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Ysabel Muñoz Martínez on Literature and Botany
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Ysabel Muñoz Martínez on Literature and Botany

Diana Valencia Duarte, Ysabel Muñoz Martínez, and Diana Rodriguez Cala reflect on Ysabel’s piece on interdisciplinary environmental humanities.
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This piece advocates for creating interdisciplinary bridges in the field of environmental humanities in Cuba through the literary work of Lydia Cabrera, especially in her well-known El Monte, a seminal text for approaching the folklore of this island. After briefly discussing the central role of plants in Afro-Cuban traditions and the ethics of coexisting with respect within the environment, passed through generations of oral storytellers and practitioners, this article reflects on the possibility of undertaking cross-examinations between literature and botany. To do so, it analyzes the presence of plant species in El Monte that also appear in the Red List of Cuban Flora. This practical approach points out the potentialities of extending the knowledge of Cuban flora through ethnographic literature and cultivating new ways of environmental communication through canonical and popular texts.

Ysabel Muñoz Martínez (she/her) is a PhD candidate in English Literature at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, where she works with the transdisciplinary project "Narrating Sustainability." She holds a bachelor in Letters from the University of Havana (2017) and received a Chevening scholarship to complete the MLitt. Environment, Culture and Communication at the University of Glasgow (2021). Ysabel is an environmental humanities scholar whose research interests include Caribbean culture, material ecocriticism, ecofeminism, post/decolonial studies and affect theory. As an activist, she has written several articles and participated in campaigns and conferences working towards sustainability in the Caribbean context. 

Dr. Diana M. Valencia-Duarte (she/ella) is an assistant executive editor for EHN. She recentely received her PhD in History at the University of Exeter. Her research focused on food security and food sovereignty in the Colombian peasant landscape, reviewing impacts on food culture and agroecosystems resulting from the practical resolution of Agrarian Reforms and counter-reforms. A Colombian herself, Diana is a multidisciplinary investigation, combining rural studies and food security theory with environmental history methods, aiming for practical impact and to inform food production debates. She makes the case for communities and their territories by giving voice to the peasantry as subject and agents of their own history.

Read a text version of this piece here and a transcript here.

This show is hosted, produced, and edited by Natalie Wilkinson, with music provided by Natalie Wilkinson and Christine Murphy. Special thanks to Emma Moesswilde and Elizabeth Hameeteman. Transcripts by Macie Menard. Spanish-language editing by Isabel Nuñez Martinez. More Ecotones Now? Check out Season 1 here. Thanks for listening! 

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