African literature, audience and the search for the (non)human

Authored by: Cajetan Iheka

Routledge Handbook of African Literature

Print publication date:  March  2019
Online publication date:  March  2019

Print ISBN:
eBook ISBN: 9781315229546
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315229546-14

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Abstract

Recent African writings have taken up more pointedly environmental issues in ways that the earlier works did not. While earlier texts can still be read for their depictions of ‘lived environments’ and their mediation of ‘the relationships between representations of nature and power,’ as Byron Caminero-Santangelo (2014) argues, contemporary narratives enlarge the scope of characters and themes to accommodate a broader ecosystem (13). These works foreground questions of the environment, including the devastation caused by oil exploration and other extractive processes, rural and urban ecologies, agricultural economies and ecologies of war. The proliferation of environmental writing within the context of increasing attention to global warming and ecological decline has also generated critical interest in these literary productions. The growing corpus of ecocriticism in African literary scholarship has devoted attention to the rationale for the late environmental turn in African literary studies, the ways that African literature draws attention to environmental problems on the continent, and its participation in discourses on ecological sustainability (Slaymaker 2001; Nixon 2011; Caminero-Santangelo 2014).

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