The Environmental Imagination in African Francophone Literature. An Ecopoetic Inquiry into Maghrebi, Sub-Saharan and Indian Ocean Islands Fiction (1990-present)
Ecological issues occupy an ever-growing place in contemporary literature. I intend to examine how francophone novels and novellas by Maghrebi, Sub-Saharan and Indian Ocean islands authors address the environmental problems of Africa. As there was an ecological leap forward in the African literary imagination as a consequence of market globalisation and the establishment of capitalist regimes after fall of the Berlin Wall, I will focus on literary works published after 1990. The contemporary African literary imagination offers an account of environmental concerns such as soil pollution, sub-standard waste management, electronics waste dumping and deforestation. From a theoretical perspective, my research will contribute both to the fields of ecopoetics and (postcolonial) ecocriticism, for which most of the francophone literary production from Africa has remained a blind spot. In line with the former, I want to find out which particular stylistic and narrative features are used to express the specific nature of the African ecological problems. In line with the latter, a more culturally oriented approach, I will study how literature considers the relation of environmental issues to colonial and neocolonial history and social problems. My analysis of texts from different regions will, moreover, afford us an insight into the way in which African authors are able to go beyond the representation of local effects of ecological problems and attain a transnational perspective.