Red, black and green: Ecology, economy and the contemporary African novel.

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Smith, Brady.
Description:221 p.
Format: E-Resource Dissertations
Local Note:School code: 0330.
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Other authors / contributors:University of Chicago.
Notes:Advisors: Loren Kruger; Leela Gandhi.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--The University of Chicago, Division of the Humanities, Department of English Languages and Literature, 2015.
Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 76-08(E), Section: A.
Summary:This dissertation has two main goals. First, it argues that ecology is a major preoccupation of the contemporary African novel, and that eco-criticism should be a part of the Africanist critical lexicon. Second, it demonstrates how attention to African texts and contexts can advance the work of postcolonial eco-criticism as a whole. I therefore explore the ecological undercurrents of four major contemporary African novels: Zakes Mda's The Heart of Redness (2002), Manuel Rui's O Manequim e o Piano (2005), Ngugi wa Thiong'o's Wizard of the Crow (2006) and Chris Abani's GraceLand (2005). In doing so, I put work by postcolonial ecocritics like Rob Nixon and Jennifer Wenzel into conversation with work in African studies by Jean and John Comaroff and Achille Mbembe in order to develop new ways of reading the environmental imagination at work in these texts. Thus while the dissertation shares postcolonial eco-criticism's interest in indigenous environmentalisms and environmental justice, it focuses primarily on the ecological sub-text of problems important to African studies but regarded as beyond the purview of postcolonial eco-criticism as a field: the meaning of prophecy, the legacies of revolutionary socialism, the politics of the grotesque, and the intersections of queer desire and ecological ethics most directly, but also the ecological valences of millennial capitalism, the environmental consequences of the politics of the belly, and the complexities of modernity in Africa. Red, Black and Green therefore expands the conceptual apparatus of Africanist literary criticism and postcolonial eco-critique by developing a new set of tropes through which to read the environmental imagination at work the contemporary African novel. At the same time, it argues that these novels revise the political and ecological foundations of modernity in Africa. As I show, the thread that binds these authors and texts together is a commitment not just to critiquing the political and economic forces that define life on the continent, but to re-imagining Africa's political modernity in more socially equitable and ecologically sustainable terms. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)