Dr Astrid Bracke (Radbout Universiteit Nijmegen, Universirty of Amsterdam)
This talk suggests that much new British nature writing expresses a specifically masculine nature rhetoric and favours masculine experiences of nature. It explores the performance of gender through nature experiences as well as the extent to which landscapes themselves may be gendered, and if so, whether those spaces central to new British nature writing can be called masculine or feminine.
By approaching new British nature writing from the perspective of ecocriticism, and particularly feminist geography, I will discuss a number of ways in which nature writings reflect and are part of a performance of gender. For instance, while many male (new) nature writers explicitly place themselves in a masculine tradition of exploration and nature writing, this tradition appears not to be available to female authors. Moreover, experiences of landscapes may also be gendered through the activities the authors engage in such as sleeping outdoors, taking physical risks and spending long stretches of time away from home. These and other elements of gender performance will be traced in the works of Robert Macfarlane, Kathleen Jamie, Jean Sprackland, Hugh Thomson and others.
Ultimately, the talk will be concerned not so much with separating male from female experiences of nature, but instead explore the conclusions that can be drawn from a gendered reading of new British nature writing, and particularly the kinds of natural spaces and experiences it propagates.
Open to all. No registration required.
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