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Title: Bodies of Water: Representations of Gender and Power in Asian Anthropocene Fiction
Authors: Adeline Johns-Putra
Keywords: ecofeminism
gender and environment
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment-Association of Southeast Asian Nations
Citation: Adeline Johns-Putra (2021). Bodies of Water: Representations of Gender and Power in Asian Anthropocene Fiction. Journal of Southeast Asian Ecocriticism 1 (1) : 4-17. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Ecofeminism deals with the relationship between women and the nonhuman environment, with many strands of ecofeminism basing their analysis on the assumption of a profound connection between the two. This essay evaluates the usefulness of such an understanding and considers its risks. I suggest that such risks emerge from reducing any varied, complex, and polysemic composite (such as ‘all women’ and ‘all of the nonhuman elements of the biosphere’) down to an essence (a single defnition of woman or of nature, and a single, common ground between them), thus missing the diversity of relationality and the importance of intersectionality in women’s experiences, as well as the complexity of the ecology of the nonhuman environment. I contend that not just literary criticism but literature do best when, rather than simplifying the essential symbolism of concepts into stereotypes, they adapt and exploit them—commenting on them ironically, complicating them knowingly, and revealing the contexts and layers of lived experience that underlie them. This essay begins by considering the risks of an essentialist view of women and nature, and then places these in the Asian context, discussing these in relation to the Indian novel, Gift in Green (2011), by Sarah Joseph.
Source Title: Journal of Southeast Asian Ecocriticism
Appears in Collections:Department Publications

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