Abstract

Ruth Ozeki structures the narrative of All Over Creation around the cultivation of a transgenic food crop, which provokes a debate exploiting a number of widespread representations of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The article focuses on the anti-GMO rhetoric, which offers a utopian discourse of agriculture clearly embedded within the pastoral convention, with genetic modification techniques represented as an intrusive “machine in the garden” and the mythological figure of the farmer exploited to fit the scope of the American context of the story. Exposing the conventions and mythologies behind the environmentalist narrative against the genetic engineering of plants, Ozeki’s text demonstrates how the contrasting anti-GMO utopianism and pro-GMO techno-utopianism are both deeply rooted in the Western tradition, with its cultural and linguistic tendencies to objectify nature and conceptualize it as a female. Examining the value of genetically modified crops to different social groups, Ozeki’s narrative accurately represents the complexities surrounding the contemporary practice of agriculture and opens up a discursive space for reformulating the rarely explored human–plant relationship, suggesting that neither kind of utopianism can serve as a conceptual framework for assessing the potential dangers and benefits of the introduction of GMOs into ecosystems and human bodies.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2154-9648
Print ISSN
1045-991X
Pages
pp. 143-159
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-17
Open Access
No
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