Sarah Chihaya (Princeton University), “Reclaimed Land” (LAE)

Event time: 
Friday, December 8, 2017 - 4:00pm
LC 319 See map
Event description: 

The East Anglian Fens of Graham Swift’s Waterland (1983) present a haunted and haunting landscape, animated by both human and inhuman forces. The novel invests the land with an uncannily agential quality, suggesting that the earth itself actively revolts against human interference, in the would-be controlling activities of land reclamation and storytelling. In this paper, Sarah Chihaya explores the relationship between the taming of landscape and the taming of narratives—both, in Swift’s novel, impossible desires that play out in the contexts of national, natural, and personal histories. This paper is part of an open-ended chapter, and an open-ended question: though Waterland unfolds in the Thatcherite early Eighties, how might its figurations of narrative and environment resonate with our present political, cultural, and ecological moment?