Postcolonial Literary Criticism and Global Warming


  • Elizabeth Anne Maxwell



Postcolonialism, literary criticism, global warming, environmentalism


Postcolonial criticism generally has not had a strong history of engaging with environmental or ecological discourses but the prospect of global warming is likely to change this. It is likely to be particularly significant for postcolonial literary criticism, a discipline that in recent years has struggled to make itself relevant to the task of opposing globalisation. Some postcolonial literary critics have already begun using the arguments and concepts drawn from environmental discourses and eco criticism, and in doing so they have contributed powerfully to the postcolonial critique of globalisation; however, to date few postcolonial critics have thought to use these same arguments and concepts to analyse fictions that speculate on the social effects of global warming. Taking a short story by a leading Australian author that is set in the year 2035, the last half of the article sets out to demonstrate the political potential of such a critical approach and the value of reading apocalyptic speculative fictions in particular.

Author Biography

Elizabeth Anne Maxwell

Anne Maxwell completed her BA and MA at the University of Auckland and her PhD at the University of Melbourne. She is currently a Senior Lecturer in the English Program at the University of Melbourne where she teaches courses on colonial and postcolonial literature and theory, American literature and modern literature. She publishes regularly in the field of postcolonial literature and culture. In addition to many articles she has published two books: Colonial Photography and Exhibitions: Representations of the ‘Native’ and the Making of European Identities (Leicester University Press, 2000), and Picture Imperfect: Photography and Eugenics 1870-1940 (Sussex Academic Press, 2008).




How to Cite

Maxwell, E. A. (2008). Postcolonial Literary Criticism and Global Warming. Sites: A Journal of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies, 5(1), pp 82–101.