Event Title

The Nature of Narratives and the Narratives of Nature: Wildlife Film, the Ecology of Folklore, and Wild Metamorphoses

Presenter Information

Cella Wright, Oberlin CollegeFollow

Location

King Building 123

Start Date

4-27-2018 5:30 PM

End Date

4-27-2018 6:50 PM

Abstract

Narratives profoundly reflect and affect how human beings interact with the natural world and where they place themselves within it. Indeed, nature documentaries and wildlife programs dramatically impose narratives upon biological contexts. A critical analysis of these mediums can inspire viewers to question their perceptions of nature and the presumptive infallibility of science, thus facilitating entirely new views of their relationship to the environment. I use a meta-analytical approach in tandem with close reading on a sampling of nature programs, wildlife films, folklore, and literature. In nature documentaries in particular, dominant narratives become discernible and can be applied, rather humorously, to new material. Interestingly enough, the role of science and metamorphosis manifests notably in some components of Latin American literature: people are depicted as morphing into wild animals, and the persuasive role of scientism is scrutinized as a (neo)colonial tool. Finally, the folktale of La Llorona, significant in Latinx folk traditions and diasporic communities, has an expansive history comprised of seemingly endless iterations and adaptations that participate in a complex web of communication. The study of ecology explores the complexity of interactions within ecosystemic networks. Narrative ecology can thus help us better understand how texts relate to one another as well as what kinds of conditions may have influenced them, such as gendered archetypes, colonization, and diaspora. In this way, narrative ecology asks: how are we representing ourselves in relation to nature and why?

Keywords:

folklore, nature, narrative, neo-romanticism and realism, biology, interdisciplinary, Spanish language, Latin America, diaspora, colonization, documentary, film, cinema, ecology, wildlife, magical realism

Notes

Session VII, Panel 18 - Narrative | Interjections
Moderator: Gillian Johns, Associate Professor of English

Major

Comparative Literature; Biology

Advisor(s)

Claire Solomon, Hispanic Studies; Comparative Literature
Mary Garvin, Biology

Project Mentor(s)

Claire Solomon, Hispanic Studies; Comparative Literature
Mary Garvin, Biology

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Apr 27th, 5:30 PM Apr 27th, 6:50 PM

The Nature of Narratives and the Narratives of Nature: Wildlife Film, the Ecology of Folklore, and Wild Metamorphoses

King Building 123

Narratives profoundly reflect and affect how human beings interact with the natural world and where they place themselves within it. Indeed, nature documentaries and wildlife programs dramatically impose narratives upon biological contexts. A critical analysis of these mediums can inspire viewers to question their perceptions of nature and the presumptive infallibility of science, thus facilitating entirely new views of their relationship to the environment. I use a meta-analytical approach in tandem with close reading on a sampling of nature programs, wildlife films, folklore, and literature. In nature documentaries in particular, dominant narratives become discernible and can be applied, rather humorously, to new material. Interestingly enough, the role of science and metamorphosis manifests notably in some components of Latin American literature: people are depicted as morphing into wild animals, and the persuasive role of scientism is scrutinized as a (neo)colonial tool. Finally, the folktale of La Llorona, significant in Latinx folk traditions and diasporic communities, has an expansive history comprised of seemingly endless iterations and adaptations that participate in a complex web of communication. The study of ecology explores the complexity of interactions within ecosystemic networks. Narrative ecology can thus help us better understand how texts relate to one another as well as what kinds of conditions may have influenced them, such as gendered archetypes, colonization, and diaspora. In this way, narrative ecology asks: how are we representing ourselves in relation to nature and why?