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From the Washington Consensus to the Commodities Consensus: Feminist Ecogothic and Anti-extractivism in Literature from Argentina

Oloff, Kerstin



Kerstin Oloff

Sharae Deckard

Treasa De Loughrey

Claire Westall


Drawing on world-ecology approaches to ecogothic and feminist theories of social reproduction, this chapter reads two paradigmatic literary examples of feminist ecogothic literature from Argentina. In the last decade, Agustina Baztérrica’s Cadáver exquisito [Tender is the Flesh] (2017) and Samanta Schweblin’s Distancia de rescate [Fever Dream] (2014) mediate the fundamental links between violence against women and the appropriation and discipline of both the unpaid reproductive labour of women and the work/energy of extra-human nature by fictionalising Argentina’s neoextractivist dependency on export-oriented food commodities – specifically beef and genetically modified (GM) soy products. I argue that Baztérrica’s dystopian novel Cadáver exquisito viscerally allegorises the significance of the beef industry for Argentina and links it to a crisis of social reproduction, binding ecogothic to a feminist critique of capitalism’s exploitation of humans and non-humans, but most specifically of women. Schweblin’s novel, Distancia de rescate, concentrates on the toxic impacts of soy-as-commodity. In its depiction of the poisoning of Amanda and her child, Nina, by pesticides sprayed on GM soy while they are on holiday in the countryside surrounding Buenos Aires, the novel utilizes ecogothic tropes of zombie-like children, and patterns of repetition and haunting. Together, these novels mobilise a feminist ecogothic register to depict the toxic effects of resource extraction in beef and GM soy commodity frontiers and to represent, as well as protest against, the violence women and non-human nature face within the “commodities consensus” of Argentina’s neoextractivist regime.

Deposit Date Jul 9, 2024
Publisher Routledge
Book Title Routledge companion to literature and the environment
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Contract Date Jul 8, 2024