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Ecofeminist ‘lines of convergence’: Remapping the American West in Rebecca Solnit’s Savage Dreams

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This article examines the ways Rebecca Solnit’s Savage Dreams (1994) (re)maps two key locations in the American West. The text centres on Yosemite National Park and the Nevada Test Site, locations emblematic of histories of colonialism, patriarchy, capitalism and the military in the United States. Considering how Solnit constructs a counter-map of these places, this article argues that by tracing ‘lines of convergence’ on a landscape deemed empty by the dominant culture, Solnit both documents and is part of resistance to power structures upheld by traditional cartography. Using an ecofeminist framework based on drawing connections in the face of the dominant culture’s emphasis on fragmentation and separation, I discuss how Solnit exposes the silence and violence of the map. I then consider the ways she constructs a ‘testimonial network’ that counters both. Finally, I suggest that Solnit’s textual counter-map prompts us to re-read the traditional map on connective, ecofeminist terms.
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Keywords: American West; activism; cartography; counter-map; ecofeminism; testimony

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000110927967University of East Anglia

Publication date: March 1, 2020

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  • The European Journal of American Culture (EJAC) is an academic, refereed journal for scholars, academics and students from many disciplines with a common involvement in the interdisciplinary study of America and American culture, drawing on a variety of approaches and encompassing the whole evolution of the country.
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