Narragansett Bay and Biospheric Literacies of the Body

Matthew Ortoleva


As part of an on-going ethnographic study of the role language plays in the construction of ecological relationships to Narragansett Bay, the major estuary and defining feature of the State of Rhode Island, this article explores the transformational moments when body and place connect and the literate acts that result from this connection. The participants in this study share stories of profound loss, unwavering advocacy, and ecological consciousness that reflect an understanding of what it means to be part of an ecological community and advocate for healthy, just, and sustainable communities across Earth’s entire biosphere. Moreover, the participants in this study demonstrate that biospheric literacies begin at the level of the body, extend outward through an understanding of the interconnectedness of living systems, and are reflected in the way we care for our own immediate ecological communities.

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Publication of the Community Literacy Journal is made possible through the generous support of the English Department and the Writing and Rhetoric Program at Florida International University. The CLJ is a journal of the Conference on Community Writing.