International Convention of Asia Scholars 2021

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference


Roots to the Future: Gender and Plant-human Hybrids in Contemporary Fiction

In recent years, the botanical environment has come to play a vital role, not only in global politics and self-proclaimed Nature Writing, but in literary texts across genres. Inspired by recent feminist theories of the monstrous as a productive literary figure, this paper engages in an ecocritical analysis of plant-human hybrids in Chi Hui’s “The Rainforest” (2007), Dorothy Tse’s story “Bitter Gourds” (2012), and the chapter “Flourishing Beasts” from Yan Ge’s A Chronicle of Strange Beasts (2012).
Monsters, according to literary scholar Jeffrey Cohen, refuse to “participate in the classificatory ‘order of things’” making them “harbingers of category crisis.” One such crisis of classification can be seen in relation to gender in Gothic fiction, where “unfeminine” females were presented as monstrously abnormal, or in relation to cultural differences in colonial adventure fiction of savage lands filled with savage plants. A third, perhaps more contemporary, classificatory crisis relates to the various species that inhabit our planet and the imbalance of power between them. This paper compares two short stories that feature women on the borderline between species and suggest that such literary “monstrosities” can act as revealing mirrors of present society as well as help us imagine future ones.
Period2021 Aug 242021 Aug 28
Event typeConference
Conference number12
LocationKyoto, JapanShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational

UKÄ subject classification

  • Languages and Literature

Free keywords

  • critical plant studies, literary plants, Chinese literature, Taiwanese literature, Hong Kong literature