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From a Poetics of Collision to a Hermeneutics of Discovery: Rethinking Knowledge, History and Ecology in Rudy Wiebe's A Discovery of Strangers

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Presented at SANAS: Literature, Ethics, Morality. University of Basel - 21-22 November 2014 - . 2014
Abstract In the second part of the twentieth century, the rise of environmentalism and postcolonialism coincided with a shift in ecological values and practices. Ecofeminism emerged from and participated in that moral and ethical shift. Taking this approach, I argue that the genre of environmental literature contributes to destabilize and dissolve the rigid boundaries set up by monological and dualistic epistemology. Rudy Wiebe's A Discovery of Strangers (1994) illustrates well the dialogical nature of environmental literature. The novel represents the exploration of Arctic Canada in the nineteenth century both from the storytelling perspective of the indigenous Dene community, the Tetsot'ine, and from the historical perspective of the English explorers. This dialogical configuration causes the reader to reexamine the hyper-separation of history and story, fact and fiction, and colonial and indigenous ecological knowledge. Indeed, instead of separating these binaries, Wiebe's narrative unites them through a poetics of collision. In this context, the act of reading is both creative and critical: it consists in piecing together this plural and polyvocal storyworld, and by doing so, to question North American colonial history from a plural perspective. Ultimately, the reader's responsibility is twofold: it consists in unveiling the harmful exclusion of differences while asserting the need for creative dialogue.
Keywords HermeneuticsPoeticsCanadaEnvironmentKnowledgeEthicsDialogismEcofeminismFictionCollisionDiscoveryOtherStranger
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BARRAS, Arnaud. From a Poetics of Collision to a Hermeneutics of Discovery: Rethinking Knowledge, History and Ecology in Rudy Wiebe's A Discovery of Strangers. In: SANAS: Literature, Ethics, Morality. University of Basel. 2014. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:42208

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Deposited on : 2014-11-27

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