Sharon Kunde F'16

Sharon  Kunde
Doctoral Candidate
English
University of California, Irvine
last updated: 7/30/2018

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2016
Doctoral Candidate
English
University of California, Irvine
Down in the Dirt: Undoing Transcendentalism

Early practitioners of American Studies championed formally innovative writing that featured narratives of human opposition to the environment. This project, by contrast, delineates an alternative canon of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American texts that, in their characterization of human interactions with the nonhuman world, challenge the notion of a clear, stable boundary between the self and the environment. These texts resist liberal enlightenment theories of the rational, autonomous subject by representing human subjectivity as unstable, elusive, and subject to external influences. In so doing they suggest that the seemingly sovereign liberal enlightenment subject depends on an exploitation and repression of aspects of the self that in turn authorize the exploitation and repression of other humans and of the nonhuman world. The porous subjectivities theorized by these texts can help reframe humans’ relationship with the ecosystem as well as understandings of the American literary tradition of writing about nature.