Recreating Nature: Ecocritical Readings of Yosemite and Grand Canyon

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/195485
Title:
Recreating Nature: Ecocritical Readings of Yosemite and Grand Canyon
Author:
Chilton, Eric
Issue Date:
2009
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
In Recreating Nature: Ecocritical Readings of Yosemite and Grand Canyon, I examine the intersections of culture and nature in two prominent national parks, and I consider the implications of nature-tourism in the environmental discourse of the U.S. Covering a period from 1848 to the present, my project aims to correct an oversight in scholarship about the park system, in which legacies of colonialism and imperialism--when addressed at all--tend to be historicized and framed as the age-old sins of a presumably reformed national politic. Instead, I examine both historical and present-day developments, emphasizing the profound cultural influence of the places we designate as natural. I define ecocriticism as an inherently interdisciplinary endeavor attuned to the interconnectedness of things. My methodology is to engage texts, images and other expressions of the national parks in a process of extended close reading and comparative analysis. While observing the particular contexts of each case, I attempt to locate these texts amidst the broadest but most essential critical terrain: they each negotiate a dialogical relationship between culture and nature. By setting the stage for examining the human and its relation to the non-human other, the parks have become key sites for displaying the recreation of nature. After my introduction I discuss John Muir's My First Summer in the Sierra, focusing on an episode where Muir risks his life for a view from Yosemite Falls. I also consider Muir's failure to empathize with Native Americans he encountered. In my next chapter I analyze John Wesley Powell's Exploration by focusing on his attempt to assert authority over a region by prioritizing the scientific tone in his writing. Next I synthesize historical and contemporary sources, discussing Mary Colter's Grand Canyon architecture alongside the Grand Canyon Skywalk, a glass-bottom walkway on the Hualapai Indian reservation. In the following chapter I compare the acrophobia-inducing photographs of George Fiske and Emery Kolb. Finally, I discuss transit real and imagined in Grand Canyon and Yosemite, considering the utopian potential of national parks. I close by revisiting questions about our changing environmental discourse and about the future of ecocriticism.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
ecocriticism; Grand Canyon; John Muir; John Wesley Powell; national parks; Yosemite
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
English; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Committee Chair:
Babcock, Barbara

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoENen_US
dc.titleRecreating Nature: Ecocritical Readings of Yosemite and Grand Canyonen_US
dc.creatorChilton, Ericen_US
dc.contributor.authorChilton, Ericen_US
dc.date.issued2009en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractIn Recreating Nature: Ecocritical Readings of Yosemite and Grand Canyon, I examine the intersections of culture and nature in two prominent national parks, and I consider the implications of nature-tourism in the environmental discourse of the U.S. Covering a period from 1848 to the present, my project aims to correct an oversight in scholarship about the park system, in which legacies of colonialism and imperialism--when addressed at all--tend to be historicized and framed as the age-old sins of a presumably reformed national politic. Instead, I examine both historical and present-day developments, emphasizing the profound cultural influence of the places we designate as natural. I define ecocriticism as an inherently interdisciplinary endeavor attuned to the interconnectedness of things. My methodology is to engage texts, images and other expressions of the national parks in a process of extended close reading and comparative analysis. While observing the particular contexts of each case, I attempt to locate these texts amidst the broadest but most essential critical terrain: they each negotiate a dialogical relationship between culture and nature. By setting the stage for examining the human and its relation to the non-human other, the parks have become key sites for displaying the recreation of nature. After my introduction I discuss John Muir's My First Summer in the Sierra, focusing on an episode where Muir risks his life for a view from Yosemite Falls. I also consider Muir's failure to empathize with Native Americans he encountered. In my next chapter I analyze John Wesley Powell's Exploration by focusing on his attempt to assert authority over a region by prioritizing the scientific tone in his writing. Next I synthesize historical and contemporary sources, discussing Mary Colter's Grand Canyon architecture alongside the Grand Canyon Skywalk, a glass-bottom walkway on the Hualapai Indian reservation. In the following chapter I compare the acrophobia-inducing photographs of George Fiske and Emery Kolb. Finally, I discuss transit real and imagined in Grand Canyon and Yosemite, considering the utopian potential of national parks. I close by revisiting questions about our changing environmental discourse and about the future of ecocriticism.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectecocriticismen_US
dc.subjectGrand Canyonen_US
dc.subjectJohn Muiren_US
dc.subjectJohn Wesley Powellen_US
dc.subjectnational parksen_US
dc.subjectYosemiteen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineEnglishen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.chairBabcock, Barbaraen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberAdamson, Jonien_US
dc.contributor.committeememberAlvarez, Maribelen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberCooper Alarcon, Danielen_US
dc.identifier.proquest10279en_US
dc.identifier.oclc659750895en_US
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