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Title page for ETD etd-09092018-133859

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Clark, Cameron Chase
Author's Email Address cameron.c.clark@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-09092018-133859
Title The Environmental Politics of Grief in the Queer Anti-Pastoral
Degree Master of Arts
Department English
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Jennifer Fay Committee Chair
Vera Kutzinski Committee Member
  • pastoral
  • ecocriticism
  • negativity
  • affect
  • queer studies
Date of Defense 2018-12-15
Availability restrictone
This thesis analyses the queer anti-pastoral as a cinematic sub-genre that disrupts pastoral conventions of nature as a site for harmonious patterns and generative transformations at the service of the human. Bringing more attention to grief and ecocritical negativity in this thesis, I track how the affective-aesthetic arrangements of loss, misrecognition, and substitution provide an alternative queer environmental politics not based on nostalgic memorialization or sensual discovery, but on painful disconnections that emphasize the failures of accessing an interpersonal or ecological interdependency. Rather than read such encounters as mired in negativity for no vital gains, however, I propose that the queer anti-pastoral offers useful avenues to rethink the terms of the social and the environmental by traversing their very negations and subsequent transformations. Pairing together Eugenie Brinkema’s affective formalism with Leo Bersani’s aesthetic theories, I ultimately argue that the queer anti-pastoral provides an ecological ethics of detachment that is strategically tempered by grief so as not to romanticize the forces of negation. In so doing, the queer anti-pastoral expresses an environmental consciousness pertaining to aggressive human actions, and it brings to light the disastrous consequences of hierarchical relations between the human, nonhuman, and environment.
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