EGE UNIVERSITY 17TH INTERNATIONAL CULTURAL STUDIES SYMPOSIUM: “NATURE VS. CULTURE”
Ege University, Faculty of Letters, Izmir, TURKEY
May 8-10, 2019
“A thousand cultures, one nature. A hundred obsessions, one way to breathe. A hundred thousand social science books presenting millions of pieces of information; one knowledge and rare thought.” Michel Serres, The Natural Contact.
Nature is one of the most vital subjects that has been discussed and will continue to be discussed by academics from different backgrounds. Historically, Emerson has commented on nature as the “essences unchanged by man; space, the air, the river, the leaf”. (Emerson, 2) This early definition of Emerson is similar to the understanding of Transcendentalism in which Nature and God are the same thing and that they could be used interchangeably. Hence, with the introduction of incoherence, disorder into the modern world, “it is a great conceit of the industrial world is the belief that we are exempt from the laws that govern the rest of the creation.” (Orr, 4) For this reason, we must reconsider whether nature is to be continually subordinated by culture.
Since the 1970s, literary critics and cultural theorists have been debating on the changes that took place, in terms of the relationship between culture and the natural world. Considering the fact that many cultural discourses are exploitative of nature, Bruno Latour defines society’s relationship to nature in terms of domination and subordination. The intricate relationship between nature and culture is generally described in juxtapositions in which culture dominates and instrumentalizes the natural world. In addition to such binary oppositions, we must also… read more