"Ploughshares to Processors:  Machines of Change, the Industrialization of Literary Ecocriticism, and the Fate of Land Ethics"

Evan Wright. "Ploughshares to Processors:  Machines of Change, the Industrialization of Literary Ecocriticism, and the Fate of Land Ethics." Diss., in progress.

Tools and technologies mediate relationships between human society and the natural world.  Post-war literature in the United States and Finland reveals a high degree of sensitivity to the transformation of ethical considerations and sublimated subjecthood of "the land" through representations of rural strife and lifestyle change.  With theoretical bases in the research of Aldo Leopold and Leo Marx, Plougshares to Processors seeks to explain the changes in social perceptions and discourse of landscape and ecology that result from rapid hyper-productivity brought to agrarian and rural lifestyles by industrialization and mechanization.  Presentations and juxtapositions of human, tool and landscape in the post-war and contemporary novels Täällä pohjantähden alla, Jänisken vuosi, Ennen päivänlaskua ei voi from Finland and Go Down, Moses, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and The Monkeywrench Gang from the United States show how land ethics of the 20th and 21st centures result from the arrival on the farm of mechanical technologies that allow for usage and extraction from the land many times beyond that of human- or animal-powered methods of agriculture.  The dissertation will show how late-capitalist constructs of landscape and ecology silence and objectify all non-human aspects of biotic reality, which has resulted in contemporary ecological crises.