Ravens and Doves: What We Can Learn from the Survival Narratives of Noah’s Ark
This Week on the Emergence Magazine Podcast
Emergence Magazine is a quarterly online publication exploring the threads connecting ecology, culture, and spirituality. As we experience the desecration of our lands and waters, the extinguishing of species, and a loss of sacred connection to the Earth, we look to emerging stories. Each issue explores a theme through innovative digital media, as well as the written and spoken word. The Emergence Magazine podcast features exclusive interviews, narrated essays, stories, and more.
In the face of present-day environmental catastrophe and social injustice, Jeffrey Jerome Cohen and Julian Yates examine opposing narratives of survival in the story of Noah’s Ark, exemplified in the dove and the raven. While one symbolizes an exclusionary new world with a finite narrative arc and an inevitable conclusion, the other embodies the unexpected and unscripted—a widened refuge open to all. The contrasting fate of the birds prompts these two medieval scholars to consider how we will respond when our own survival is called into question.
Jeffrey Jerome Cohen is Dean of Humanities at Arizona State University. He is widely published in the fields of medieval studies, monster theory, and the environmental humanities. His book Stone: An Ecology of the Inhuman received the 2017 René Wellek Prize in comparative literature from the American Comparative Literature Association. In collaboration with Lindy Elkins-Tanton he co-wrote the book Earth, a re-examination of our planet from the perspectives of a planetary scientist and a literary humanist. He is currently co-writing Noah’s Arkive: Towards an Ecology of Refuge with Julian Yates.
Julian Yates is professor of English studies at the University of Delaware. He has written extensively on Medieval and Renaissance British Literature, literary theory, material culture studies, and questions of ecology / environmental humanities. His book Error, Misuse, Failure: Object Lessons from the English Renaissance was a finalist for the Modern Language Association’s Best First Book Prize in 2003. He is currently co-writing Noah’s Arkive: Towards an Ecology of Refuge with Jeffrey Jerome Cohen.
Sophy Hollington is an illustrator and artist living in Brighton, UK. Much of her commercial work takes the form of relief prints, created using the process of lino-cutting. Her clients include: The New York Times, The New Yorker, Bloomberg Businessweek, Wetransfer, The Wall Street Journal, Penguin, and Stylist Magazine.