Rewilding the Imagination: Teaching Ecocriticism in the Change Times

Estella Carolye Kuchta

Abstract


Uncertainty about the future is a defining feature of our times due to ongoing and global environmental emergencies. This reality prompts a re-evaluation of the traditional role, purpose, and ethics of post-secondary courses such as English literature. The present moment calls for pedagogical practices that support holistic learning, community building, ecological awareness, and adaptation skills. Ecocritical instruction guided by wild pedagogy concepts supports students’ emotional, social, and ecological selves, and moves ecocritical curriculum beyond unperceived anthropocentric values. The unique neurobiological impacts of reading fiction make ecofiction a valuable resource for fostering social imagining and community building. Wild pedagogy principles are evident in Delia Owen’s 2018 ecofiction novel, Where the Crawdads Sing, and can be explored through three suggested activities.

Keywords: ecocriticism, wild pedagogies, ecofiction, Delia Owens, ecopedagogy, post-secondary education, literature, environment, neurobiology of reading

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