Foreign Languages & Literatures ETDs

Publication Date

8-28-2012

Abstract

This work was motivated by two major facts: the African environment is at the heart of the continents relationships with colonialism, neocolonialism and globalization; but there is not enough literary emphasis on this environmental centrality. This work contributes in bridging the gap between African Francophone Literatures and the environmental discourses. This dissertation is the literary analysis of the representation, the transformation, and the exploitation of the African environment in the operating policies of colonial, neocolonial and global power structures. These environmental policies in the colonial and current global world tend to mold the African environment in a way that the local populations become alienated from their own land. This work shows how the African environment is subject to the consequences of global power structures, which most often disregard local realities. This study is informed by an interdisciplinary theoretical framework, which includes postcolonialism and ecocriticism. Postcolonial theory is used as a tool to analyze the power relationships between Africa and global actors, especially in the questions of representation of the African environment by the former colonizers, and the resistance of the African people against Western hegemony. This research is built on various ecocritical concepts involving postcolonial realities, for instance 'slow violence' and 'the environmentalism of the poor' theorized by Rob Nixon, to show the effects (sometimes invisible and yet perceptible) of environmental degradation and in particular of ecological colonialism on the African environment and the local populations. The work also draws on Vandana Shiva's concept of 'monoculture of the mind' to study the colonial project of monoculture as a corollary of the policy of standardization, also known as assimilation. Even though some concepts are borrowed from Western ecocriticism, new notions are defined and developed such as 'eco-ubuntu,' which is grounded in African ecological philosophy and translates the interdependency between the members of the planet. Through the analysis of six texts from the Maghreb and Sub-Saharan Africa, this work also aims at highlighting some traits of an African postcolonial ecocriticism.

Keywords

Ecocriticism - Postcolonial Studies- Francophone Literatures- Africa

Document Type

Dissertation

Language

French

Degree Name

French Studies

Level of Degree

Doctoral

Department Name

Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures

First Advisor

Putnam, Walter

Second Advisor

Bishop, Stephen

First Committee Member (Chair)

Cheek, Pamela

Second Committee Member

Ferguson, Eliza

Third Committee Member

N/A