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LIT 6394: Literature of Place: Florida

Class 12: Animals

GUEST LECTURER: Bruce Janz, Associate Professor of Humanities, University of Central Florida
on Place-making Imagination

Reading Assignment:

    Janz, "Places that Disasters Leave Behind," Florida Atlantic Comparative Studies Catastrophe and Representation, Vol. 9, 2006-2007: 33-51,in course docs

    Janz, "Walls and Borders: The Range of Place," City and Community 4.1 March 2005: 87-94.In course docs.

    John Mortimer Murphy, "Alligator Shooting in Florida" (1899), in Tales of Old Florida ed. Frank Oppel and Tony Meisel, (New York: Castle, 1987): 353:364. In course docs.

    Elizabeth Bishop, "The Fish," in course docs

    Christopher Tozier, "Last Panther" in course docs

    Post #11

Class Objectives:

    Dr. Janz's lecture
    Discuss interdisciplinary approaches to place
    Discuss place-making imagination and disasters
    Begin discussing representations of animals in Florida

Notes and Discussion Questions:

Our main event this week will be the lecture and discussion with Dr. Bruce Janz, Associate Professor of Humanities and Chair of Philosophy at the University of Central Florida. As with our other lectures, Dr. Janz will present and discuss between 60 and 90 minutes. In between his lecture and the discussion, I will ask you to reflect for about five minutes and write the following things:
  • Write down one thing that surprised you or caused you to wonder.
  • Write down one thing that you don't believe or that challenges what you thought you knew and requires more information.
  • Write down a question inspired by what you learned or a direction that it leads you to think about.

    I will be recording this event for future use.


    We are fortunate to have two short pieces on place by our speaker, and I am assigning this for our class reading.

    In "Places that Disasters Leave Behind," Janz analyzes the rhetorical responses to the hurricanes that hit Orlando in 2004 and argues that the newspaper's response to disaster worked against place making. How does the rhetoric of the Orlando paper compare with that of Fort Myers and why does one contribute to place while the other discourages it?

    Janz argues that "place-making imagination" is analogous to moral imagination in ethics. What is place-making imagination and why is it important? How might this concept amplify our discussion of the relationship between literature and place?

    Janz: "If the socially legitimated frame of reference for an event precludes such imagination, places end up emaciated" (34). Explain how this works. Can you think of another example of such a "legitimated frame of reference" in time of disaster?

    In what sense does disaster create a Foucauldian heterotopic space?

    Janz argues that there is a "lingering danger of disaster, that they can tend to solidfy exisiting and problematic senses of place, making what is fluid and provisional into something permanent" (48). Can you think of an example with implications?

    In his article, on the "Range of Place," Janz describes his online resource for interdisciplinary study of place. Research on Space and Place. Take a look at the site and raise any questions or observations on it.

    Janz discusses four different approaches to place, which overlap but differ somewhat from those we discussed in Cresswell. What benefits do you find in the organization of these categories? Questions?

    This week we also begin our fourth and final section, on animals. After reading through much of the literature on Florida, it became apparent to me that animals were central to a representation of this place, and further that we needed to have a deeper understanding of animals in order to analyze and assess our ecological relationship in Florida. For this week, we begin with three representations: two short newspaper pieces from 1899 on Shooting Alligators, a poem on fishing by Elizabeth Bishop, and a poem from 2009 in Saw Palm.

    Take the opportunity to review Chapter 7 from Garrard, on Animals. Consider the ecological perspectives versus the various pro-animal perspectives (liberationists, conservationist, cultural studies). How do you understand the ways in which these literary representations construct the human-animal relationship?

    Can you offer a comparison based in history? In genre? In gender? Race?

    NB: I find the "Alligator Shooting" disturbing on many levels, but it is representative of this entire, thick collection of stories, and I felt we needed to deal with this view.


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