Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Puspa Damai

Second Advisor

Kristen Lillvis

Third Advisor

Carrie Oeding


The aim of this thesis is to investigate and analyze the disassociation between corporations, humans, and nature using the Eco-Marxist and Posthumanism literary theories.

In the first chapter, coal politics of the Appalachian region of the United States are explored using the Eco-Marxist literary theory. This theory allows one to examine how corporations undermine communities and nature for financial gain. Because current research was lacking in regards to local and national coal politics, the author decided to examine an area that was familiar with corporate hegemony.

In the second chapter, the issue of bioethics in factory farms is investigated using the Posthumanism literary theory, specifically focusing on how corporations use technology to exploit both human and nonhuman entities. Here, the author introduces the idea of the corporate posthuman by examining the Supreme Court’s rulings to humanize corporations. Laying the framework this concept ultimately allows future researchers to examine ethics beyond the material world.

In conclusion, the thesis argues that using literary theory provides the capability to contribute to conversations of ethics, exploitation, and awareness in cultural discourse. This thesis hopes to contribute to the literary theory field and thus make a small contribution to its canon by introducing two concepts and future areas to explore.


Literary theory.