|dc.description.abstract||This thesis is comprised of a novel and exegesis which explores how contemporary fiction can contribute to understandings of nature and culture, questioning oppositional dualisms and ultimately re-placing the human within nature. The exegesis discusses how fiction writers might engage with nature in their writing, by concentrating on the potential of urban environments – places where nature and culture co-exist. I argue that through fiction, writers can re-imagine cities in ways that extend contemporary ideas of place, nature, urban experience and ecologies.
I use several methodologies in the creation of this novel and exegesis including practice-led research, eco-criticism, reflection, and embodied experience. My aim is to develop a method of writing-practice based on the hybrid role of doctoral candidate as creative writer/researcher and nature writing as a hybrid of poetic and scientific expression. I walk the boundary between real and fictional, natural and cultural, self and other. I seek to extend understandings of nature through the concepts of ‘situated knowledges’ and lived experiences with reference to Estelle Barrett and Donna Haraway. By questioning the binary set up between theory and practice, situated knowledge allows engagement between theoretical and creative inquiry and results in a more complex understanding of the creative-practice/research relationship.
I argue that the definition of nature writing can be broadened to include fiction, urban areas and narratives that contribute a range of knowledge (poetic, scientific, personal, relational, and mythical). I consider the way language and meaning might play a role in understanding place and non-human nature. By re-conceptualising the way landscape, terroir, wilderness, country and nature are used and understood, I find new ways to think about nature/culture relationships. Eco-criticism, particularly through a social ecology lens has provided me with a critical frame to negotiate my own use and understanding of these conceptions.||