Studies in European and American Cultures Issue 3
1996-10-01 発行

ウィルダネスと女性 : Refugeにおける親密性の位相

Women and Wilderness : The Topology of Intimacy in Terry Tempest Williams' Refuge
Yuki, Masami
In terms of politics, the arid landscape of Utah has received a twofold dismissal as wilderness: it is labelled as "a blank spot on the map" and therefore considered the legitimate "downwind" area of radioactive fallout from Nevada Test Site on the one hand; and on the other, Utah has been marginalized because of its major population, the Mormons. Terry Tempest Williams, one of the major western American nature writers and also a Mormon, tries to rebuild such a rationalistic perspective from an ecofeminist point of view. By participating in, rather than objectifying, the wilderness, she describes it as a place to live or "milieu" both for herself and the land in her 1991 book Refitge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place.

A key to empathy with the wilderness, Williams finds, is "intimacy," which has been harbored within "the secrecy of sisterhood" of Mormon culture. The increasing appreciation of the intimate women relationships, especially around her mother's death, leads Williams to shift her response to wilderness: the Great Basin appears to her as a woman's body, having "the natural shape of Earth." As well as the contaminated land, however, Williams herself, along with the women in her family, has been deprived of "the natural shape" by the nuclear testings. Superimposing on the desert her own history of "the Clan of One-Breasted Women," Williams sees the wilderness in terms of the same intimacy as she has experienced within the sisterhood. Fostered behind the public scene, the intimacy among women has conjured magic, even against authority; however, such intimacy is not hidden any more when Williams establishes an enhanced topology of intimacy where she "understand[s] the fate of the earth as [her] own."

Against the Mormon doctrine, Williams goes so far, as to "introduce the Motherbody as a spiritual counterpoint to the Godhead." In doing so, she can redefine both the women relationship and the wilderness as potent and thus incorporate "intimacy" into the modern frame of reference. Such an effort, in turn, results in an "act of civil disobedience" at the Test Site for the sake of women as well as the land: "a politics of place" supported by intimacy.