Synopses & Reviews
The first edited collection to bring ecocritical studies into a necessary dialogue with postcolonial literature, this volume offers rich and suggestive ways to explore the relationship between humans and nature around the globe, drawing from texts from Africa and the Caribbean, as well as the Pacific Islands and South Asia. Turning to contemporary works by both well- and little-known postcolonial writers, the diverse contributions highlight the literary imagination as crucial to representing what Eduoard Glissant calls the "aesthetics of the earth." The essays are organized around a group of thematic concerns that engage culture and cultivation, arboriculture and deforestation, the lives of animals, and the relationship between the military and the tourist industry. With chapters that address works by J. M. Coetzee, Kiran Desai, Derek Walcott, Alejo Carpentier, Zakes Mda, and many others, Postcolonial Ecologies makes a remarkable contribution to rethinking the role of the humanities in addressing global environmental issues.
"[An] impressive achievement." --American Book Review
"The body of works under consideration in these essays is capacious and diverse...But in its best moments, this collection also engages with physical (contested) spaces and historical trends and events, revealing the social and geographic conditions for the production of literature and literary culture...An essential critique." --Small Axe
"This is a cutting edge work that not only situates ecology and biopolitics firmly at the center of postcolonial studies, but also shows the importance of postcolonial literatures to global debates on climate change and environmental degradation. A superb collection!" --Bill Ashcroft, author of Caliban's Voice: The Transformation of English in Post-Colonial Literatures
"Postcolonial Ecologies, with its outstanding roster of contributors, is a crucial intervention in the internationalisation of ecocriticism and the greening of postcolonialism. Framed by DeLoughrey and Handley's well-informed and lucid introduction, this diverse and formidable collection clarifies the inseparability of environmental issues from neo-colonial relations." --Greg Garrard, author of Ecocriticism
"By now, postcolonialists know that empire ruined landscapes and distorted human connections to nature. This book asks how writers try to undo the thinking that underpinned it all and how critics can point towards something more than reactive protest od misguided celebrations of organic links between the folk and nature...the book succeeds in directing us to some answers." --Journal of Postcolonial Writing
"An important landmark in the expanding field of postcolonial ecocriticism...this collection makes a vital contribution to postcolonial ecocriticism, negotiating crucial debates in the field and generating new categories of analysis that should enliven both postcolonial
and ecocritical studies." --Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment
"A powerful collection of original work that adds to established discussions within ecocritical discourse and pushes postcolonial and ecocritical scholarship toward new topics of crucial importance to global environmental awareness and response. It offers a smart, diverse, and rich contemplation of the role of postcolonial literatures within a global
environmental imagination and politics and clearly points to the possibility of dialogue between ecocritical thought and postcolonial writing. Better yet, it does this while maintaining a wide generic, geographic, theoretical, and historical scope. This book no doubt will make a welcome addition to the shelves of many literary and environmental scholars." --Comparative Literature Studies
This is the first edited collection to bring ecocritical studies into a necessary dialogue with postcolonial studies. By examining African, Caribbean, Pacific Island and South Asian literatures and how they depict the relationship between humans and nature, this book makes a compelling argument for a more global approach to thinking through our current environmental crisis. Turning to the contemporary production of postcolonial novelists and poets, this collection poses the literary imagination as a crucial to imagining what Eduoard Glissant calls the "aesthetics of the earth." The collection is organized around thematic concerns such as the relationship between culture and cultivation, arboriculture and deforestation, the lives of animals, and the relationship between the military and the tourist industry. The scholars collected here are at the forefront of the emergent field of postcolonial ecocriticism and this book will make a remarkable contribution to rethinking the environment and its representation in the humanities.
About the Author
is an Associate Professor in the English Department at UCLA. With George Handley and Renée Gosson, she is the co-editor of Caribbean Literature and the Environment: Between Nature and Culture
(U Virginia 2005) and with Cara Cilano, she has edited a special issue of the journal Isle
on postcolonial ecocriticism (2007). She has published articles about postcolonial literature in journals such as Ariel
, Modern Fiction Studies
, and PMLA
. She is the author of Routes and Roots: Navigating Caribbean and Pacific Island Literatures
(U Hawai`i 2007) and currently completing a manuscript about globalization, nature, and the tropics.
George B. Handley, Professor of Humanities at Brigham Young University, is the author of Postslavery Literatures of the Americas (Virginia 2000) and New World Poetics: Nature and the Adamic Imagination of Whitman, Neruda, and Walcott (Georgia 2007). His is also the co-editor, with Elizabeth DeLoughrey and Renée Gosson, of Caribbean Literature and the Environment (Virginia 2006). His articles have appeared in ISLE, Callaloo, Mississippi Quarterly, American Literature, Modern Fiction Studies, and others.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Towards an Aesthetics of the Earth
Elizabeth DeLoughrey and George Handley
Chapter 1 Cultivating Community:Counterlandscaping in Kiran Desai's The Inheritance of Loss
Chapter 2 Haiti's Elusive Paradise
Chapter 3 Towards a Caribbean Ecopoetics: Derek Walcott's Language of Plants
II. Forest Fictions
Chapter 4 Deforestation and the Yearning for Lost Landscapes in Caribbean Literatures
Lizabeth Paravisini Gebert
Chapter 5 The Postcolonial Ecology of the New World Baroque:
Alejo Carpentier's The Lost Steps
George B. Handley
Chapter 6 Forest Fictions and Ecological Crises:
Reading the Politics of Survival in Mahasweta Devi's "Dhowli"
III. The Lives of (Nonhuman) Animals
Chapter 7. Stranger in the Eco-Village: Environmental Time, Race, and Ecologies of Looking
Chapter 8. What the Whales Would Tell Us: Cetacean Communication in Novels by Witi Ihimaera,Linda Hogan, Zakes Mda, and Amitav Ghosh
Chapter 9. Compassion, Commodification, and The Lives of Animals: J.M. Coetzee's Recent Fiction
Chapter 10. "Tomorrow There Will Be More of Us:" Toxic Postcoloniality in Animal's People
Chapter 11. Heliotropes: Solar Ecologies and Pacific Radiations
Chapter 12. Activating Voice, Body, and Place:
Kanaka Maoli and Ma'ohi Writings for Kaho'olawe and Moruroa
Dina El Dessouky
Chapter 13. "Out of this great tragedy will come a world class tourism destination:"
Disaster, Ecology, and Post-Tsunami Tourism Development in Sri Lanka
Chapter 14. In Place: Tourism, Cosmopolitan Bioregionalism, and Zakes Mda's The Heart of Redness