In: KulturPoetik 2008, Heft 2


Hubert Zapf


Kulturelle Ökologie und literarisches Wissen. Perspektiven einer kulturökologischen Literaturwissenschaft an Beispielen der American Renaissance




This article proposes a dialogue between cultural ecology and literary studies, aiming at a transdisciplinary approach which considers the interrelationship of culture and nature as the fundamental dimension of language, text, and discourse. Cultural ecology offers a suitable point of reference for such a non-reductive transdisciplinary dialogue, having moved away from deterministic biological versions of ecology towards an »ecology of mind« (Gregory Bateson). As the self-reflexive staging of complex dynamic life processes, literature becomes the medium of a powerful form of cultural-ecological knowledge. This is demonstrated in textual examples from the American Renaissance, i.e. Dickinson, Whitman, Hawthorne, Melville, and Thoreau.