Abstract

Even narratives critical of new economic structures of globalization have come to focus on animals, often rare, genetically modified (GM) animals, in a world in which every year markets for GM plants and plant products grow astronomically, a propensity signaled by the adoption of the Monarch butterfly as a symbol of the anti-genetic-modification movement. This adoption suggests a broad representational problem: why do animals (and not plants) loom large in the transgenic imaginary while plants (and not animals) become the medium of daily encounters with transgenic organisms? This article explores this complex dynamic through the interconnected stories of GM potatoes, people, and insects in Ruth Ozeki's novel All Over Creation (2003), which closely follows the commercial introduction and unprecedented, rapid recall of the first bioengineered crop plant to be marketed. Although at key moments the novel invokes animal stories that limit the terms of GM debates, its structure significantly models the nonhierarchical, nonlinear relationships that distinguish the unfolding histories of genomic science and plant fictions alike, thereby indicating at least one way in which literary representations might revolutionize public discussion.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6571
Print ISSN
0278-9671
Pages
pp. 25-54
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-21
Open Access
No
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