CFP: ISLE: Ecocriticism and Postcolonialism (6/15/06; journal issue)

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Cilano, Cara N.
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ISLE: Ecocriticism and Postcolonialism


While considering the human and environmental disasters of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Amitav Ghosh reflects upon the migration of Indians to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands generated by the promise of land for agriculture. In Ghosh's view, the government's ill-fated decision to allocate beach-front property to migrants was "no mere accident"; some housing's "location was determined by an ordering of space that owed more to Europe than to its immediate surroundings." Well before the tsunami struck, local inhabitants knew the sea's enormous expansive power, yet the topographical development of the islands followed a European model, one that Ghosh likens to "the smiling cornices of the French Riviera or the coastline of Italy." While conceding the clarity of hindsight, Ghosh nonetheless wonders, "surely the planners were not unaware of" the volatility of the sea in this region? In his attempt to make sense of the decimation of human life in the wake of the tsunami, Ghos!
 h also seeks to historicize a postcolonial environmental ethic that would help explain the complex layering of spatial use in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.


This example, taken from Ghosh's essay "A Town by the Sea," demonstrates a productive interface between postcolonial and ecocritical studies. How do postcolonial studies' interrogation of colonial discourses and insistence on historicity push at ecocriticism's seeming reluctance to historicize environmental realities? In turn, in what ways does the non-human emphasis in ecocritical studies work alongside or perhaps against the postcolonial model of human agency?


We seek essays for a special cluster of articles on ecocriticism and postcolonialism to be featured in ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment that address these and similar questions through the analysis of postcolonial and indigenous works of writers from all geographical areas, especially Africa, the Caribbean, South Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following:


* In what ways have the historical changes wrought by colonization, decolonization, and globalization affected human relationships to the non-human world and the representation of these relationships?
* How does postcolonial literature depict the spatial organization of place? Does it rely upon or reconfigure urban/rural, modern/primitive, domesticated/wild, and other possible binaries?
* How are postcolonial writers using genre to portray and, perhaps, introduce alternative ways of being in and knowing the non-human world?
* Does postcolonial literature offer ways to work through romanticized images of natives, peasants, the folk, and the primitive so as to move us from the idealized to the "ecocritical"?
* How do postcolonial writing and the global environmental justice movement articulate a critique of first world political, economic, and even literary practices?


Please send all inquiries and full-length submissions (btw. 4000-6500 words, MLA format) to both Cara Cilano ( and Elizabeth DeLoughrey ( by 15 June 2006.

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Received on Sat Jan 21 2006 - 13:49:43 EST