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Veranstaltungen · Universität Innsbruck · Medizinische Universität Innsbruck

Donnerstag, 09.01.2020

Vortrag

Locus Vivus: Towards a New Paradigm in Mountain Studies

10:15 - 11:45 Uhr
Universität Innsbruck, Saal New Orleans, Innrain 52, 6020 Innsbruck


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Eva-Maria Müller

Eva-Maria Müller is currently completing her doctoral thesis in postcolonial and mountain studies at the University of Gießen, Germany. She holds a master degree in English and Biology from Innsbruck University, was a research fellow at the University of Alberta, and is currently a research associate in a project on mountain / film /studies at the University of Innsbruck’s Department of American Studies.

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Mountains have been prominent viewpoints in colonial exploration. They have also been popular sights in global tourism and a favored object for the travelling eye/I. So powerful is the visual dominance of mountains that it is widely accepted in mountain studies that mountains are to the human mind either beautiful or abhorrent. This discourse of mountain gloom and mountain glory (or locus amoenus and locus horribilis) has served well in showing that the dominant approach in mountain travel is visual. But it is also inconsistent. It is wrong. And it is dangerous. Thomas Wharton’s award-winning first novel Icefields (1995), set within the boundaries of present-day Jasper Park in the Canadian Rockies, exposes the slippery slopes of visual mastery and shows that there is more to mountains than that which meets the eye. Wharton’s writing emanates with the peculiarities of alpine life and prises open the fixities of aesthetic binaries. The themes and literary strategies Wharton employs in Icefields call for a new paradigm in mountain studies. This paper proposes to think of the mountain as a locus vivus – as a place teeming with life – and acknowledges the value of mountains outside aesthetic frameworks. It also explores some of the narrative techniques and the possibilities that literature holds in revisioning mountain vitality.

Veranstalter

Zentrum für Interamerikanische Studien der Universität Innsbruck
Institut für Amerikastudien