Bettering Our Stories about Stories about Nature


  • Dolly Jørgensen University of Stavanger



biography, environmental history, extinction, natural history, tortoise


      Both environmental historians and ecocriticism scholars are in the business of simultaneously analysing the stories we tell about the human-nature relationship and creating those stories. Using the case of Kiki, an Aldabra giant tortoise on display in the Muséum national d’Historie naturelle in Paris, I present three potential text types in museum displays which lend themselves to new ecocritical readings: museum labels, biographical displays, and material remains. Ecocritical approaches to the genres of scientific texts and animal biographies and the developing field of material ecocriticism prove useful for making sense of the complex narratives of environmental history. Reaching out to ecocriticism approaches can make the stories I tell as an environmental historian better.


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Author Biography

Dolly Jørgensen, University of Stavanger

Dolly Jørgensen is Professor of History at University of Stavanger, Norway. Her current research agenda focuses on cultural histories of animal extinction and recovery, including the implications of extinction for cultural heritage and museum practices. Her monograph Recovering Lost Species in the Modern Age: Histories of Longing and Belonging was published by MIT Press in 2019. She is co-editor of the journal Environmental Humanities.






Articles: New Ecocritical Practices