Arka Mukhopadhyay is a PhD research scholar and junior research fellow at the Department of English, USOL, Gujarat University. After pursuing a Master of Arts in English from Delhi University, he worked as an entertainment journalist, but climate anxiety forced him to leave his job and look for more meaningful engagement. His research entails assessing representations of South Asia in Anthropocene literature. When he is not busy understanding the ongoing climate catastrophe through a critical posthuman lens, he makes rock n’ roll music with his friends, indulges in world cinema and photography, and pets stray dogs. E-mail: email@example.com
Nutan Kotak (PhD) is a Professor at Gujarat University’s Department of English, specializing in African American women’s writing. She has a PhD in Alice Walker and has been a part of the US State Department’s IVL Program. She has received a scholarship from the US Embassy to participate in a course on ‘Exploring Web 2.0,’ and another from the US State Department on ‘Teaching English to Young Learners.’ She has translated plays, poetry, and non-fiction articles from Gujarati to English and has published the book Womanism: Its Application and Contemporary Relevance. Her research areas include gender studies, ELT, and ecology.
Ecology, Historicity, Narratives: Tracing the Location of Culture in the Mythical Desert of Buddhist Jātakas
Abstract: The mythical desert is a place where culture and temporality intersect, reflecting the complexities of the Anthropocene. The Doomsday Clock anticipates the end of human planetary reign based on a Christian logic of divine judgment, but the final fate of the world remains uneven. The complex nature of climate change and its compounding threats to humans and nonhumans prompts a re-evaluation of temporality, including historical materialist, historicist, and climatic notions. If we must reconfigure temporality out of its anthropocentric context, it must happen through the mediation of human narratives. This paper will analyze different modes and theories of temporality across Eastern and Western cultures, particularly in the religious-economic contexts of Buddhism and Christianity. By applying these findings to desert narratives drawn from Buddhist Jātaka cosmology and comparing Buddhist and Christian visions of the apocalypse, the paper seeks to understand how the post-apocalyptic space of the desert, seemingly devoid of human agency, drives forces of production and redefines the line between nature and culture.
Keywords: mythical desert, Doomsday, Buddhism, temporality, Anthropocene