Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Title Page, Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. v-vii

Part I: Bringing Avatar into Focus

read more

Prologue: Avatar as Rorschach

Bron Taylor

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 3-12

I first saw Avatar shortly after its release in December 2009. Like most viewers, I found the bioluminescent landscape of Pandora stunningly beautiful. I was also moved by the storylines: the against-all-odds resistance by the native inhabitants of Pandora against violent, imperial invaders...

read more

Introduction: The Religion and Politics of Avatar

Bron Taylor

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 13-22

Readers who have not seen Avatar should do so before reading further, noting their own reactions and observations. For those unable to see the film and for those whose memory of the story and its pivotal moments would benefit from refreshing, the first section, below, provides a synopsis of the...

read more

Avatar: Ecorealism and the Blockbuster Melodrama

Stephen Rust

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 23-36

In March 2009, A. O. Scott, the chief film critic for the New York Times, asked the simple but provocative question “What kind of movies do we need today?” (Scott 2009). Faced with a global financial crisis, ongoing military conflict, and the increasing certainty of climate change, what were audiences...

read more

Outer Space Religion and the Ambiguous Nature of Avatar’s Pandora

Thore Bjørnvig

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 37-58

The conflict in Avatar revolves around the dichotomy Earth-Pandora, in which Earth and its representatives, in the form of the RDA corporation and its mercenaries, symbolize most obviously an instrumental, imperialistic, and exploitive stance toward nature and indigenous peoples. The very...

Part II: Popular Responses

read more

Avatar Fandom, Environmentalism, and Nature Religion

Britt Istoft

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 61-82

The science fiction movie Avatar has generated a large and diverse fan culture, mainly on the Internet. By investigating religious or spiritual trends found in the most popular international fan forums on the Internet, avatar- forums.com and naviblue.com, and, to a lesser extent, associated...

read more

Post-Pandoran Depression or Na’vi Sympathy: Avatar, Affect, and Audience Reception

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 83-94

On 20 August 2010, eight months after the motion picture Avatar was released, Entertainment Weekly interviewed director James Cameron regarding the film’s re-release, which was about to take place in approximately a thousand theatres in the United States alone...

read more

Transposing the Conversation into Popular Idiom: The Reaction to Avatar in Hawai'i

Rachelle K. Gould, Nicole M. Ardoin, Jennifer Kamakanipakolonahe'okekai, Hashimoto

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 95-122

Traditionally, Native Hawaiians have considered nature and culture inseparable (Maly 2001). For over a thousand years, Hawaiians have studied the movements, seasons, and structure of the land.1 Many of today’s Native Hawaiians profess a strong belief that Hawaiian culture would not exist...

read more

Watching Avatar from “AvaTar Sands” Land

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 123-140

As in the fictional world of Pandora, humans in Alberta function within a resource-based economic system with weighty environmental, social, and cultural consequences. Oil extraction has long been a major part of Alberta’s economy. As conventional oil reserves have declined, it has become...

Part III: Critical, Emotional & Spiritual Reflections

read more

Becoming the “Noble Savage”: Nature Religion and the “Other” in Avatar

Chris Klassen

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 143-160

James Cameron’s Avatar is a visual playground with awe-inspiring special effects that foreground a wondrous expanse of constructed “nature.” As a film dealing with the increasingly popular theme of the preservation and romanticization of nature, Cameron and his team appear to have drawn...

read more

The Na’vi as Spiritual Hunters: A Semiotic Exploration

Pat Munday

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 161-180

As Gary Snyder (1969, 119) observes, “Something is always eating at the American heart like acid; it is the knowledge of what we have done to our continent, and to the American Indian.” When confronted with this malaise, Avatar helps us “dramatize ideological contradictions and work out...

read more

Calling the Na’vi: Evolutionary Jungian Psychology and Nature Spirits

Bruce Maclennan

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 181-200

Avatar evokes many archetypal themes that have contemporary relevance, including the Great Mother, Dame Nature, Mother Earth, the World Tree, the Wise Old Woman, the Hunter, the Innocent Child, Resurrection and Rebirth, and the Hero’s Journey.1 These are relevant not only to our relation...

read more

Avatar and Artemis: Indigenous Narratives as Neo-Romantic Environmental Ethics

Joy H. Greenberg

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 201-220

Since its origins during the past quarter century, environmental ethics has morphed into a multidisciplinary field, largely because of an increased awareness of our planetary eco-crisis combined with what many perceive as the failure of unitary disciplines to engage and adequately address the...

read more

Spirituality and Resistance: Avatar and Ursula Le Guin’s The Word for World Is Forest

David Landis Barnhill

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 221-240

Imagine this fictional scenario.
Earth is an environmental ruin, with essential resources desperately scarce. A distant planet is colonized for resource extraction, and in the process, the local environment is savaged and the indigenous peoples are oppressed...

read more

I See You: Interspecies Empathy and Avatar

Lisa H. Sideris

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 241-260

Carl Sagan once predicted that if Earth were ever visited by alien life forms, humans would have little to fear and much to learn from them, science fiction and film depictions of aliens notwithstanding. Sagan’s argument went roughly as follows: any civilization with the technology required...

read more

Knowing Pandora in Sound: Acoustemology and Ecomusicological Imagination in Cameron’s Avatar

Michael B. Macdonald

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 261-276

The sound of this little hand drum is filling the entire universe. Lonnie, my musical mentor, and I sit around a smoky ceremonial fire, each of us playing and singing a Mi’kmaq honour song.1 This has become a regular, almost weekly ritual. We hike out into the forest, prepare a fire...

read more

Works of Doubt and Leaps of Faith: An Augustinian Challenge to Planetary Resilience

Jacob Von Heland, Sverker Sörlin

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 277-300

In James Cameron’s Avatar (2009), accelerated climate change and loss of ecosystem functioning from human activities have tipped the Earth’s system to a state where it can no longer support life. As one of the film’s protagonists states, Earth has been killed and has no green...

read more

Epilogue: Truth and Fiction in Avatar’s Cosmogony and Nature Religion

Bron Taylor

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 301-336

Entwined in a complex mix of historical, aesthetic, spiritual, and ideological presuppositions, the ferment over Avatar has been diverse and contentious. This should not be surprising, since Avatar metaphorically attacks all martial, colonial, and expansionist histories, which have...

read more

Afterword: Considering the Legacies of Avatar

Daniel Heath Justice

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 337-352

As the diverse contributors to this collection make clear, the cultural phenomenon of Avatar has more than one legacy, more than a single story to tell, more than one audience to interpret its multiple layers of significance and controversy. It is, as editor...

Contributors

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 353-358

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 359-370