Native Women and Land:
The complete book is Woman land and nation an ecocritical for purchase on Amazon. Nelson is a Foreign Service Officer in the U. The views expressed in this article are his own and not necessarily those of the U.
Department of State or the U. Abstract How does an understanding of the earth and the ways in which processes of domination and control have been mapped onto it throughout human history affect the way in which we understand foreign policy?
Drawing from work in literary criticism, particularly of French-language literature, this paper puts forward a postcolonial ecocritical approach to international relations. After defining postcolonial ecocriticism, this paper will argue for a new paradigm for understanding historical and contemporary events of global significance, developing foreign policy at the governmental and intergovernmental levels and training future policymakers and policy influencers.
At its heart, this paper proposes a more holistic approach to the ways in which space, land, identity and power can fit into international relations, far beyond simply focusing on environmental or ecological issues in the traditional sense.
By mainstreaming the problematization and deconstruction of the meanings of contested spaces and resources, a postcolonial ecocritical approach to international relations could help create more cogent foreign policy structures, particularly as these issues continue to fuel violent conflict and international disputes.
Global powers continue to vie for spaces and resources in the developing world to fuel a neo-mercantilist world economic system, with public diplomacy taking the place of the civilizing mission and development assistance taking the place of direct rule. It is becoming harder and harder to ignore the role that spaces and land play in the happenings of the international system, but, at the same time, there does not seem to be a strategic and political-level approach to understanding events and constructing policy that is conscious of the ways in which land, particularly in the developing world, is wrapped up in issues of history, violence, identity, nationalism and economics.
Borrowing from the field of literary criticism, this paper will argue for a postcolonial ecocritical turn in international relations, one that can shift the ways in which policymakers can process international crises, develop policies and train future practitioners.
Simultaneously, substantive engagement between postcolonial literary criticism and international relations policymaking would allow for crosspollination between two fields that seldom interact but that address many of the same questions and themes, a process that could prove mutually beneficial by allowing literary critics to better connect theory to lived experience and allowing policymakers to recognize the multivariate effects of their engagement with the developing world.
Understanding Ecocriticism and its Variants Ecocriticism is a relatively new subfield of literary criticism. In the years since, the basic ecocritical gesture — an increased scrutiny of space and land as more than a passive, neutral stage upon which human action occurs — has been applied to works outside the Anglo-American canon and has slowly begun to merge with other forms of literary criticism, such as critical feminism and postcolonialism, though not without some contestation.
But it is not simply a post-colonialization of ecocriticism: In a practical sense, this postcolonial ecocriticism is not so much about the beauty of flowers or trees as it is about mineral mines, oil fields, river deltas and urban areas whose ownership and meaning are still wildly contested.
But writing is not the only way in which persons can affirm their attachment to contested spaces: Processing Events Postcolonial ecocriticism can play a role as a descriptive tool in international affairs by highlighting the continuity between human and natural security, particularly in instances of lingering political and economic inequality due to the effects of colonialism, as well as postcolonial, elite-driven processes such as capitalism or the nationalization and denationalization of land and natural resources.
This section will engage in postcolonial ecocritical readings of two cases, the colonial exportation of haussmannisation and the drawing of the Syria-Iraq border, in an attempt to demonstrate how this way of thinking has practical and not just theoretical value.
The first case addresses issues of concrete and tangible space, while the second considers a more intangible conception of space; in both cases, the French state used the manipulation of space as a means of surveying and controlling a localized subaltern.
In both cases, as well, understanding the relationship between the individual, the state and space can provide important insight into both history and the present. When the opportunity came for the colonized to reclaim control over their land and space, there was sometimes a sort of de-haussmannisation, such as through the nationalization of vacated apartments biens vacants in Algiers and the almost immediate population of the European quarter with Algerians.
By understanding this transfer of ownership and power through an ecocritical lens, it is possible to draw a straight line from an era French Baron to a group of era Algerian nationalists. The act of decolonizing Algeria can be understood in large part as a diametric response to the methods of spatial governance that characterized both imperial and republican France.
The most-feared terrorist organization du jour, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham ISIShas announced its desire to establish an Islamic caliphate across the Levant, seeing in the regeneration of a Mohammedan state a clear historical antecedent that predates contemporary political borders forged by wars and European colonialism, in particular the British and French Sykes-Picot Agreement that divided the Levant into spheres of influence by drawing a diagonal line the southeast border of Syria that divided British from French territory.
The actual text of the agreement is less about the control of people or resources than it is about railways, ports and naval bases, determining which places would be on and off limits for the free transit of French and British goods through the region. The contestation of political borders in the Levant reveals the extent to which few spaces are actually value-neutral.
To understand events through the lens of postcolonial ecocriticism is to ask oneself the question: In the case of the Syria-Iraq border, groups are vying for control of spaces that were partitioned out years ago by colonial powers but which remain ungovernable today.
These groups see official governments as the maintainers of colonial-era divisions, and the struggle to establish an Islamic caliphate that transcends current borders can be read as an act of decolonization.
Particularly in the rebuilt cities of Africa and the Maghreb, it is clear that no amount of physical destruction can fully erase the significance of spaces and places. Decolonization then, with the habitation of the Algerian biens vacants as a particularly clear example, becomes an act of attempting to return spaces to their original meanings and reclaiming ownership.
Developing Policy If postcolonial ecocriticism can help us understand events from a different perspective, how can we create policy to reflect that understanding? More simply put, what would a postcolonial ecocritical foreign policy look like?When women lose their right to land, they often end up doing what they can to survive, including engaging in sex work, Kabanga said.
“We need to break the circle of insecurity faced by abandoned women and widows in the area of property rights,” she said in an interview.
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The ecocritical reading of her poems reveals that Atwood makes a parallel study of Canadian wilderness along with the position of woman in the traditional Canadian patriarchal society. It is also to be noted that Atwood herself has many times raised the voice for the protection of Canadian wilderness.
Jake Robert Nelson wrote "For a Postcolonial Ecocritical Approach to International Relations" as part of the Humanity in Action Diplomacy and Diversity kaja-net.com research essay was first published in Transatlantic Perspectives on Diplomacy and Diversity (Humanity in Action Press ).
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