Packing Death in Australian Literature

Iris Ralph

DOI: https://test.crossref.org/

Abstract

In this article, the author identifies critical connections between the transformation of food in the last two hundred thirty years and arguments by animal studies, indigenous studies, ecocriticism, ecofeminism, and environmental history scholars. She does that through a reading of two works of Australian literature: Merlinda Bobis’s cli-fi novel Locust Girl and Evie Wyld’s post-pastoral fiction All the Birds Singing. Bobis’s novel raises questions about the given transformation as it directly relates to the birth of the commercial kangaroo-meat industry, depletion of arable land as a direct consequence of the overuse of it for introduced species of animals reductively called livestock, and obliteration of extensive grain belts in Australia. Wyld’s novel addresses the given transformation in an implicit critique of Australia’s sheep industry and, by implication, Australia’s cattle industry. Both constitute Australian pastoral, which has profoundly transformed food in Australia and eradicated interspecies balances thousands of years old. The novels represent the notice, as limited as that is, in contemporary Australian literature of the radical transformation of food since the late eighteenth century. Illustrating her argument by referring to the two novels, the author argues that literary food studies must reflect greater engagement with ongoing interspecies abuses that define food production. Difficult as those injustices are to confront, they point to the gross moral and material failings in the transformation of food since the late eighteenth century.

Keywords

climate change, dark pastoral, ecological animalism, grain, ontological veganism

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

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International Board of Editors

Jan Baetens
Professor
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faruk
Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)