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Quick Guide to Environmetal Lingo (Keywords) Chelsea McMahan ENG 381 23 April 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "Quick Guide to Environmetal Lingo (Keywords) Chelsea McMahan ENG 381 23 April 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 Quick Guide to Environmetal Lingo (Keywords) Chelsea McMahan ENG April 2014

2 The philosophy that humans consider themselves the superior beings on Earth and only consider the environment through a human- centered perspective. The concept of anthropocentrism generates from an “us” and “them” mentality where humans naturally separate themselves from nonhumans and other organisms. That mentality also creates a bias within humans that they are the best and superior species on Earth, and what nonhuman is going to say otherwise? The anthropocentric view also believes that the natural resources on Earth are mainly meant for humans to consume. It is important to keep this philosophy in mind while analyzing films or literature because it is all from the human perspective. Humans are the ones operating the cameras and writing about the nonhumans, so the audience is viewing the nonhuman through another human’s perspective sometimes in a way where human characteristics are projected onto the subject. For example, The Cove presented the dolphins as being helpless and that only humans could help them, but even then the film did focus on how the dolphin slaughter affected the health of the humans involved as a way to reach out and relate to the human audience. ANTHROPOCENTRISM The image of a man eating the world with a knife and fork embodies anthropocentrism. It symbolizes how the human has no regard for the Earth, its environment, or the nonhuman inhabitants by consuming it. The image also portrays the concept of anthropocentrism that the Earth’s natural resources are there for the consumption of humans and their health. By having the man eat with the knife and fork instead of with his hands emphasizes how humans are different and more civilized than nonhumans. By also wearing a suit, it shows that the man is well-off and important which also implies that he, as well as humans in general, are more superior to the nonhumans. Aside for considering the Earth’s resources as their own and being the superior beings, the image also demonstrates how humans are the main cause for the destruction of the environment, yet have no regard for what they are doing or consuming. Rust, Stephen, and Jennifer Ladino. Working with Animals: Regarding Companion Species in Documentary Film. Ecocinema Theory and Practice. New York: Routledge, Print. Starr, Sandy. "What Makes Us Exceptional?" Spiked! Science. N.p., 29 Dec Web. 23 Apr

3 The origin of anthropomorphism begins with storytelling to personify animals and gods as the characters as well as in art. This literary technique is very prevalent by being used in multiple mediums such as religion and mythology, various forms of literature, film, television, and even sports via mascots. The reasoning behind anthropomorphism was to create a way for humans to relate to and identify with the animals in a way that they could understand. It helps create a bridge between the humans and nonhumans in which they see the nonhumans as being similar to themselves. The connection leads to empathy from the humans to care for the nonhumans, which can also relate to anthropocentrism because humans only care about humans or human-like organisms and not so much nonhumans because they cannot relate to them nor do they appear as superior. When it comes to looking at films and other literature, it seems that the use of anthropomorphism is a very important technique for directors and/or writers to connect with their audience when using nonhuman characters Attributing nonhuman animal subjects or objects with human characteristics and traits by displaying emotions, representing relationships with others, displaying peculiar behaviors, etc. ANTHROPOMORPHISM The image is from Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox which presents two foxes dressed up in clothes at a table sharing a meal and smiling at each other. Everything about the image is personifying the two nonhuman foxes to the point where they are practically humans but with a lot more fur. They are dressed like humans, eating like humans, displaying a cordial relationship like humans, and expressing emotions like humans. There is not much about the image that represents the natural world or nonhuman animals. This represents how common it is to present animals and inanimate objects in such humanized ways, in films especially, but other media sources as well. The anthropomorphism is used so the nonhuman characters can connect with the human audience because they can relate to the image more than if it depicted the foxes acting naturally in their normal environment. Gardner, Howard. "Thinking About Thinking (Review)." Gardner, Thinking About Thinking. New York Review of Books, n.d. Web. 23 Apr Rust, Stephen, and Luis Vivanco. Penguins are Good to Think With: Wildlife Films, the Imaginary Shaping of Nature, and Environmental Politics. Ecocinema Theory and Practice. New York: Routledge, Print.

4 Analyzing the depiction of the relationship between humans, nonhumans and the natural world presented in cultural media and literature from an ecological perspective. ECOCRITICISM Ecocriticism is a way to study and look at how the physical natural world affects films and other literature sources as well as how they impact their audience. It is not only a way to look at literature, but a way to inform the audience about environmental issues and concerns. Since ecocriticism takes an ecological approach, it focuses on how humans alter the environment for the worse rather than the human perspective of how the environment benefits humans. The environmentalism movement in the 1960’s and 1970’s inspired the ecocritisicm literature and philosophies, but finally turned in to a collective and comprehensive movement in the 1990’s with the establishment of ASLE. There are many perspectives within ecocriticism to consider while analyzing literature, such as cornucopia, environmentalism, deep ecology, etc. When looking at films and literature that refer to or focus on the environment, the audience is able to evaluate what message the creators are attempting to send to the audience and from what perspective. Although the image does not contain any resemblance of the environment, the close-up of the person looking through a lens represents the concept of ecocriticism. The philosophy behind ecocriticism is to analyze, scrutinize, study, and look closely at literature and film to decipher what it is trying to say about the relationship between humans and nonhumans. The image represents the action and the mindset needed to observe things critically. The image also shows an old fashioned lens as well as being portrayed in black and white which signifies how ecocriticism is not a new philosophy or way to look at things. By focusing on the eye, it also represents how important it is to not only look at environmentally focuses literature but to admire the environment and to appreciate it in order to understand and empathize with the messages behind the environmental film, media, and literature ….…. Dean, Thomas K. "What Is Eco-criticism?" ASLE ~ The Association for the Study of Literature & Environment. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Apr Garrard, Greg. Ecocriticism. 2nd ed. London: Routledge, Print. Glotfelty, Cheryll and Harold Fromm (Eds). The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology. Athens and London: University of Georgia, 1996.

5 An ideology that has inspired a social movement to protect the environment from pollution and the effects of global warming, and improve the environment’s current health. The core of the environmentalism ideology is to help make the environment a healthier and better place both for humans and nonhumans. Some environmentalists emphasize how it affects the health of humans by creating a safer place for future generations to exist. Generally, the movement includes the health and well- being of nonhumans and ways to restore as well as maintain the biodiversity throughout the planet. Environmentalism accepts the fact that humans are the main cause for the health decline of the environment, but are also the solution. The environmentalists tend to look for a solution through political change and through government organizations to help enforce environmental friendly laws. The environmentalism philosophy became especially popular in the 2000’s with more talk of global warming effects which led to an increase in films that revolve around that issue such as The Day After Tomorrow and An Inconvenient Truth to at least start the conversation regarding global warming. ENVIRONMENTALISM The two main symbols for environmentalism are the recycling triangle and the color green, which are both presented in the image as well as the earth and some examples of different environments emerging together. One of the main concepts for environmentalism is “going green” which means to use only natural resources so as to not add to the pollution or to add more harm to the environment through toxic chemicals. The other concept is to recycle so humans do not deplete all of the earth’s natural resources. The image of the earth being enveloped by the recycling triangle represents the concept of recycling to keep the environment in good, long-lasting condition. New issues keep arising for environmentalists to focus on, yet they all affect the earth which is also symbolized in the image. That implies that new issues will be depicted in future films and literature. Currently, the focus is on global warming, but next it could focus on GMO’s or another future issue. Hays, Samuel P., and Robert Gottlieb. "Forcing the Spring: The Transformation of the American Environmental Movement." Environmental History Review18.3 (1994): n. pag. Print. Garrard, Greg. Ecocriticism. 2nd ed. London: Routledge, Print. Lincoln, Cat. Light, Dark and Bright Green Environmentalism. Green Daily (Spring 2009).Web. 23 Apr

6 Describes nature or the countryside in a peaceful and undisturbed manner and is a method used for imagery in art and literature. The pastoral literature genre focuses on the beauty of nature without machines or any urbanization in order to create the idea of a simple life in the countryside to that of a complex urbanized one. Pastoral techniques were also used in hope to become a pretext for political discourse, for example Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Carson uses pastoral poems and imagery to create a representation of what the environment is like without urbanization and humans destroying it. She uses the pastoral imagery to help shape the scientific part of her argument by establishing the beauty of nature as the reasoning and goal behind her argument. Other sources hope to inform the public to instigate changes in behavior to preserve the calm and beautiful nature. The way films present the pastoral imagery is by capturing long shots of the landscape and/or nature for the audience to see. Whether that is done with is done with the environmentalist intentions or to establish the world depicted in the movie is what ecocritics tend to decide. PASTORAL Carson, Rachel, Lois Darling, and Louis Darling. Silent Spring. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Print. Garrard, Greg. Ecocriticism. 2nd ed. London: Routledge, Print. Gifford, Terry. Pastoral. London: Routledge, Print. The picture represents pastoral imagery at its finest by portraying a peaceful and calm setting with rivers, trees, clear sky, and wildlife interacting with humans. Pastoral imagery focuses on the countryside setting and this image does just that. The purpose is to create a setting or environment that becomes desirable to those who live in urban areas and do not have the chance to appreciate serenely nature. By getting the audience or viewer to admire the setting and will hopefully view it with an ecological perspective or even an environmentalist view. The way films use the pastoral technique is by actually presenting the scenery and focusing on the natural beauty to attract the attention of the audience. It is a way to portray what the environment is like without the interaction of humans. The pastoral technique in films and literature is a way for the environment to speak for itself.

7 A state of mind of urban people to fear what may live in rural and wilderness areas especially since they are unfamiliar with the area. The term urbanoia describes the fear city people have of the countryside, but more specifically the country people who live there. This may also spur from the fear of the unknown since the city people are most likely very unfamiliar with the rural areas, what occurs there, or what the inhabitants occupy themselves with since it is very different from the city lifestyle. Urbanoia may also be symbolic for a general fear the humans have against nature and wildlife. The fear of nature explains the humans’ needs to tame and control the wildlife, to make the place their own through urbanization and destroying it in order to provide them with a peace of mind. The slasher horror films embody this concept by employing similar tropes throughout the various films in the genre such as having city people go out to a rural place for a thought to be peaceful trip, but are then terrorized by a local inhabitant of the nearby wilderness. Constantly creating slasher horror films only feeds the urbanoia fear of the audience. URBANOIA Clover, Carol J. Men, Women, and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, Print. Nash, Roderick. Wilderness and the American Mind. New Haven: Yale University Press, Rust, Stephen, and Carter Soles. Sympathy for the Devil: The Cannibalistic Hillbilly in 1970s Rural Slasher Films. Ecocinema Theory and Practice. New York: Routledge, Print. The image is used from The Hills Have Eyes and presents a well-dressed man, although disheveled and covered in blood, holding on to what is presumed to be his child and dog in a deserted area. The urban man is trying very hard to hold on to the remaining objects that connect him to his urban life and does not want to lose what he knows to the rural people. The image juxtaposes the urban life to the rural life and how people from urban areas do not understand the rural areas or how the people from the two areas do not know how to co-exist. Urbanoia exaggerates the difference between the rural and urban inhabitants by portraying the rural people as hillbillies, crazy murders, or dehumanized monsters while portraying the city people as the helpless victims. The rural slasher horror films have established urbanoia as their defining trope and continue to do so to exaggerate the fear of the untamed wild.


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