In this Book

Wilfrid Laurier University Press
summary

Avatar and Nature Spirituality explores the cultural and religious significance of James Cameron’s film Avatar (2010), one of the most commercially successful motion pictures of all time. Its success was due in no small measure to the beauty of the Pandoran landscape and the dramatic, heart-wrenching plight of its nature-venerating inhabitants. To some audience members, the film was inspirational, leading them to express affinity with the film’s message of ecological interdependence and animistic spirituality. Some were moved to support the efforts of indigenous peoples, who were metaphorically and sympathetically depicted in the film, to protect their cultures and environments. To others, the film was politically, ethically, or spiritually dangerous. Indeed, the global reception to the film was intense, contested, and often confusing.

To illuminate the film and its reception, this book draws on an interdisciplinary team of scholars, experts in indigenous traditions, religious studies, anthropology, literature and film, and post-colonial studies. Readers will learn about the cultural and religious trends that gave rise to the film and the reasons these trends are feared, resisted, and criticized, enabling them to wrestle with their own views about the film and the controversy. Like the film itself, Avatar and Nature Spirituality provides an opportunity for considering afresh the ongoing struggle to determine how we should live on our home planet, and what sorts of political, economic, and spiritual values and practices would best guide us.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vii
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  1. Part I: Bringing Avatar into Focus
  2. pp. 1-2
  1. Prologue: Avatar as Rorschach
  2. Bron Taylor
  3. pp. 3-12
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  1. Introduction: The Religion and Politics of Avatar
  2. Bron Taylor
  3. pp. 13-22
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  1. Avatar: Ecorealism and the Blockbuster Melodrama
  2. Stephen Rust
  3. pp. 23-36
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  1. Outer Space Religion and the Ambiguous Nature of Avatar’s Pandora
  2. Thore Bjørnvig
  3. pp. 37-58
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  1. Part II: Popular Responses
  2. pp. 59-60
  1. Avatar Fandom, Environmentalism, and Nature Religion
  2. Britt Istoft
  3. pp. 61-82
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  1. Post-Pandoran Depression or Na’vi Sympathy: Avatar, Affect, and Audience Reception
  2. pp. 83-94
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  1. Transposing the Conversation into Popular Idiom: The Reaction to Avatar in Hawai'i
  2. Rachelle K. Gould, Nicole M. Ardoin, Jennifer Kamakanipakolonahe'okekai, Hashimoto
  3. pp. 95-122
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  1. Watching Avatar from “AvaTar Sands” Land
  2. pp. 123-140
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  1. Part III: Critical, Emotional & Spiritual Reflections
  2. pp. 141-142
  1. Becoming the “Noble Savage”: Nature Religion and the “Other” in Avatar
  2. Chris Klassen
  3. pp. 143-160
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  1. The Na’vi as Spiritual Hunters: A Semiotic Exploration
  2. Pat Munday
  3. pp. 161-180
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  1. Calling the Na’vi: Evolutionary Jungian Psychology and Nature Spirits
  2. Bruce Maclennan
  3. pp. 181-200
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  1. Avatar and Artemis: Indigenous Narratives as Neo-Romantic Environmental Ethics
  2. Joy H. Greenberg
  3. pp. 201-220
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  1. Spirituality and Resistance: Avatar and Ursula Le Guin’s The Word for World Is Forest
  2. David Landis Barnhill
  3. pp. 221-240
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  1. I See You: Interspecies Empathy and Avatar
  2. Lisa H. Sideris
  3. pp. 241-260
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  1. Knowing Pandora in Sound: Acoustemology and Ecomusicological Imagination in Cameron’s Avatar
  2. Michael B. Macdonald
  3. pp. 261-276
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  1. Works of Doubt and Leaps of Faith: An Augustinian Challenge to Planetary Resilience
  2. Jacob Von Heland, Sverker Sörlin
  3. pp. 277-300
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  1. Epilogue: Truth and Fiction in Avatar’s Cosmogony and Nature Religion
  2. Bron Taylor
  3. pp. 301-336
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  1. Afterword: Considering the Legacies of Avatar
  2. Daniel Heath Justice
  3. pp. 337-352
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  1. Contributors
  2. pp. 353-358
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 359-370
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781554588800
Print ISBN
9781554588435
MARC Record
OCLC
863054004
Pages
378
Launched on MUSE
2016-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
N
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