevant for teaching in general and have acquired even more relevance in our rapidly changing and posthumanist teaching environments: How do we raise consciousness without preaching? What kind of critical attitude is required for the empowerment of our pupils and students? How do we actually imagine encounters between the sciences and the (post)humanities, and which texts, what kind of texts, and which approaches will prove most fruitful?
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“A Deathless Love for the Natural and the Free”: Nature, Masculinity and Whiteness in 19th-Century America


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“A Deathless Love for the Natural and the Free”:

Nature, Masculinity and Whiteness in 19th-Century America

Dominik Ohrem (Cologne)

“The history of spatial changes,” as the ecofeminist philosopher and environmental historian Carolyn Merchant notes, “is a history of power changes” (Merchant 2010: 50). Few histories support this statement more evidently than those of the Americas and particularly the former settler colonies which are today the United States of America, where shifting power relations have worked to reshape continental space and replace indigenous socio-ecological systems from the very inception of colonial settlement. In American history, notions of nature and nation, environmental transformation and nation-building have been entangled in complex and often contradictory ways, thus rendering space and power inextricable cognates. In the course of the 19th century, as white America struggled to define the quintessence of “Americanness” and to fulfill its “destiny” of continental expansion, ideological entanglements between nature and nation not only came to the forefront in a more distinct and insistent manner, they were also bound up with prevailing ideas about race and gender, the meaning of whiteness, and the bounds of national identity.1

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