HOTB2020 Panel 7.3: Nonhuman Encounters II



Panel 7.3: Nonhuman Encounters II

“Literary Ethnobotany as a Site of Possibility? Poetry and Traditional Knowledge of Vegetal Life in the Planthroposcene”

John Charles Ryan (Southern Cross University)

“Fantasy and Urgency: Climate Change and Rewilding the Imagination in Richard Powers’s The Overstory”

Timothy S. Miller (Florida Atlantic University)

“A Nest of Cottonmouths: Snake Lore and White Anxiety in Southern Literature”

Dixon Bynum (University of Mississippi)

“Challenging Humanity: Silence, Loss, and Resilience in the Contemporary French Eco Novel”

Velina Dinkova (University of Colorado Boulder)



Q & A

If you would like to comment in the Q&A, register here

Note that questions and comments can be intended for individual speakers, the entire panel, or anyone who has posted to the Q&A. Respond directly to a particular question/comment by way of the little “reply” below it. The vertical threadlike lines are there to make it easier to see which part of the discussion (i.e. “thread”) you are taking up. 

4 replies
  1. Judith Wakeman says:

    Hello Velina. Thankyou for your presentation. Could you please respond with the titles of the books you mentioned in your talk – perhaps I can find English versions. Also, I would be interested to follow up the authors of the three quotes you gave in the last part of the presentation. Best wishes. Judith

    • Velina Dinkova says:

      Dear Judith,

      Thank you for your interest in the works presented and my apologies for the lack of captions in my talk, which would have made all my references and titles in French much more accessible. I had immense troubles uploading my video on youtube until Bart Welling kindly intervened and did the upload for me.
      Anyway, to answer your question, the works I commented on were “Mélusine de détritus” by Chantal Chawaf (or Marie de la Montluel-the author’s chosen pen name for this particular work) and “Globalia” by Jean-Christophe Rufin. Unfortunately, I do not think these particular novels have been translated in English. I know a few of Rufin’s works are available in English on but, again, I don’t think “Globalia” is one of them. There are, however, copies of the book in Spanish and Italian, if that may be useful to you as a reader.

      As far as the authors of last three quotes in the second part of my presentation, those are as follows:

      Rufin, Jean-Christophe. Globalia. Paris: Gallimard, 2004, 499.

      Lawrence Buell, The Environmental Imagination: Thoreau, Nature Writing,
      and the Formation of American Culture, Cambridge, Harvard UP, 1995, 430.

      Guattari, Félix, Guattari, Félix. Chaosmosis: An Ethico-Aesthetic Paradigm. Trans. P. Bains and J. Pefanis. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1995, 119-120.

      I hope this helps. Thank you, again, for your interest and hopefully in the future we will see more of these works made accessible to a larger audience through an increased number of translations in English.


  2. Giulia Lepori says:

    Dear John,

    It is nice to see you again here. We were digitally together last year at the ‘Geopoetics’ symposium at Griffith University.
    On that day, we presented our ethnographic/ethnobotanical film ‘Yuyos’ (free to watch and share
    Thank you for your presentation (it was very hard to hear it though and the subtitles didn’t correspond with your talk) and the illumination of different kinds of human-plant relations.

    We have a question that regards our ethnographic fieldworks. You can get a glimpse through our presentation here (we’d love any comments you might have).
    Do you think that the ontology that you revealed within ‘Story About Feeling’ could inform ethnographic and ecocritical ways of investigation? Or better, do you consider literary ethnobotany as just a mode of literary analysis or could it be a manner of writing to present one’s research?

    Thanks in anticipation,
    Giulia + Michal

  3. Lucien Darjeun Meadows says:

    Timothy, thank you for your presentation on The Overstory! What a book — and I am so glad to see it discussed at the ASLE symposium. Your connection of The Overstory to fantasy and, by extension, science fiction, helps me to see more connections between this novel and Powers’s other works, which often engage the sciences in provocative ways (I’m thinking particularly of Orfeo and Galatea 2.2, both of which you brought into your talk). I’m curious about if this use of the fantasy, here, encourages or discourages readers from seeing this world as our world and moving toward necessary changes in environmental stewardship. I’m also curious about your reading of when Patricia Westerford is giving her speech toward the end of the novel, and in one universe, she commits suicide, but in another, she does not. These branching possibilities give me different ways of reading the novel each time, without settling, and I’m curious about that technique’s impact on readers (especially as one critique of the novel, in some reviews, is that it is too much a manifesto / does too much moralizing).

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply