Alexandria Digital Research Library

Eden's Endemics : narratives of biodiversity on Earth and beyond

Love, Elizabeth C.
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara. English
Degree Supervisor:
Stephanie LeMenager and Jeremy Douglass
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
Issued Date:
American literature
Dissertations, Academic and Online resources
Ph.D.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2016

In Eden's Endemics I propose a novel view of biodiversity to counter problematic narratives we tell (and have told) about the diversity of life on Earth. In this work biodiversity will not be considered merely a metric or proxy by which we assess the health of ecosystems. It is not just a measurement or a thing that's actually "out there," waiting to be indexed or preserved. Instead, I propose it is a way of talking about the world that aims to highlight what is most valued in nature, but nevertheless draws on traditions of natural history, imperialism, and neoliberal capitalism, of golden age myths of abundance and island paradises. Biodiversity is a domain in which the organisms that populate cities, ecosystems, and ourselves interact with and butt up against the discourses and genres we use to talk about them. This productive interaction produces a world where some things are visible, some invisible, some voices are heard and some are silenced. For example, it produces a world where biodiversity is most visible in the tropics, but any causes of biodiversity loss that stem from outside the tropics are obscure. These narratives actually impact what is noticeable, what is visceral, and what is unquestioned commonsense about the patterns of life on Earth. My method does not take for granted the separation of the material world and the ways we have of talking about it, but instead explores how these items coproduce each other and the many tensions and negotiations between them. Instead of a static final number or result, biodiversity is a process: an accounting for the world where matter and discourse entangle to co-produce the more-than-human world in which we live and operate.

Physical Description:
1 online resource (233 pages)
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
Catalog System Number:
Inc.icon only.dark In Copyright
Copyright Holder:
Elizabeth Love
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