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2016 - American Studies Association Annual Meeting Words: 321 words || 
1. Hutter, Liz. "Dwelling in Possibility: Entangled Ecologies in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s The Pearl of Orr’s Island" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association Annual Meeting, TBA, Denver, Colorado, <Not Available>. 2019-08-20 <>
Publication Type: Internal Paper
Abstract: This paper examines the complexities of dwelling—being at home—in tidal regions, the geographically, racially, and culturally hybrid spaces between land and ocean. My analysis of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s, The Pearl of Orr’s Island (1862), locates the novel’s coastal Maine community within the large marine ecosystem of the northern Atlantic. This maritime frame emphasizes human and nonhuman relationships across different materialities, temporalities, and geographies. Dwelling in a marine ecosystem embodies a process of belonging that destabilizes the tidal logic Melody Graulich theorizes in 19th century women’s maritime fiction, a logic that conceptualizes the fluidity between shore and sea as symbolic of women’s experiences of reconciliation and harmony. Alternatively, my analysis of the community relationships in Stowe’s novel emphasizes relationality, which in ecocritic Dan Wylie’s terms, is “processual,” “integrative,” and “progressive.” I articulate how the growth and maturation of the novel’s orphaned protagonists, Moses and Mara, under the care and supervision of the island’s inhabitants attests to a process of belonging that displaces linear associations between shore and ocean, the local and global. I contend Mara’s sensorial and cognitive embodiment of the ocean environment and Moses’s belated discovery of his transatlantic, mixed race genealogy, demonstrate the complex affinities and alliances that shape women’s and men’s identities in tidal environments. Moses’s and Mara’s complex genealogies are not only phenomena of regional and global Atlantic maritime culture, but also ecological phenomena that entwine the human body in the materiality of coastal environments. The textures, sounds, smells, and sensations of tidal regions, for example, provocatively shape how one inhabits her home and her community. I locate my analysis of dwelling in tidal regions at the convergence of several scholarly trends: Atlantic coastal and maritime history, namely recent work by Christopher Pastore and Jeffrey Bolster; “elemental” cultural studies, as advocated by Jeffrey Jerome Cohen among others; and ecomaterial theories of the body, such as that articulated by Stacy Alaimo.

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