I also wanted to briefly mention something else from the Manifest Destiny/Manifest Responsibility catalogue that didn't really fit into my last post. In his essay Hogue says, "Indeed, there is a significant connection between moral attitudes toward nature and intercultural relations, especially in the way dominant groups treat the oppressed and marginalized." (pg. 11) He seems primarily interested in the way early American settlers treated Native Americans, but I think his assertion stands outside of this context.
It's quite closely related to how I have been thinking about my own work, particularly after last week's presentation. I've been trying to sort out exactly what connection I am trying to draw between nature and men going to the woods to have sex. (If you happen to be somebody not in this class and want to see the work in question, go to my website jenniferray.net.) In my photographs, I'm hoping to present nature and sexuality in a complicated way that dislodges idealistic notions of both. A culture that holds to a rigid interpretation of what nature is and isn't is likely to have rigid views of sexuality as well. If we imagine nature to be pure, comprehensible, and inherently moral, we may extend that to ideas of what is natural human behavior.
One of the most common arguments that homophobes use against gay sex is that is isn't natural because it doesn't result in reproduction, as heterosexual sex often does. I hope to counter this argument by identifying places in nature where homosexual sex happens and depict the natural world as complicated, sensual, and aggressive. Perhaps nature is amoral, functioning without regard to what is right or fair or as it should be. Likewise, human nature doesn't play by the rules our theologies and ideologies set; these moral codes are artificial.