Postcolonial Literary Criticism and Global Warming

Elizabeth Anne Maxwell


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.


Postcolonialism, literary criticism, global warming, environmentalism

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