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    Past as possibility – The potential for reflective engagement with prehistoric archaeology to facilitate ecological awareness and ecotherapy
    (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht Verlag, 2023) Nolan, Claire; Godlewicz-Adamiec, J.; Stobiecka, M.; Arts and Humanities Research Council
    The belief that prehistoric communities led simpler, healthier lives in harmony with nature is a recurring theme in the popular imagination. Sometimes described as evolutionary or ecological nostalgia, this view is often accompanied by a desire to either escape to an imagined prelapsarian past or to recreate it in the present. These ideals underpin the growing appetite in the West for the adoption of lifestyle choices based on prehistoric lifeways, such as the ‘paleo’ diet, barefoot running and ancestral skills. They also underlie popular perceptions of prehistoric archaeology. Despite its appeal, this type of nostalgia has received criticism from various camps in both the sciences and humanities, and has traditionally been frowned upon in the heritage sector for its sanitised and inaccurate representation of prehistoric life. This paper discusses these themes with reference to the results of qualitative research carried out at prehistoric sites in Wiltshire, UK in 2016 and 2017. Presenting the experiences of residents, it demonstrates some of the intellectual and emotional ways in which certain people hold nostalgic views of prehistoric life, and the value these perceptions possess in terms of relationship to self and the natural world. Subsequently, the paper argues that rather than seeing these impressions of prehistory as a misrepresentation of the past, they might be recognised as a desire to create a better future for both people and planet, and thus as a resource for promoting ecological awareness and human wellbeing.
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    Writing working-class Irish women
    (Cambridge University Press, 2017-11) Laird, Heather
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    "More than Kin and More than Kind": Lady Sydney Morgan and Lady Olivia Clarke
    (Royal Irish Academy, 2022-08) Connolly, Claire
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    Formations and deformations of Empire: Maria Edgeworth and the West Indies
    (Manchester University Press (Studies in Imperialism), 2023-02) Connolly, Claire; O'Kane, Finola; O'Neill, Ciaran
    This chapter trace the threads of scattered details, repeated images and occasional plot twists found in the fiction and letters of Maria Edgeworth in order to consider the scope and extent of her engagement with the West Indies across a long career. The topic of slavery makes an uncomfortable home within Edgeworth’s broader intellectual interests contexts, not least because she does not set the ownership, sale and exchange of people apart from the trade in ideas, books and goods. Furthermore, the kinds of violent improbabilities that help to form the particular texture of Edgeworth’s realism often concern seeds and plants. Within the specific scenes that flow from Edgeworth’s thinking about slavery in the context of improving debates about education and domesticity, she allows seeds, plants and gardens to sharpen and define lines of imperial connection.
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    Death and the nonhuman in Elizabeth Bowen's Fiction
    (Bloomsbury Academic, 2021-08-21) O'Connor, Maureen
    The Renaissance and the Enlightenment, revolutions in ‘Western’ thought, asserted the superiority of humanist, rationalist modes of engaging with and understanding the phenomenal world over traditional technologies of knowledge. Beginning in the early modern era, emerging models of scientific inquiry seemed to demonstrate the independence of the human mind from its physical environment, in contrast to older, ‘primitive’ systems of organizing phenomena and relationships between them that understood every element of the environment, including the animate, the numinous and the inanimate, as parts of an enmeshed whole. One of the promises held out by Enlightenment thought, then, was the possibility of transcending the body, associated with the mortal limitations of our animal materiality, ‘the living link between an artificially idealized humanity and “nature” ’. The artistic avant-garde of the early twentieth century reacted against Enlightenment imperatives to progress and civilization in its preoccupation with ‘primitive’ forms, from the aesthetic...