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Aguinda v. Texaco Inc.

Expanding Indigenous “Expertise” Beyond Ecoprimitivism

Veronica Davidov

This article analyzes a series of litigations that began with the Aguinda v. Texaco Inc. case as a site of production of new legal subjectivities for indigenous communities in the region of the Ecuadorian Amazon polluted by oil extraction activities. They engage in the transnational and local legal structures, contribute to and generate legal and scientific knowledge and expertise, and articulate multiple legal subjectivities that position them not only as homogenous plaintiffs in a highly publicized lawsuit, but also as legal actors in complex relation to each other, and to the state. Through such engagements with this legal process, indigenous actors are recrafting their collective representations in ways that challenge the ‘ecoprimitive’ stereotypes of indigeneity, historically associated with the ‘paradox of primitivism.’

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Writing the End

Wilfred Thesiger, Freya Stark and the 'Arabist tradition'

Ben Cocking

Freya Stark's The Southern Gates of Arabia (1936) and Wilfred Thesiger's Arabian Sands (1959) are commonly viewed as representing the last of the 'Arabist tradition'. Consequently, The Southern Gates of Arabia and Arabian Sands provide an opportunity to examine the Arabist tradition at a genealogical point of transition. Taking as its starting point the representational strategies deployed in each book, this paper will examine the extent to which these strategies are characteristic of Arabist travel writing and consider how Stark and Thesiger might be located in the context of the tradition's demise.

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Venetian (Still) Life

The Displacement of Ethical Response in the Travel Writing of W.D. Howells

Shaul Bassi and Barbara Del Mercato

There are some well-known tourist destinations that promise aesthetic experience while simultaneously confronting the traveller with the unpleasant sight of human misery. It could be even argued that the more a site is aestheticized, the more the ethical dilemmas that it potentially poses for travellers who wish to enjoy the place’s beauty without moral disquiet. A number of psychological and representational strategies are thus devised to allow unimpeded enjoyment, so that the visitor to the Taj Mahal or Angkor Wat can admire architectural wonders while observing that the Indian or Cambodian poor are nevertheless ‘decorous’ and ‘dignified’. This article analyzes the aesthetization of one particular site and the displacement of ethical dilemmas in a location which is less obviously exotic. We will try to demonstrate how certain moral issues presented themselves to a nineteenth-century American traveller in Venice, and how s/he expressed these dilemmas while simultaneously defusing their unsettling potential.