Landscapes, Stories and Relationalities: An Ecocritical Reading of Lepcha Oral Narratives (78771)

Session Information: Environment and the Humanities
Session Chair: Kalpanee Jayatilake

Monday, 27 May 2024 15:35
Session: Session 4
Room: Room B (Live-Stream)
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 9 (Asia/Tokyo)

In the midst of an ecologically precarious world unprecedentedly altered by globalisation and capitalism, Indigenous cosmologies articulate intrinsic human and more-than-human relationalities that do not operate on the colonising binaries of nature and culture. These relationalities and intersubjectivities form the life-place which is integral to a community’s worldview and cosmology. The Lepchas believe that their home, Dzongu, in the mountains of north Sikkim, is a sacred land that bears witness to their ancestral history and mythology. It is an interconnected landscape of mountains, lakes, rivers, sacred forests, humans and more-than-humans beings.
This paper attempts to understand the relationalities that form the Lepcha life-place through an ecocritical reading of their folklore and explore how stories ensure survival in the landscape. It further explores how these relationalities manifest in their deep attachment to their life-place, translating into their resilient fight against hydropower projects that ecologically threaten their landscape. In the face of this direct ecological threat to their life-place and the planetary ecological crisis, the Lepcha relationality that believes the earth to be a living being enchanted by their ancestors and deities shows the possibility of a sustainable future of coexistence.

Manashi Bhattacharya, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India

About the Presenter(s)
Ms Manashi Bhattacharya is a PhD candidate at the Special Centre for the Study of North East India, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India. Her current research work involves interdisciplinary research on the Environmental Humanities and Ecocriticism.

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00