Tasmanian, any member of the extinct Australoid population of Tasmania. The Tasmanians were an isolate population of Aboriginal Australians, not a separate or distinctive population, who were cut off from the mainland when a general rise in the sea level flooded the Bass Strait about 10,000 years ago. Their population upon the arrival of European explorers in the 17th and 18th centuries has been estimated at about 4,000. They were a relatively short people, with generally Australoid physical characteristics. The Tasmanians spoke languages that were unintelligible to mainland Aborigines.
The island was divided among several tribes speaking different dialects, each with a delimited hunting territory. Subsistence was based on hunting land and sea mammals and collecting shellfish and vegetable food. In warm months the Tasmanians moved through the open forest and moorlands of the interior in bands or family groups of 15 to 50 people; in colder months they moved to the coast. Occasionally, bands gathered together for a corroboree (a dance celebrating important events), a hunt, or for protection against attack.
Wooden spears, waddies (clubs, or throwing sticks), and flaked-stone tools and weapons were produced. Bone implements, basketry, and bark canoes for coastal travel were also made. A few rock carvings depicting natural objects and conventionalized symbols have survived.
The first permanent white settlement was made in Tasmania in 1803; in 1804 an unprovoked attack by whites on a group of Tasmanians was the first episode in the Black War. The whites treated the Aborigines as subhumans, seizing their hunting grounds, depleting their food supply, attacking the women, and killing the men. Tasmanian attempts to resist were met with the superior weaponry and force of the Europeans. Between 1831 and 1835, in a final effort at conciliation and to prevent the extermination of the approximately 200 remaining Tasmanians, the Aborigines were removed to Flinders Island. Their social organization and traditional way of life destroyed, subjected to alien disease and attempts to “civilize” them, they soon died. Truganini (d. 1876), a Tasmanian woman who aided the resettlement on Flinders Island, was the last full-blooded Aborigine in Tasmania. Another Tasmanian woman is said to have survived on Kangaroo Island in South Australia until 1888.
Ecohorror sounds super cool, can you recomend some?
Ecohorror/ ecogothic are what I’d call sub-genres, that is, that while there are a lot of works that deal with the themes involved (horror and gothic fiction that utilises elements of the natural world as part of the antagonistic force and/ or which expresses the abject or grotesque through nature) these texts are generally sorted by the more general genres that they inhabit.
So, most ecohorror or ecogothic texts fall into the horror, gothic, suspense, action, etc genres, rather than being classified and marketed as ecohorror or ecogothic. All of these fall under the super-genre of Speculative Fiction. (Though I think there could definitely be an argument made that there could be nonfiction ecohorror.)
This ask, I’m pretty sure, comes from reading that I’m writing a proposal for a conference focused on ecohorror/ ecogothic. I’ll start off with a little bit about the text I’ll be talking about and why I chose it.
So, all going to plan, I’ll be giving a paper about the film Crimson Peak (2015), and the relationship in that film between the supernatural/ hauntings and the earth on which the hauntings take place.
There are several markers in the film that I believe characterise it as ecogothic, most notably, the physical resemblance between the ghosts and the dominant mode of exploitation of the land in their respective settings. In the New World, the ghost is black and smokey and reminiscent of the coal powered industry. At Crimson Peak, the ghosts are bloody red like the iron-rich soil, and many of them have become ghosts (died/ been killed) due to the need of the wealthy elite to extract that mineral worth from the soil.
My paper would focus on the connection between the land and the ghosts, between land ownership and class, and between exploitation of the land and exploitation of the body.
Now, that said, I’ll give a few other texts that I think satisfy the indistinct category of ecohorror/ ecogothic:
Severed (2005); (Severed: Forest of the Dead in the US)
Princess Mononoke (1997)
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
San Andreas (2015)
The Children of Men by P.D. James (I include this because a central part of the horror in the novel is about people losing connection to a ‘basic’ natural part of existence, the horror is that humanity has lost a vital part of nature)
Van Diemen’s Land (2009) (the obvious horror story is about the cannibalism, but the other element of the film is the Tasmanian wilderness, and of people who’ve been forcibly removed from their own land and pushed into an alien landscape)
The Alien franchise fits into this, with the horror take on biology/ reproduction, and the robots that are indistinguishable from humanity until they’re destroyed
The Mad Max franchise also fits very well, thematically Fury Road talks about it most explicitly, but Road Warrior has similar concerns about resources (different groups fighting over oil) and Beyond Thunderdome has the first iteration of the Green Place/ exploited township dynamic. It also has a whole sub plot about renewable energy sources
The Road by Cormac McCarthy and the 2009 film of the same name
Chernobyl Diaries (2012)
The Happening (2008)
Fern Gully (1992)
One example of nonfiction that I think is, perhaps not ecohorror technically, but is a fantastic example of something unsettling with nature ‘going wrong’ is this article about the dead trees at Chernobyl [LINK]
There are obviously a lot more than that, but there’s a good starting off point, I think. The ecogothic and ecohorror are possibly trending as anxiety about the environment and the impact that people are having on the world come into focus as major sites of crisis in the popular consciousness.