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Issue Details: First known date: 2015... no. 5 2015 of Australasian Journal of Ecocriticism and Cultural Ecology est. 2011 Australasian Journal of Ecocriticism and Cultural Ecology
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* Contents derived from the 2015 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Trees That 'Grow on You' : Naturalist Taxonomy and Ecopoetics of Interrelatedness in Murray Bail’s Eucalyptus, Jessica Maufort , single work criticism
'Investigating transcultural encounters between Europe and Australia in Murray Bail's Eucalyptus through an ecocritical lens, this essay re-evaluates the act of naming trees with regard to the status of the character symbolically called Holland. Critics have underlined how, in colonial contexts, the naturalist taxonomy of the environment partakes of the settlers' conquest of new colonies: Jamaica Kincaid's assertion 'to name is to possess' crystallises this cultural process of ecological imperialism. While I acknowledge this phenomenon, a re-appraisal of the naming practice in Eucalyptus allows us to transcend the legacy of polarised colonial and anthropocentric perspectives. Holland's status may be interpreted positively in view of Neil Evernden's concept of 'man-in-environment': if so, the act of naming represents the individual's constructive attempt at establishing a sense of place within a new territory. Bail's protagonists exemplify different stages in this process of interrelatedness between the human and non-human realms, one which resists a conventional subject-object relationship. Whereas the ambivalent Holland embodies a factual and existential naturalism, the imaginative approach to the treescape of his daughter Ellen and her storytelling suitor fully emancipates them from the commodifying effect of Holland's naming competition. Bail's aesthetics reflects the dissolving boundary between the self and environment: deployed in the suitor's fable-like stories and Bail's rich prose, the ecopoetic devices of anthropomorphism and zoomorphism defy the rational laws of Western realism. This ecopoetics of interrelatedness restores the agency of the eucalypts while negating the concept of a traditionally dominant human presence in the environment. In Eucalyptus, taxonomy reveals the reciprocal dynamics of a genuine interpenetration: Holland's 'bush garden' becomes a global space that combines European (symbolised by Holland and the stories) and Australian (the eucalypts) identities. Thus, Bail projects a creative site of transcultural dialogue at the level of the terrain through the complementary processes of physical and subjective interrelatedness.' (Publication abstract)
(p. 11-31)
Emergent Tropicality : Cyclone Mahina, Bathurst Bay 1899, Russell McDougall , single work criticism

'In 1899 a Category 5 cyclone destroyed almost the entire pearling fleet of Bathurst Bay in North Queensland, sinking 55 ships and killing 307 people (approximately). Its historical status, however, is complicated. Measured by the numbers of lives lost, it is the most severe natural disaster in Australian history since European settlement. But most of the pearlers were either indigenous or foreign, excluded from the national imaginary. Hence the acknowledgement of Mahina’s status in national weather history had continually to be postponed. This is despite the fact that, in world weather history, Mahina holds the record for a storm surge, estimated at 13 metres (43 feet). It also contributed in a major way to making the personal history of the Queensland Government Meteorologist, Clement Wragge, who named it, for it was the first cyclone in world history to be given a personal (rather than a place) name. Wragge gave the cyclone the name of a Polynesian woman, predicting nonetheless that it would “not prove so soft and gentle as the Tahitian maiden of that name.”  (For tropical cyclones he preferred female names; for the “cold, blustery cyclones on the polar front” he reserved masculine names (mostly of politicians who refused to subsidise his work). 

'Focusing on Cyclone Mahina and its aftermath, this essay explores the entanglements of meterology and indigeneity in colonial governance in colonial Qyeensland on the eve of Federation. In the context of these historical entanglements, the paper reads Ian Townsend's "tropical gothic" novel, The Devil's Eye, as a remembering and imagining of the nation as it was and might have been.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

(p. 44-53)
Ecopoetic Encounters : Amnesia and Nostalgia in Alexis Wright's Environmental Fiction, Arnaud Barras , single work criticism
'In Carpentaria (2006) and The Swan Book (2013), Alexis Wright establishes an allegorical mode where she reimagines Europeans' first encounters with Australia from an Aboriginal environmental perspective. In this narrative system, the discovery of Australia is not realised by exploring colonisers, but by vulnerable strangers who apprehend the continent both experientially and linguistically. In Carpentaria, the Stranger-figure of Elias Smith is left amnesic after surviving a shipwreck during a cyclone; his first encounter with Australia is extremely violent and results in a loss of personal (hi)story. In The Swan Book, the character of Bella Donna seeks refuge in the nostalgia of swan stories after the disappearance of her native lands due to climate change; her first encounter with Australia is characterised by slow violence and results in a profusion of stories. In this essay I argue that by drawing attention to the interweaving of language and experience and by dramatising the relationship between organism and environment, ‘ecopoetic encounters’ allows readers to rediscover major episodes of Australian environmental history. Indeed, through the experiential and poetic meetings of Stranger-figures with Australia, Wright does not depict the initial moment of discovery as a nation-building event; rather she re-narrates it as a counterdiscursive episode of environmental historical rediscovery. Journeys of migration, environment transformations, and the marginalisation of populations are translated in an Aboriginal allegorical mode that allows European readers, through self-reflexivity, to rediscover the Australian continent through the perceptions, actions and emotions of Stranger-figures.' (Publication abstract)
(p. 54-67)
Review : Green Planets : Ecology and Science Fiction, James Richard Burgmann , single work review
— Review of Green Planets : Ecology and Science Fiction 2014 anthology criticism ;
(p. 77-78)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Last amended 12 Jul 2019 14:35:57
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