edited by Greta Gaard Temple University Press, 1993 Library of Congress HQ1233.E26 1993 | Dewey Decimal 304.2
Drawing on the insights of ecology, feminism, and socialism, ecofeminism's basic premise is that the ideology that authorizes oppression based on race, class, gender, sexuality, physical abilities, and species is the same ideology that sanctions the oppression of nature. In this collection of essays, feminist scholars and activists discuss the relationships among human begins, the natural environment, and nonhuman animals. They reject the nature/culture dualism of patriarchal thought and locate animals and humans within nature. The goal of these twelve articles is to contribute to the evolving dialogue among feminists, ecofeminists, animal liberationists, deep ecologists, and social ecologists in an effort to create a sustainable lifestyle for all inhabitants of the earth.
Among the issues addressed are the conflicts between Green politics and ecofeminism, various applications of ecofeminist theory, the relationship of animal liberation to ecofeminism, harmful implications of the romanticized woman-nature association in Western culture, and cultural limitations of ecofeminism.
In the series Ethics and Action, edited by Tom Regan.
Ecofeminist Literary Criticism is the first collection of its
kind: a diverse anthology that explores both how ecofeminism can enrich
literary criticism and how literary criticism can contribute to ecofeminist
theory and activism.
Ecofeminism is a practical movement for social change that discerns interconnections
among all forms of oppression: the exploitation of nature, the oppression
of women, class exploitation, racism, colonialism. Against binary divisions
such as self/other, culture/nature, man/woman, humans/animals, and white/non-white,
ecofeminist theory asserts that human identity is shaped by more fluid
relationships and by an acknowledgment of both connection and difference.
Once considered the province of philosophy and women's studies, ecofeminism
in recent years has been incorporated into a broader spectrum of academic
discourse. Ecofeminist Literary Criticism assembles some of the
most insightful advocates of this perspective to illuminate ecofeminism
as a valuable component of literary criticism.
Greta Gaard Temple University Press, 1998 Library of Congress GE197.G33 1998 | Dewey Decimal 363.70525
In the 1980s, ecofeminism and the U.S. Green movement seemed to offer some of this country's most powerful and promising solutions to problems of social and environmental justice. A decade later, ecofeminism has become more a perspective than a movement, and divisions within the Greens have deepened as its national focus has shifted from issue-based politics to party building. Why have these movements faltered?
A member of both movements, Greta Gaard bases her analysis on her personal experience as well as extensive secondary sources and interviews with key theorists, activists, and speakers across the United States. By allowing each movement's members to speak for themselves, she traces the separate origins and development of each movement, explains their connections, and reveals the light that each can cast upon the other and on the difficulties facing social action in general.
Beginning with the ecofeminists, Gaard describes the paths -- environmental causes, the feminist peace movement, the feminist spirituality movement, the animal liberation movement, and the anti-toxics movements, as well as experiences of interconnectedness -- that have led women (and a few men) to articulate an ecofeminist perspective. Tracing the movement from the 1980s to the present, she defines its present strands as liberal ecofeminism, radical ecofeminism, socialist ecofeminism, and social ecofeminism.
Gaard illustrates the development of the U.S. Greens from a national movement into a political party. She defines the various factions -- the Left Greens, the Youth Greens, and the Green Politics Network -- that influenced the movement's direction and underlay the debates during Ralph Nadar's 1996 presidential campaign. She shows how the history of these three groups can be seen as stages in the transition from a leftist and sometimes anarchist action that places the Green movement squarely within the pattern of other social movements around the world.
Despite the significant influence that ecofeminists have had in shaping the Greens as a national movement, many have chosen to withdraw from the Greens. Gaard looks at the reasons for member disaffection and draws disturbing conclusions about the compatibility between liberal feminism and cultural ecofeminism and patriarchal politics. She also presents the divisions within the Greens as ongoing battles within the new left, the radical ecology movement, and various social justice movements. She focuses on three general areas -- conflicts over philosophy, conflicts over representation, and conflicts over strategy -- to make suggestions for how to bring about the kind of social transformation envisioned by both the Greens and the ecofeminists. Arguing that the Concord Principles represent a populist form of liberal democracy that fundamentally betrays both ecofeminism and Green philosophy, she uses the 1996 Nadar campaign as a departure point to developing an ecofeminist theory of radical democracy and to speculate on future directions for Green politics and for ecofeminism. Her analysis illuminates the nature and direction of each of these important movements and the pressures and conflicts experienced by all social movements at the end of the twentieth century.
“As long as humans have been around, we’ve had to move in order to survive.” So arises that most universal and elemental human longing for home, and so begins Greta Gaard’s exploration of just precisely what it means to be at home in the world.
Gaard journeys through the deserts of southern California, through the High Sierras, the Wind River Mountains, and the Northern Cascades, through the wildlands and waterways of Washington and Minnesota, through snow season, rain season, mud season, and lilac season, yet her essays transcend mere description of natural beauty to investigate the interplay between place and identity. Gaard examines the earliest environments of childhood and the relocations of adulthood, expanding the feminist insight that identity is formed through relationships to include relationships to place. “Home” becomes not a static noun, but an active verb: the process of cultivating the connections with place and people that shape who we become.
Striving to create a sense of home, Gaard involves herself socially, culturally, and ecologically within her communities, discovering that as she works to change her environment, her environment changes her. As Gaard investigates environmental concerns such as water quality, oil spills, or logging, she touches on their parallels to community issues such as racism, classism, and sexism, uncovering the dynamic interaction by which “humans, like other life on earth, both shape and are shaped by our environments.”
While maintaining an understanding of the complex systems and structures that govern communities and environments, Gaard’s writing delves deeper to reveal the experiences and realities we displace through euphemisms or stereotypes, presenting issues such as homelessness or hunger with compelling honesty and sensitivity. Gaard’s essays form a quest narrative, expressing the process of letting go that is an inherent part of an impermanent life. And when a person is broken, in the aftermath of that letting go, it is a place that holds the pieces together.
As long as we are forced to move—by economics, by war, by colonialism—the strategies we possess to make and redefine home are imperative to our survival, and vital in the shaping of our very identities.
Women make up the vast majority of activists and organizers of grassroots movements fighting against environmental ills that threaten poor and people of color communities. New Perspectives on Environmental Justice is the first collection of essays that pays tribute to the enormous contributions women have made in these endeavors.
The writers offer varied examples of environmental justice issues such as children's environmental health campaigns, cancer research, AIDS/HIV activism, the Environmental Genome Project, and popular culture, among many others. Each one focuses on gender and sexuality as crucial factors in women's or gay men's activism and applies environmental justice principles to related struggles for sexual justice. The contributors represent a wide variety of activist and scholarly perspectives including law, environmental studies, sociology, political science, history, medical anthropology, American studies, English, African and African American studies, women's studies, and gay and lesbian studies, offering multiple vantage points on gender, sexuality, and activism.
Feminist/womanist impulses shape and sustain environmental justice movements around the world, making an understanding of gender roles and differences crucial for the success of these efforts.