Positive Pollutions and Cultural Toxins
Waste and Contamination in Contemporary U.S. Ethnic Literatures
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: University of Nebraska Press
Series: Postwestern Horizons
Positive Pollutions and Cultural Toxins begins with the simple assumption that people are natural. I’m not the first person to suggest such a thing, as the Love and Rockets quote I use here as an epigraph indicates; but I hope this book will push some people’s ideas about what is...
1. “FAILING ECONOMIES AND TORTURED ECOLOGIES”
This chapter studies the dystopian, near-future sf worlds of Octavia Butler’s novels Parable of the Sower (1993) and its sequel Parable of the Talents (1998).1 In the epigraphs above, Butler and Shakur each assert the impossibility of social improvements within the framework...
2. TOXIC METROPOLIS
This chapter moves from the dystopian sf future of Butler’s parable novels to the temporally diverse sf depictions of Mexicana/o and Chicana/o communities in Alejandro Morales’s The Rag Doll Plagues.1 Whereas Butler’s novels focus on multiethnic communities from an African...
3. RIDDING THE WORLD OF WASTE
Ojibwa sanitation engineer Klaus Shawano, one of the many narrators of Louise Erdrich’s 1998 novel The Antelope Wife, embraces his role in the business that he and his on-again, off-again friend Richard Whiteheart Beads have founded.1 Within this novel, the focus on garbage rests primarily...
4. “AN EERIE LIQUID ELASTICITY”
In “Kenji,” Fort Minor describes an Issei shop owner in Los Angeles whose family is relocated to the Manzanar internment camp during World War II. Based on the history of Fort Minor front man Mike Shinoda’s family and the sampled interviews with his father and aunt...
5. “OUTCASTS AND DREAMERS IN THE CITIES”
In this passage from his 1992 novel Dead Voices: Natural Agonies in the New World, Gerald Vizenor laments the difficulties in discussing urban Indian experiences.1 His novel attempts to find a place for Native people in the cities and a place for the cities in Native American stories and traditions...
In an interview conducted immediately prior to his acceptance of the Nobel Prize, Al Gore said, “It’s hard to celebrate recognition of an effort that has thus far failed.” While it is undeniable that his work—and particularly his film, PowerPoint presentation, and lecture...