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Ecocriticism

The Politics of Place

Authored by: Elizabeth DeLoughrey

The Routledge Companion to Anglophone Caribbean Literature

Print publication date:  June  2011
Online publication date:  June  2011

Print ISBN: 9780415485777
eBook ISBN: 9780203830352
Adobe ISBN: 9781136821745

10.4324/9780203830352.ch31

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Abstract

As a critical apparatus, ecocriticism has only recently been adopted to analyze Caribbean literary production. This belatedness does not reflect a lack of concern about the environment by Caribbean writers but rather a rise in ecological thinking as a methodology by literary critics in the 1990s (Heise 2006). Caribbean writers have long engaged the history of the environment and the complexity of its representation. Scholars have argued that the Caribbean is one of the most important areas for an ecocritical lens because the region’s history does not allow for a facile division between humans and nature, an opposition that often determines the dominant ecocritical production of North America (DeLoughrey et al. 2005). In the Caribbean, an engagement with the environment means an entanglement with the history of empire and postcolonial nation-building. This history of empire, diaspora, and resettlement necessarily foregrounds the ways in which the violence of plantation societies ruptured continuous human relationships to place (Glissant 1989). Imagining a new relation to place beyond colonial violence has been vital to the growth of national literatures in the Caribbean and in other postcolonial regions.

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