26.2 | Serpil Opperman

Material Ecocriticism and the Creativity of Storied Matter

Situated in the conceptual horizons of the new materialist paradigm, material ecocriticism views matter in terms of its agentic expressions, inherent creativity, performative enactments and innate meanings. It asks us to rethink the questions of agency, creativity, imagination, and narrativity. Taking into account material-discursive practices (Karen Barad) and material-semiotic processes (Donna Haraway), material ecocriticism claims that matter is endowed with meanings and is thick with stories, manifesting as “storied matter.” In other words, there are multiple stories of cosmology, geology, history, ecology, and life embodied in every form of materiality. This essay discusses how atter and meaning coalesce in these narrative potentialities of the physical world, or “narrative agency,” a material ecocritical conceptualization of matter’s expressive capacity.