Ecojustice and Mythology


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Presentation given at the 2013 Literacy Essentials Conference in New Britain, CT at Central Connecticut State University

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Ecojustice and Mythology

  1. 1. NATIVE AMERICANTRICKSTERS, MARTIANS & MYTHS(Re)Imagining Sustainable Communities Through Mythology & Science Fiction Joss French, Ph.D. Kurt Love, Ph.D. Central Connecticut State University Literacy Essentials Conference New Britain, Connecticut April 6, 2013
  2. 2. “Expansion”From the moment we are born, the world tends to have a container already built for us to fit inside: A social security number, a gender, a race,a profession or an I.Q. I ponder if we are more defined by thecontainer we are in, rather than what we are inside. Would werecognize ourselves if we could expand beyond our bodies? Would we still be able to exist if we were authentically un-contained? Paige Bradley
  3. 3. Ecojustice TheoryThe roots of our domination over each other come fromthe same root of domination we feel over the earth.When biodiversity is threatened so is cultural diversityDominant elites exploit the earth and subordinated peoplesfor their own benefit.Social justice, critical social theories, and multiculturalismare often anthropocentric
  4. 4. European Colonizers &American Indians Clash of two peoples with two different “ecological selves” European Colonizers: Nature for profit, land ownership, enclosure, capitalist mindset/values American Indians: Nurturance, reciprocity, sustainable mindset/ values Genocide: From up to 18 million in 1490’s to 190,000 in 1890, up to 200 million Indians died in the Americas Land Domination
  5. 5. European Colonizers &West Africans Clash of two peoples with two different “ecological selves” European Colonizers: Nature for profit, land ownership, enclosure, capitalist mindset/values West Africans: Nurturance, reciprocity, sustainable mindset/values Slavery: About 12 million captured and shipped to the Americas, 645,000 brought to the U.S., nearly 4 million slaves in the 1860 census Domination for profit via capitalism
  6. 6. Christians &Earth-Based Spiritualities Movement out of nature and into “Human” as separate from nature Nature is where Satan resides Technology is Godly & righteous Christian missionaries with indigenous peoples globally, views on nudity Killing of at least tens of thousands of “witches” from 1400s-1600s Continued persecution of paganism, neopaganism, and Wicca
  7. 7. Summary Points of Ecojustice Theory1. Eliminating eco-racism2. Revitalizing the commons to create a balance between market and non-market aspects of community life3. Ending the industrialized nations’ exploitation and cultural colonization of third-world nations4. Ensure that the hubris and ideology of Western industrial culture does not diminish future generations’ ways of living and quality of life5. Support an “Earth Democracy”--the right of nature to flourish rather than be contingent upon the demands of humans From
  8. 8. “Thick Description”Superficial Mainstream Message These two might set up a binary Null Message Relationships These two generally show a complexity Tensions not binary “packaged” info Deep
  9. 9. Art as MythMyths are oral art, as opposed to visual art“A myth is, in a sense, the very truest of stories, astory that reveals universal qualities of that humancondition, of the world, and the deeper meanings andpossibilities of our lives.” (Plotkin, 2003, p. 204)Myths contain “layers upon layers of significance,like bands of rock in a canyon wall, each stratumholding and hiding untold treasures and mysteries.We become aware of the different layers only as wedevelop spiritually.” (Plotkin, 2003, p. 205)
  10. 10. Art as MythMyths are “stories”acting as banks that storecultural values, originsof thinking, rituals, andtraditions that mightotherwise be lost.Connection to ecojusticepedagogy because ofhow myths can help toquestion dominant andprivileged mindsets.
  11. 11. Hula“Hula is an important part of our Hawaiian culture. It leads us to who we are as people today.”
  12. 12. Aloha & Haole
  13. 13. Aloha & Haole Aloha “Together, we breathe the sacred breath”A consciousness that we are inescapably interwoven witheach other and the earth.What we do to each other and the earth, we do to ourselves.
  14. 14. Aloha & Haole Haole “One who is without sacred breath”A consciousness that does not include an awareness that we areinescapably interwoven with each other and the earth.A consciousness only of self and an ignorance of one’s energetic andspiritual impact. Often comes with little or no understanding ofspirituality or the purpose of one’s soul (soul loss).
  15. 15. A Vision
  16. 16. Vision Becomes Reality
  17. 17. ReferenceBowers, C. A. (2006). Revitalizing the commons: Cultural and educational sites of resistance and affirmation. New York, NY: Lexington Books.Martusewicz, R., Edmundson, J., & Lupinacci, J. (2011). Ecojustice education: Toward diverse, democratic, and sustainable communities. New York, NY: Routledge.Plotkin, B. (2003). Soulcraft: Crossing into the mysteries of nature and psyche. Novato, CA: New World Library.