Herbert Marcuse, Subjectivity and how Eco-Narrative can Provide New Pathways of Education
Bannon, Michael John Oldfield
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My project examines how Herbert Marcuse’s notion of subjectivity can create a space in narrative fiction to read the relationship between humanity and the environment with an ecocritical lens. I then advocate for a reimagining of narrative fiction’s role in environmental education, and discuss how these understandings can be turned into praxis. The two texts I explore are Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o A Grain of Wheat and The Lamp at Noon by Sinclair Ross. These texts present two different yet related narrative stories in which people collide with the natural world, and in this relationship there are significant opportunities to expand our own understanding of environmental subjectivity. I delve into the space where humanity and nature meet, and what it means to consider nature as the other, independently of humanity’s wants and desires. Marcuse provides a theoretical yet active perspective of radical subjectivity, and this allows these narratives to inform on how to build a more equitable relationship with the environment.