In her book, Bodily Natures: Science, Environment, and the Material Self (Indiana University Press, 2010), Stacy Alaimo approaches the concepts of “science, environment, and self” in an extremely novel and inventive way. The central concept in Alaimo’s work is that of “trans-corporeality” which she describes as a way of theorizing the relationship between humanity and the world at large as not being clearly delineated and separate, but as fluid. As this relates specifically to nature and the environment, Alaimo’s intention is for the reader to reimagine questions of environmental ethics and environmental practices as not isolated issues but rather deeply personal as the environment and our material selves are bound up with one another in a deeply intimate manner.
I found Alaimo’s central approach with “trans-corporeality,” theorizing the human as being “already in the world,” extremely refreshing when compared to the idea of human agency in postmodern studies. In this way, Alaimo provides an alternate framework for conceiving of human agency, and thus an “out” of sorts, a release, from the bounds of postmodernism’s isolated and castrated human agent. Alaimo calls this novel direction, “New Materialisms.” With this concept, Alaimo offers new insights into feminist thought and theory. Bodily Natures: Science, Environment, and the Material Self is sure to appeal to many students and scholars of literary studies and critical theory.