This thesis uses ecofeminist and human-animal studies lenses to explore human animal and nonhuman animal relations in early America. Most ecocritical studies of American literature begin with nineteenth-century writers. This project, however, suggests that drawing on ecofeminist theories with a human-animal studies approach sheds light on eighteenth-century texts as well. Early American naturalist travel writing offers a site replete with human and nonhuman encounters. Specifically, naturalist William Bartram’s travel journal features interactions with animals in the southern colonial American frontier. Amateur naturalist Elizabeth House Trist’s travel diary includes interactions with frontier and domestic animals. Sarah Trimmer’s Fabulous Histories, a conduct manual that taught children acceptable behavior towards animals, provides insight about the social regulation of human and nonhuman relationships during the late eighteenth century, when Bartram and Trist wrote their texts. This thesis identifies and analyzes textual sites that blur the human subject/and animal object distinction and raise questions about the representation of animals as objects. This project focuses on the subtle discursive subversions of early Euroamerican naturalist science present in Bartram’s Travels (1791) and the blurring of human/animal boundaries in Trist’s Travel Diary (1783-84); Trimmer’s Fabulous Histories (1794) further complicates the Euroamerican discourse of animals as curiosities. These texts form part of a larger but overlooked discourse in early British America that anticipated more well-known and nonhuman-centric texts in the burgeoning early nineteenth-century American animal rights movement.
|Department||Department of English|
|Degree||Master of Arts|
|University||University of Central Florida|
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