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The Affective Resonance of Country: Performing the Ecopoetic Self through Aboriginal Narratives

ContributorsBarras, Arnaud
Presented atAffective Habitus: New Environmental Histories of Botany, Zoology and Emotions, Canberra (Australia), 19-21 June 2014
Publication date2014
Abstract

In the 1990s the advent of theories of embodied cognition have rendered porous the boundaries between cognition, physiology, and ecology. A decade later ecopoetics has set itself to rethink the place of the human organism in the ecological fabric of the world. In this paper, I suggest that an ecopoetic approach can be applied to reading postcolonial environmental fiction. I will use the example of Alexis Wright's Carpentaria, a contemporary Aboriginal narrative, to illustrate that reading is a process in which the reader enters into an affective resonance with the described country. This interaction between reader and work involves three cognitive operations: the vicarious enactment of experiential processes; the articulation of indigenous ecological knowledge; and the substantiation of a plural and relational storyworld. The affective resonance thus produced is performative. It enables the reader to experience the described ecosystem emotionally through the lens of indigeneity, but it also expands her awareness of her own enmeshment in the fabric of life. In other words, reading Carpentaria directs the reader's attention to her poetic engagement with the ecological world. Ultimately, this conception of reading as an ecopoetic process reaffirms the importance of literary texts in the continuous transformation of socioecological systems.

Keywords
  • Ecology
  • Environment
  • Cognition
  • Affective
  • Ecopoetic
  • Interaction
  • Country
  • Aboriginal
  • Postcolonial
  • Literature
  • Organism
  • Australian
  • Carpentaria
  • Alexis Wright
Funding
  • Swiss National Science Foundation - Doc.Mobility
Citation (ISO format)
BARRAS, Arnaud. The Affective Resonance of Country: Performing the Ecopoetic Self through Aboriginal Narratives. In: Affective Habitus: New Environmental Histories of Botany, Zoology and Emotions. Canberra (Australia). 2014.
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  • PID : unige:39323
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