Migrant Ecocriticism: Unbinding Movements and Spaces in Anthologies of Ecopoetry
“Migrant Ecocriticism: Unbinding Movements and Spaces in Anthologies of Ecopoetry” is an interrogation, reconceptualization, and reconstruction of the manner in which ecocriticism has valorized “place” in not only its many theoretical iterations but also in its formation of the ecopoetry canon and the anthologies that legitimize these canons. The territorialized discourse of the environmental humanities and the fact that it is largely (and initially) built on frameworks by mobile, economically secure, and abled white scholars have created a deep divide in its goals of a democratic environmental discourse that translates beyond the academe’s Ivory Tower. On that note, ecocriticism is also a radical, evolving, and outward-looking field that has been eager to acknowledge the gaps in its foundation, and is working towards scholarship, art, and activism that are responsive to the interlocking systems of oppressions that constitute the discussion of the “environment.” A Migrant Ecocriticism will interrogate and analyse selected ecopoetry anthologies using a migrant reading practice - one of narrative scholarship - that is responsive and attentive to the tensions and discoveries that re-curating these anthologies with one another may bring forth.
Empire and Environment: Confronting Ecological Ruination in the Transpacific
editor, with Heidi Hong, Jeffrey Santa Ana, and Xiaojing Zhou (forthcoming with the University of Michigan Press, 2022)
The essays collected in Empire and Environment concern Asian, Pacific Islander, and North American cultural works in response to the impact of colonialism and imperialism on ecological collapse and the production of environmental knowledge. The collection offers a diverse array of writings and images that engage with the violent accrual of what Ann Laura Stoler has termed “imperial debris,”[i] which evidences “the wasted matter left over by the project of development” on a planetary scale.[ii] Empire and Environment illuminates and emphasizes histories of imperialism, colonialism, militarism, and global capitalism to show how these histories are integral to understanding representations of environmental violence that are revealed as imperial debris in the Asia-Pacific region. The book shows how Asian American and Pacific Islander cultural works communicate the devastating environmental costs and consequences of imperialism, colonialism, and capitalist development (and their maintenance and perpetuation through militarism) in the Asia-Pacific and the Americas.
[i] Ann Laura Stoler, Imperial Debris: On Ruins and Ruination (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013).
[ii] Vyjayanthi Rao, “The Future in Ruins,” in Imperial Debris: On Ruins and Ruination, edited by Ann Laura Stoler (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013): 313.
Ecopoetics and the Myth of Motivated Form
co-author, with Greg Garrard (forthcoming in Close Reading in the Anthropocene, ed. Helena Feder, with Routledge Press, June 2021)
I A Richards was one of the progenitors of practical criticism and close reading of literature. One of the failings, or ‘difficulties’, he identified in readers was a belief that poetic form could have effects independent of the semantic content of the poem. We review examples of support for what it calls ‘the myth of motivated form’ in ecopoetics alongside critiques of this view. We undertake close readings of two poems in which form and content are indissociable, and conclude with an argument for the importance of close reading within the eco-literacy curriculum.
a steering to homes, or the ecopoetry of a migrant Filipinx
author, forthcoming with the annual ASLE-ASEAN journal publication, 2022
As of 2016, there are a recorded three million “documented” Filipinx migrants to countries all over the world. These growing numbers, increasing every year, have reflected the constantly changing landscape of the Filipinx identity - one that arguably has not yet been mapped with certainty due to years of oppression, colonisation, and, now, globalisation. These migrant Filipinx are often subjected to hardships and stereotypes that are perpetrated not only by their host countries, but also their fellow countrymen as well, which renders a major part of their experiences as a migrant “invisible.” Thus, this paper challenges the preconceived notions of a migrant Filipinx via the “homes” they have remapped on new landscapes within and beyond the country. I argue that Filipinx migrants are creating new “routes and roots” that are both fostering a new Filipinx identity and steering back to the Filipinx identity as they navigate their ways onto new landscapes.
Using Elizabeth DeLoughrey’s critique of “tidalectics,” which foregrounds “a dynamic method of geography that can elucidate island history and cultural production to provide frameworks that explore the complex and shifting entanglement between sea and land, diaspora and indigeneity, and routes and roots,” I aim to analyse an ecopoem each from Merlinda Bobis and Charlie Samuya Veric that both complicate the geographies of a Filipinx migrant. My hope is that in doing so, the multiplicities of landscapes that the Filipinx migrant experiences are amalgamated in a new environmental culture that is seen as an integral part of being a Filipinx - one that is not anymore solely centred on the homeland but recognises the possibilities of a new and innovative perspective to energise the current local and global environmental discourse.