Academic values: why environmentalists loathe the media

Parham, John (2006) Academic values: why environmentalists loathe the media. Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, 13 (1). pp. 113-133. ISSN 1076-0962

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Abstract

The genesis of this paper was some time ago now: the 1999 ASLE conference in Kalamazoo. A controversial conference, in the context of bigger crises, including the beginnings of the ASLE Caucaus for Diversity, my (not unrelated) concern derives from a plenary session entitled "Chasing the Ghost of Thoreau: TV Interprets Wilderness in the Maine Woods" in which John Tallmadge discussed and screened a documentary on Walden Forest made for PBS television. The reception was, in general, one of derision which, as an ecocritic who teaches both literary and media studies, left me feeling uneasy. Inclined at first to attribute this to differences in American and British environmental and ecocritical cultures, my perception eventually was that the reaction to the documentary signified, in fact, a deeper, much more complex question of "value" manifest in an alienation between two cultural forms - literary and visual - and two academic disciplines, literature and media studies, that cuts across US and UK ecocriticism alike. Accordingly, the purpose of this paper is to examine this relationship between environmental values and hierarchies of cultural and academic value. It will be argued that such an alliance has bequeathed to environmentalism an arrogance unbecoming to a philosophy that supposedly preaches humility and which, even more importantly, is likely to impede environmentalism's ability to effect change and find popular appeal.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Arts
Depositing User: Rod Pow
Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2012 11:34
Last Modified: 17 May 2017 14:51
URI: http://repository.uwl.ac.uk/id/eprint/280

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