Hungry Narratives: Multifocal Readings of Human and Non-human Affects in the Americas
Thums, Willyam Vinícius
The crafting of travel accounts was decisive for the implementation of exploitative practices towards indigenous societies and nature in the New World. The descriptions of flora, fauna, and local inhabitants not only informed Europeans about the magnitude, and exuberance of the newly discovered territories, but also reinforced stereotypical constructions about them. My research examines the role of hunger in some important travel narratives of the Americas as a way to detect ruptures in the Eurocentric colonial discourse. I acknowledge that the experience of hunger is characterized by a redefinition of anthropocentric principles throughout travel narratives – be those fictional, or not. The analysis of key texts produced in the Americas since the early Spanish and Portuguese explorations offers us evidence of contemporary neuroscientific theories of affects. Because emotions (which are physical), and feelings (which are mental) are vital indicators of the biological regulation of one’s life, I look at “hungry narratives” as a way to detect how the colonizer/traveler is affected by the local Other – plants, animals, or the indio. The implications of extreme hunger suggest a redefinition of otherness within the human and non-human spheres in a double fashion: within the narration of what happens to the colonizer/traveler through hunger experiences (their physical and moral transformations), and the constant shifts within the act of writing (the aesthetics, the textual construction). My investigation points to the possibility of a fairer life in society by acknowledging the production of human feelings arisen from the help of non-humans in extreme living situations. This academic gesture also, at the same time, questions how the lack of such feelings are responsible for the maintenance of our self-destructive practices towards humans, non-humans, and nature.
MetadataShow full item record
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
'Obstructive and Power Hungry'? : The Australian Human Research Ethics Process Gillam, Lynn; Guillemin, Marilys; Rosenthal, Doreen (2006-04)tba