PhD Transfer Seminar – Rethinking the Robinsonade…
You are all cordially invited to attend Bochra Benaissa’s PhD Transfer Seminar at 2.15pm on Wednesday 4 October in room MY120 (Maidwell Building, Avenue Campus)
Please see Bochra’s synopsis:
Rethinking the Robinsonade: Self and Environment in Twentieth-Century Desert Island Narratives
My research explores the ways in which modern Robinsonades can be read in the light of an alternative approach to island narratives, bringing to light ways in which the earliest Robinsonades seek to marginalize the specificity of environment and geography, whilst the modern ones depend upon them as the dominant themes. Although it might seem that all desert island stories are similar since they all address the question of an autonomous human nature, the first two chapters of this study show how the self can more productively be viewed through a study of the protagonist’s interaction with other creatures existing on the island. It also explores the relation that the protagonist builds with his or her surroundings and how in the more recent Robinsonades, this suggests a new ecological understanding of the self.
The objective of the introductory chapter is to situate the research in the context of the genre’s development since the early eighteenth century, demonstrating how the values which it embodies have changed historically. The second chapter then focuses upon texts from the twentieth-century Robinsonades and their preoccupation with transformations of the self in relation to non-human animals. Using an eco-critical approach informed by the work of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, particularly their notion of ‘becoming animal’, it examines literary constructions of man and the environment and explores how twentieth-century desert island narratives are often used to understand and critique man’s dominance over nature.