Re-Conceptualizing the Natural World and the Human-Environment Relationship

Re-Conceptualizing the Natural World and the Human-Environment Relationship

“In patriarchy, nature, animals and women are objectified, hunted, invaded, colonized, owned, consumed and forced to yield and produce (or not).”—Andree Collard



How has the human-environment relationship and the natural world (plants, animals and microbes) been constructed within Eurocentric and patriarchal ideals? Each culture influences the way individuals view themselves in relation to the environment as well as the natural world itself. Much knowledge on the natural world is based on the culture created by the single positionality of white, hetero, western males.  This creation of knowledge has become a powerful and influential narrative when thinking about the natural world.   For example, this dominant culture views the environment as separate from humans and has defined scientifically what is “natural” only through heteronormative standards. Through, however, the following suggested books and readings, authors from intersectional backgrounds re-define the environmental knowledge and environment-human relationship. For instance, the book Queer Ecologies highlights the vast queerness within many animals species–information not acknowledged by dominant western ideologies.  By centering womanist and feminist thought, the following authors re-conceptualize and re-define the relationship between humans and environment through a decolonized, queer, non-dualistic lens. This allows new shared knowledge on our natural world and the opportunity to develop deep, spiritual connections between humans and all life.


Suggested Material (click on the source to access link)

Grosz, Elizabeth. “Darwin and Feminism: Preliminary Investigations for a Possible Alliance.”Australian Feminist Studies 14.29 (1999): 31-45. Web.

Mellor, Mary. Feminism & Ecology. Washington Square, NY: New York UP, 1997. Print.

Mortimer, Chapman, and Bruce Erickson. Queer Ecologies: Sex, Nature, Politics, Desire. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2010. Web.

Nightingale, Andrea. “The Nature of Gender: Work, Gender, and Environment.” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 24.2 (2006): 165-85. Web.

Stein, Rachel. New Perspectives on Environmental Justice Gender, Sexuality, and Activism. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 2004. Print.

Támez, Margo. “Restoring Lipan Apache Women’s Laws, Lands, and Strength in El Calaboz Ranchería at the Texas‐Mexico Border.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 35.3 (2010): 558-69. Web