Toward Transnational Ecocriticism in Southeast Asia

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  • Title: Toward Transnational Ecocriticism in Southeast Asia: A Reading of Outhine Bounyavong’s “Frangipani”
  • Author(s): John Ryan
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: On Sustainability
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability
  • Keywords: Southeast Asia, Ecocriticism, Comparative Environmental Criticism, Lao Literature, Outhine Bounyavong
  • Volume: 14
  • Issue: 1
  • Year: 2018
  • ISSN: 2325-1077 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2325-1085 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2325-1077/CGP/v14i01/1-12
  • Citation: Ryan, John. 2018. "Toward Transnational Ecocriticism in Southeast Asia: A Reading of Outhine Bounyavong’s “Frangipani”." The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability 14 (1): 1-12. doi:10.18848/2325-1077/CGP/v14i01/1-12.
  • Extent: 12 pages

Abstract

This article addresses the lack of emphasis on Southeast Asia in English-language-based ecocritical (environmental literary) scholarship to date. Notwithstanding the rich biocultural traditions of Southeast Asian literature, few ecocritical studies of the region have been published in English. For ecocriticism to become further established in Southeast Asia, scholars within the region should consider the practical potential of ecocriticism to benefit local communities. In embracing possibilities for social activism and community engagement—as well as a transnational and transboundary outlook—ecocriticism will achieve greater relevance to human and nonhuman communities in Southeast Asia and elsewhere. Given the extraordinary pressures on environments throughout Asia, and particularly in the Southeast region, the need for community-based activist ecocritical scholarship is urgent. In support of these assertions, the article will conclude with a detailed ecocritical reading of the short story “Frangipani” by contemporary Lao author Outhine Bounyavong (1942–2000).