Event Title

The Naturalization Of Ownership

Location

SU 124

Start Date

19-4-2019 12:40 PM

Department

English

Session

Session 4

Description

This paper will examine how the notion of private property and the consequent sense of human entitlement to natural lands and resources has been and continues to be naturalized and universalized into the realm of innocuous common sense. I will use Locke’s Second Treatise of Government, Terry Eagleton’s Ideology, and Louis Althusser’s essay “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses” to explore how the establishment and precarious elevation of the liberal humanist subject may have strengthened and dilated an ideology of capitalist entitlement to pollute the Earth as we please in the name of ownership. From the factory owner in Northwest Indiana who dumps toxins into Lake Michigan to the coal executive in West Virginia who generates wealth by polluting the very air we breathe, from the oil-company-sponsored politician who fights regulatory environmental legislation to the automobile manufacturers who fight the electric car, concepts of ownership and the ideologies which contain and amplify them lead to an unearned sense of what belongs to whom and why. Few postmodern poets, or literary writers in general, have examined, probed and challenged this totalizing notion of ownership as powerfully and Larissa Lai and Rita Wong. I will explore how their collaborative poem, Sybil Unrest, offers a counterweight to ideologies of individualism and ownership. This is achieved, in part, through the collaborative form created between the two poets, and also through their use of idiom and wordplay with commercial language, both of which critically illuminate the shapes that ownership ideologies take, the ways capitalism teaches and sways us as individuals, and the reasons why we are susceptible. What does Sybil Unrest teach us about the precarity of ownership? How does the form of the collaborative poem proffer strategies for recognizing the way these colliding ideologies shape our behavior and social rhythms regarding the climate? Where do these ideologies come from? How have they evolved over time to become as simultaneously omnipresent and invisible as the effects of global capitalism examined by Lai and Wong? And what forms can we employ to resist the pollution of language and our environment by capitalism, entitlement, and the naturalized notion of ownership?

Comments

Ryan Poll and Timothy Scherman are the faculty sponsors for this project.

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Apr 19th, 12:40 PM

The Naturalization Of Ownership

SU 124

This paper will examine how the notion of private property and the consequent sense of human entitlement to natural lands and resources has been and continues to be naturalized and universalized into the realm of innocuous common sense. I will use Locke’s Second Treatise of Government, Terry Eagleton’s Ideology, and Louis Althusser’s essay “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses” to explore how the establishment and precarious elevation of the liberal humanist subject may have strengthened and dilated an ideology of capitalist entitlement to pollute the Earth as we please in the name of ownership. From the factory owner in Northwest Indiana who dumps toxins into Lake Michigan to the coal executive in West Virginia who generates wealth by polluting the very air we breathe, from the oil-company-sponsored politician who fights regulatory environmental legislation to the automobile manufacturers who fight the electric car, concepts of ownership and the ideologies which contain and amplify them lead to an unearned sense of what belongs to whom and why. Few postmodern poets, or literary writers in general, have examined, probed and challenged this totalizing notion of ownership as powerfully and Larissa Lai and Rita Wong. I will explore how their collaborative poem, Sybil Unrest, offers a counterweight to ideologies of individualism and ownership. This is achieved, in part, through the collaborative form created between the two poets, and also through their use of idiom and wordplay with commercial language, both of which critically illuminate the shapes that ownership ideologies take, the ways capitalism teaches and sways us as individuals, and the reasons why we are susceptible. What does Sybil Unrest teach us about the precarity of ownership? How does the form of the collaborative poem proffer strategies for recognizing the way these colliding ideologies shape our behavior and social rhythms regarding the climate? Where do these ideologies come from? How have they evolved over time to become as simultaneously omnipresent and invisible as the effects of global capitalism examined by Lai and Wong? And what forms can we employ to resist the pollution of language and our environment by capitalism, entitlement, and the naturalized notion of ownership?