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Born in the USA, the paradigm of ecocriticism has considerably evolved and internationalized over the last twenty years. Broadly speaking, this school of thought does not reject postmodernism as such but seeks to correct some of its perceived excesses, especially in view of the need to address the cultural challenges brought on by climate change. In particular, ecocriticism believes that postmodernism has wrongly evacuated the concept of 'Nature' from its theories and has not sufficiently gone beyond the classical anthropocentrism and dualism of humanist thought. Initially heavily inspired by 'Deep Ecology' and the works of Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess, ecocriticism cultivates a resolutely biocentric (or earth-centred) and transhumanist approach in its study of the interaction between the 'human' and the 'non-human' in both literary and cultural representations, as well in its theorization of the role that literature and culture can play in today's ecological struggle. Even if its views are by now far more diversified than those of Deep Ecology proper, ecocriticism considers critical categories such as species, biodiversity and bioregion, dwelling, habitat, and wilderness to be as relevant as those of race, class, and gender. Moreover, ecocritics also question the naturalist/realist tradition, doubting that it can really satisfactorily interrogate nature as text or text as nature. Finally, when it comes to understanding nature, ecocritics aspire to a much more sustained dialogue between literary theory and the hard sciences. In collaboration with ecocritical specialists worldwide, FRANCA BELLARSI's research focuses mainly on ecocriticism and ecopoetry/poetics, as well as on the links between ecology and postmodern forms of spirituality ('ecopieties'). Her approach is a resolutely comparative one bridging Canadian and US ecopoetry/poetics, as well as bringing Canadian and US writing in dialogue with other literatures written in English.
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