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Issue Details: First known date: 2016... 2016 ‘Labour against Wilderness’ and the Trouble with Property beyond The Secret River
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'The trouble with wilderness is well known in ecocriticism, less so are the troubles with property. To open an ecocritical path into the property question, this essay reads Kate Grenville’s 2005 novel The Secret River as an allegory about property ownership in contemporary Australia. Grenville describes the protagonist’s claim to property as ‘labour against wilderness’, which invites an investigation into the conceptual correlation between land that is supposedly untouched and that which is ‘owned’. Intersecting with extant postcolonial analyses of the novel, this essay takes up its representation of the labour and violence involved in white settler claims to land in order to develop an anti-colonial and ecological critique of property. In turn, I argue that labour practices oriented towards the acquisition of property actively work against the projects of decolonisation, on the one hand, and multispecies futures, on the other. The closing section of this essay offers some paths out of the wilderness/property double bind by speculating on methods for directing human action towards alternative futures.' (Publication abstract)

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Last amended 2 Dec 2016 10:57:35
140-155 ‘Labour against Wilderness’ and the Trouble with Property beyond The Secret Riversmall AustLit logo Green Letters : Studies in Ecocriticism
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