In his study of captivity narratives, Kyhl Lyndgaard argues that these accounts have influenced land-use policy and environmental attitudes at the same time that they reveal the complex relationship between ethnicity, landscape, and authorship. In connecting these themes, Lyndgaard offers readers an alternative environmental literature, one that is dependent on an understanding of nature as home rather than as a place of temporary retreat. He examines three captivity narratives written in the 1820s and 1830s - A Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Mary Jemison, The Captivity and Adventures of John Tanner, and Life of Black Hawk -all of which engage with the Jacksonian policy of Indian removal and resist tropes of the so-called Vanishing Indian. As Lyndgaard shows, the authors and the editors with whom they collaborated often saw their stories as a plea for environmental and social justice. At the same time, audiences have embraced them for their vision of a more inclusive and less exploitative American society than was proffered by the rhetoric of Manifest Destiny. Their legacy is that while environmental and social justice has been slow in fulfilment, their continued popularity testifies to the fact that the struggle for justice has never been ceded.
Prologue: Taking off the Moccasin Flower and Putting on the Lady's Slipper: Indian Removal and the Natural Environment in the Nineteenth Century
Chapter 1: Redemption Deferred: American Captivity Narratives as Environmental Literature
Chapter 2: The Great Slide: Mary Jemison's Ruptured Narrative
Chapter 3: Scientific and Sympathetic Collaboration: Edwin James and John Tanner
Chapter 4: All Along the Watch Tower: Life of Black Hawk as a Counter Captivity Narrative
Chapter 5: Communitist Narratives of Exile and Restoration
Since the dawn of human artistic and cultural expression, the natural world and our complex and often vexed relationships with the other-than-human have been essential themes in such expression. This series seeks to offer an encompassing approach to literary explorations of environmental experiences and ideas, reaching from the earliest known literatures to the twenty-first century and accounting for vernacular approaches throughout the world. In recent decades, it has become clear that highly localized, non-Western forms of literary expression and scholarly analysis have much to contribute to ecocritical understanding—such studies, as well as examinations of European and North American literatures, are encouraged. Comparative treatments of literary works from different cultures, cultural expression in various media (including literature and connections with visual and performing arts, ecocinema, music, videogames, and material culture), and interdisciplinary scholarly methodologies would be ideal contributions to the series. What are the lessons regarding human-animal kinship that can be gleaned from indigenous songs in Africa, Amazonia, Oceania, the Americas, and other regions of the world? Which discourses of toxicity in the urban centers of contemporary East Asia and the post-industrial brownscapes of Europe and America might gain traction as we seek to balance human and ecological health and robust economies? What are some of the Third World expressions of postcolonial ecocriticism, posthumanism, material ecocriticism, gender-based ecocriticism, ecopoetics, and other avant-garde trends? How do basic concepts such as "wilderness" or "animal rights" or "pollution" find expression in diverse environmental voices and become imbricated with questions of caste, class, gender, politics, and ethnicity? The global circulation of culturally diverse texts provides resources for understanding and engaging with the environmental crisis. This series aims to provide a home for projects demonstrating both traditional and experimental approaches in environmental literary studies.
Scott Slovic, University of Idaho, USA
Swarnalatha Rangarajan, Indian Institute of Technology Madras
Matthew Wynn Sivils, Iowa State University, USA