In light of Ursula Heise’s recent critiques of the concept of a “sense of place” in ecocriticism as well as the vibrant social movement for food justice emerging in the United States, Fiskio asks whether the concept of place can be reformulated in ways that are inclusive of communities on the borders of the food system and compelling to contemporary ecocriticism. Ecocriticism has relied until now on traditional agrarian ideals that privilege long-term inhabitation of place as a basis for responsible citizenship. Through close readings of Wendell Berry’s stories and essays, Helena María Viramontes’s novel Under the Feet of Jesus, and the documentary film The Garden, Fiskio argues for an agrarianism of the margins that unsettles these fundamental assumptions, illuminating the ethical agency of migrant and transnational laborers in situations of transience, and opening a space for multiple ways of producing food, community, and place.
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June 1, 2012
Janet Fiskio; Unsettling Ecocriticism: Rethinking Agrarianism, Place, and Citizenship. American Literature 1 June 2012; 84 (2): 301–325. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00029831-1587359
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