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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Preferred Name

Michael Clay

Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

School of Communication Studies

Advisor(s)

Dr. Matt Brigham

Abstract

As human agents, narratives allow us to make sense of the world. They weave together lived experiences into meaningful webs of understanding. One such web of understanding is the way we narratively make sense of our relationship with the environment in which we find ourselves. The aim of this project is take a closer look at how many current environmental narratives establish an understanding that places the human agent as superior to, and thus master of, the environment within that relationship. This project works to articulate different ways of changing those narratives so that the agency of non-human actants is recognized as an integral part of an. To that end three different approaches to understanding the relationship between human agents, non-human agents, and the environment were used as a means for crafting new ways of storying that interaction. Those three approaches are informed by Donna Haraway, Stacy Alaimo, and finally Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, and Jane Bennett. These approaches provide a foundation for working through different narratives that allow for rearticulated ontological understandings of those we live alongside within an environment. Space is held open for acknowledging the role diverse agents, human and non-human, play in an environment, thus working against anthropocentric narratives of the superior human-agent. Finally, the project ends with a brief discussion for how the work done can inform environmental advocacy and scholarship by working to tell new stories as a means of both practicing as well as working through new ontologies.

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