Anouk AerniPhD candidate
Anouk Aerni completed her MA in Literary Studies at the University of Basel in 2017 and as recipient of a start-up grant from the Doktoratsprogramm Literaturwissenschaft of the University of Basel, she started working on her PhD thesis in April 2018. Since September 2018, she has been a member of the eikones Graduate School, where she will complete her dissertation under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Philipp Schweighauser.
Based on a number of 20th century modernist and postmodernist American postbellum novels this project will explore the depiction of nature and the relationship between humanity and nature, with focus on the development of the Anthropocene and its reflection in literature.
Today’s ecological situation calls for a revaluation of our understanding of the world, so that we no longer see ourselves as the pinnacle of creation and push nature into the background. Within the scope of the literary-theoretical school of Ecocriticism and drawing on Actor-Network-Theory, the analysis of these texts will create the base of a critique of traditional readings of literary images and aim towards a reassessment of the status of nature in literature. The focus will lie on different strategies and methods of interpreting literary images, which can lead to either anthropo- or ecocentric readings. The goal is to seek out consistencies throughout the different literary periods and styles (modernist/postmodernist postbellum prose) and, with regard to the Anthropocene, determine the development of the man-nature relationship as reflected in literature.