Hoang Thi My Nhi (PhD) is a mid-tier researcher under the Department of Historical and Cultural Studies, Institute for Southeast Asia Studies, Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS). She graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Hue University (2004), and a master’s degree (2008) and PhD (2018) from Vietnam National University, Hanoi. She worked as a research fellow at NUS (National University of Singapore) and NTU (Nanyang Technology, Singapore). Her research deals with comparative literature, focusing on psychoanalytic and ecocritical literary criticism. Additionally, she has conducted projects on ASEAN socio-cultural development cooperation.
The Value of Indigenous and Traditional Ecological Knowledge in “Xa Nu Forest”
Abstract: This paper examines the significance of indigenous and traditional ecological knowledge in the short story “Xa Nu Forest” by Nguyen Trung Thanh, employing the ecocritical theory of Glotfelty and Lawrence. Drawing upon the philosophical underpinnings of Eastern thought, which emphasize a harmonious and consensual relationship between humans and nature, the paper explores the portrayal and role of the natural environment, particularly the Xa Nu forest, in the story’s construction. It analyzes the content, method, and narrative structure of the story in relation to the unique characteristics of the Central Highlands, shedding light on the imagery, impact, and significance of Xa Nu plants in everyday life and in the protection of the nation. The author evaluates the dynamic and interdependent relationship between humans and Xa Nu trees as depicted in both the story’s content and its overall form. The study reveals that nature is not merely a backdrop, but an active participant and influential force in the lives and struggles for the survival of indigenous communities. Furthermore, it demonstrates how indigenous peoples closely observe and adapt to the natural world, highlighting their reliance on nature as a defining aspect of their identity and the culture of the Central Highlands.
Keywords: indigenous knowledge, human-plant relations, Vietnam, short story, ecocriticism