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Literature, literary pedagogy and extinction rebellion (XR): the case of Tarka the Otter

Lesnik-Oberstein, K. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4970-0556 (2023) Literature, literary pedagogy and extinction rebellion (XR): the case of Tarka the Otter. In: Parham, J. (ed.) Essays and Studies on The Literature and Politics of the Environment. Boydell and Brewer. (In Press)

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Abstract/Summary

Extinction Rebellion’s ‘fifth principle’ starts by stating that ‘we value reflecting and learning. Following a cycle of action, reflection, learning, and planning for more action.’ This article will examine what this may be seen to mean in relation specifically to literature and the teaching of literature and discuss what the implications of such ideas are. The urgency of the issues at stake inevitably militates for a language of effect and affect and morality, but, as Timothy Clark suggests in 'The Value of Ecocriticism', such aims themselves have embedded in them both the language of a (neo-)liberal agenda of ‘agency’, ‘impact’, ‘choice’, ‘voices’, ‘story’ and ‘experience’ which elsewhere are held precisely to be deeply implicated in the production of the environmental catastrophe. As Helena Feder in her editorial introduction to Close Reading the Anthropocene similarly warns: ‘[i]n the Age of “Man,” the question of signification may all too easily reify the systems it claims to challenge, if not describe.’ As this article will discuss, however, what continues to be less raised in terms of the trap of reification is the question of representation so often assumed as the grounding of activism, (literary) reading and pedagogy.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > Graduate Centre for International Research in Childhood (CIRCL)
ID Code:108948
Uncontrolled Keywords:Ecocriticism; 'Tarka the Otter'; representation; Extinction Rebellion; literary theory; critical theory
Publisher:Boydell and Brewer

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