“Ecocritical studies have long neglected the postcolonial regions of the world, so it’s refreshing and timely to see a collection of essays focused entirely on Africa. This collection is the first of its kind and as such is positioned to make a vital intervention in postcolonial, ecocritical, and African studies.”
Elizabeth DeLoughrey, author of Postcolonial Ecologies: Literatures of the Environment
“A groundbreaking intervention into African, postcolonial, literary, and environmental studies.”
Research in African Literatures
Environment at the Margins brings literary and environmental studies into a robust interdisciplinary dialogue, challenging dominant ideas about nature, conservation, and development in Africa and exploring alternative narratives offered by writers and environmental thinkers. The essays bring together scholarship in geography, anthropology, and environmental history with the study of African and colonial literatures and with literary modes of analysis. Contributors analyze writings by colonial administrators and literary authors, as well as by such prominent African activists and writers as Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Mia Couto, Nadine Gordimer, Wangari Maathai, J. M. Coetzee, Zakes Mda, and Ben Okri. These postcolonial ecocritical readings focus on dialogue not only among disciplines but also among different visions of African environments. In the process, Environment at the Margins posits the possibility of an ecocriticism that will challenge and move beyond marginalizing, limiting visions of an imaginary Africa.
David McDermott Hughes
Roderick P. Neumann
Byron Caminero-Santangelo is an associate professor of English at the
University of Kansas. He is the author of African Fiction and Joseph Conrad: Reading Postcolonial Intertextuality and has written extensively on the intersection of African literary studies and ecocriticism.
Garth Myers is Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of Urban and International Studies in the Center for Urban and Global Studies and Department of International Studies at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut. He is the author of African Cities: Alternative Visions of Urban Theory and Practice, Verandahs of Power: Colonialism and Space in Urban Africa, and Disposable Cities: Garbage, Governance and Sustainable Development in Urban Africa, and coeditor with Martin J. Murray of Cities in Contemporary Africa.
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Environmental Imaginaries of the Middle East and North Africa
Edited by Diana K. Davis and Edmund Burke III
· Afterword by Timothy Mitchell
The landscapes of the Middle East have captured our imaginations throughout history. Images of endless golden dunes, camel caravans, isolated desert oases, and rivers lined with palm trees have often framed written and visual representations of the region. Embedded in these portrayals is the common belief that the environment, in most places, has been deforested and desertified by centuries of misuse.
Tales of deforestation and desertification in North Africa have been told from the Roman period to the present. Such stories of environmental decline in the Maghreb are still recounted by experts and are widely accepted without question today. International organizations such as the United Nations frequently invoke these inaccurate stories to justify environmental conservation and development projects in the arid and semiarid lands in North Africa and around the Mediterranean basin.
The essays collected in Cultivating the Colonies demonstrate how the relationship between colonial power and nature reveals the nature of power. Each essay explores how colonial governments translated ideas about the management of exotic nature and foreign people into practice, and how they literally “got their hands dirty” in the business of empire. The eleven essays include studies of animal husbandry in the Philippines, farming in Indochina, and indigenous medicine in India.
Indigenous knowledge has become a catchphrase in global struggles for environmental justice. Yet indigenous knowledges are often viewed, incorrectly, as pure and primordial cultural artifacts. This collection draws from African and North American cases to argue that the forms of knowledge identified as “indigenous” resulted from strategies to control environmental resources during and after colonial encounters.