Year of Graduation


Level of Access

Restricted Access Thesis

Embargo Period


Department or Program


First Advisor

Karime Castillo


Grounded in the soil of the territory now known as the North Maine Woods (NMW), where for millennia Wabanaki peoples lived on and engaged with the land, this thesis explores how the longstanding history of human habitation in and around the Maine woods clashes with colonial narratives that depict the concepts of forest and civilization at complete odds with one another. Instead of offering a comparative look at Western and non-Western cosmologies through the lens of the forest, however, I strive to destabilize the concept of forest itself, foregrounding how multiplicities of meanings, irreducible particularities, and, ultimately, confusion make the forest into fecund insurgent space—ideologically and ecologically. While tidy forest narratives attempt to organize the chaotic matrices of our lives and others’, exploring narrative threads in the North Maine Woods, seeking out knots and loose ends, threatens to undo what we think we know about the stories, the worlds, and the woods enveloping us. Ultimately, my argument is simple: storytelling makes and unmakes how we understand and engage with the Maine woods. Storying the forest produces and reproduces historical yet constantly shifting networks of meaning that decenter any singular (human) perspective while maintaining the entanglements between human and non-human worlds. There is no telling the forest, but this thesis enacts forest kind of storytelling to focus on the relational aspects of getting lost in the Maine woods and reframe conversations about land use, history, and human imaginations of others.


Available only to users on the Bowdoin campus.