Rewilding the Imagination: Teaching Ecocriticism in the Change Times


  • Estella Carolye Kuchta Langara College


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

Author Biography

Estella Carolye Kuchta, Langara College

Estella Carolye Kuchta teaches English literature at Langara College in Vancouver, Canada, and worked as a research assistant to Medical Doctor Gabor Maté. She is currently coauthoring a book with Dr. Sean Blenkinsop, Ecologizing Education (under press with Cornell UP). Her ecocritical love research at the University of British Columbia earned several awards, including the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Grant (SSHRC). The novel that resulted from this research, Finding the Daydreamer, is forthcoming in 2020 from Elm Books. She has articles forthcoming from the Australian Journal of Environmental Education (vol. 37, issue 1) and the anthology Love in Cultural and Transcultural Contexts (Springer). She holds a BFA in Creative Writing and an MA in Literature from the University of British Columbia.