Asian American Literature: Discourses & Pedagogies, Vol 2 (2011)

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Hybrid Veggies & Mixed Kids: Ecocriticism and Race in Ruth Ozeki's Pastoral Heartlands

Melissa Eriko Poulsen


This paper explores the troping of racial categories and mixed race bodies in Ruth Ozeki’s All Over Creation (2003) and My Year of Meats (1999). Moving through both transnational and local space, Ozeki’s writes an ecocritical pastoral text in order to resist representations of people of mixed race stemming from nineteenth century racial theory. Drawing attention to the consumption of food within and across national borders, whether genetically modified potatoes or hormone-infused beef, Ozeki simultaneously highlights the uncritical consumption of the language of biology around the mixed race body. All Over Creation and My Year of Meats are constructed around the traditions and tensions inherent in the pastoral, using mixed race to counter the silences of ecocritical discourse while problematizing science- and place-based constructions of race.

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