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A-2017 - Global Environmental Humanities

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Automne 2017

Département d'anglais - Université Concordia

Postcolonial studies of the environment and the non-human (Tiffin, Huggan, De Loughrey) has included some debate on the relevance of ecocriticism to readings of postcolonial writing concerned with representing nature and animals. Scholars have argued that ecocriticism and postcolonial studies must look for critical approaches that accommodate for both the textuality of literature and the extra-textual status of the more-than-human if they hope to link the ethical projects that drive both areas of scholarship (Nixon, Vital, Head, O’Brien). Ecocriticism has largely emerged out of an American studies context (Buell, Glotfelty, Slovic), resulting in a sometimes parochial view of environmental history. Postcolonial studies, on the other hand, has been seen as showing “scant interest in environmental concerns, regarding them implicitly as, at best, irrelevant and elitist, at worst, sullied by ‘green imperialism’” (Nixon). This course will attempt to address how these sometimes conflictual dynamics in postcolonial and ecocritical studies might be brought into dialogue through a ‘Green’ approach to studying postcolonial literature concerned with globalization and the environment.  Our discussions will focus on divergent approaches to reading literature in ecocritical and postcolonial studies that emphasize rootedness versus displacement, purity versus hybridity and the national versus the transnational.  We will ground these theoretical debates with discussion of literary works by writers such as Anita Desai, Amitav Ghosh, Nadine Gordimer, Helon Habila, Jamaica Kincaid, Barbara Kingsolver, and Arundhati Roy, Indra Sinha, and Ken Saro-Wiwa.