Date of this Version
Great Plains Quarterly Vol. 29, No. 3, Summer 2009, pp. 256
The postmodern era of critical theory has not been kind to Carl Jung. As Rinda West suggests, many postmodern critics denigrated Jung's notions of the collective unconscious and of archetypes as "essentialist and Eurocentric." Drawing on recent ideas in ecopsychology and neurobiology, however, West seeks to rehabilitate Jung for the post-postmodern era. She proposes that, based on current understandings in such fields as the biology of cognition, these ideas of Jung serve "as a way of acknowledging the power of our biological history and of talking about powerful tendencies to respond in certain situations common in human life."
Such a position is not the thesis of West's book, however, but one of its starting premises. In fact, Out of the Shadow is a wide-ranging book that has something to say not only about Jung and ecopsychology, but also about postcolonial literature, bioregionalism, and restoration biology, while also making some connections to the literature of the Great Plains.